Should I Feed My Cat Red Meat?

Last Updated on April 10, 2020

Not many people consider what kinds of meat they should be feeding their cat. What if some meat is not as ideal for them? Let’s talk about cats and red meat.

Eat What You Can Catch

When it comes to a cat’s natural diet, a good rule of thumb is to feed them whatever they would catch in the wild. Assuming you have a standard house cat and not a tiger, they likely won’t be able to hunt and kill a cow! Red meat can be a nice treat, however.

We’ll use the barn cat as an example. A barn cat is a cat looked after by a farm owner to keep pest populations under control. Barn cats will kill and eat mainly rodents and birds. Rodents by nutritional value are considered “white meat” and this includes mice, squirrels, and rabbits. Cats are able to catch and kill small to medium-sized rodents and birds. Anything bigger than a medium-sized hen or duck is likely not going to be an option.

What Is Considered “Red Meat”?

There are a number of red meats which you should use sparingly, they include:

  • Beef
  • Veal
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Mutton
  • Goat

This does include processed meats as well, such as hot dogs, ham, and sausages.

What Meats Should I Feed my Cat?

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing what meat to feed your cat, here are some of the best:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Rabbit
  • Duck
  • Quail

Feed these meats to your cat as often as you’d like, these are what they would hunt in the wild!

What About Dairy?

Dairy is one of those things that depends on the individual cat. When giving milk, you should only ever use lactose-free milk. They do not have the ability to break-down lactose and casein. Most adult mammals are actually lactose intolerant on some level for the same reason, this includes humans. Things like yogurt, cheese, and butter are fine in small amounts. Only use plain yogurt, no seasoned cheeses, and real butter. Consider this a rare treat. Also, for those of you wondering, eggs are fine for cats as well. Hard-boiled eggs are the best option but if they only like scrambled eggs, cook them in virgin olive oil (not butter!) and don’t use lactose milk.

Bottom Line

When a standard house cat is given a diet high in red meat, it will put stress on the liver, kidneys, and digestive system just like it does for humans. It can cause them to gain weight easily as well as make them become picky eaters. Red meat can also increase your cat’s chances of developing high blood pressure which can be an issue for them as they get older. Cats who have issues with high kidney readings should not have any red meat in their diet at all.

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10 thoughts on “Should I Feed My Cat Red Meat?”

  1. “Feed these meats to your cat as often as you’d like, these are what they would hunt in the wild!

    I would really like to see a house cat take down a chicken, turkey, or duck. These foods are about as natural to cats as fish. Especially the turkey. I imagine the turkey is more likely to kill the cat in a fight!

  2. Where are your sources for this information you’re claiming? Please cite where you’ve read that red meats puts stress on the liver, kidneys and digestive system. If this is your opinion, please state that so you’re not spreading potentially false information. Your claims need to be supported by validated research studies from reputable sources.

    • Thanks for your comment Ngarie. Yes, it can be down to the meat. Red meat takes longer to digest and can lead to more hunger. It can also cause constipation in cats. Try cutting back on it and see if you noticed a difference.

  3. My sister feeds our old cat red meat 4-5 times a day. She is a fussy eater and stopped eating so thats when she started with the beef. Thank you for the info and l will pass it on to my sister and ger her to change to chicken.


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