Pork is one of the most versatile meats, being introduced in many recipes. With such a widespread presence in human diets, pet owners should know whether or not this pleasure is safe for their fluffy pets. Cats are obligate carnivores and big food lovers. However, it is important to know if pork is a safe meat to give your cat to consume.
Cats need meat in their diet, and pork is an important source of protein. Although cats can eat raw pork, it should be cooked and given in moderation (in small amounts). Pork is indeed one of the fattest meats in the world or at least among the most commonly used and it is not a problem if you only serve fat-free cuts to your kitty. When it comes to pork rinds, these shouldn’t be fried, roasted, baked, or smoked and can be served to your cat only if they are boiled, salt-free or without other spices – once in a while, as a treat. Kittens can also consume raw pork only if they are over 20 weeks of age, otherwise after the age of 8 weeks, they can consume cooked pork or pork rinds. Keep in mind to give them small bites because they have little stomachs.
Cats are mandatory carnivores and pork has high protein content, being rich in taurine, which is an essential amino acid for cats. Pork is also a fatty meat, which is harmful to a cat’s internal organs and can lead to weight gain/obesity or heart disease.
Cats can eat raw pork, but as with humans, it should be well cooked, not even undercooked. Eating raw or undercooked pork carries the risk of trichinosis – a parasitic disease caused by a nematode (worm) called Trichinella spiralis. People become infected when they eat undercooked pork or game. Infection occurs when an animal/human eats meat with cysts that contain the Trichinella spiralis larvae. They continue their biological cycle inside the animal/human, eventually reaching the muscles, where they form cysts.
Cats can become infected with Trichinella or tularemia if they eat raw or undercooked pork or game meat. Not all pigs are infected!
It is recommended that pork reach an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) for steaks and 160°F (71°C) for minced meat.
If you still want to serve your cat with a piece of raw pork, make sure it is approved by the veterinarian, does not contain Trichinella spiralis, and it is also fat-free.
As long as the piece of pork is free of oil, salt, other spices, garlic, or onions and free of fat, it is safe for your cat to eat.
Fat, in general, can cause your cat’s digestive problems such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Also, cats are sensitive to salt and can be easily intoxicated with it. High salt intakes can lead to sodium ion poisoning. Common signs include tremors, depression, high body temperature, and even seizures.
About garlic and onions, they are part of the same genus, Allium, and are contraindicated in a cat’s diet because they contain certain compounds (called organosulfoxides) that are toxic to your cat. Organosulfoxides react with the cell membranes of red blood cells in pets, causing lysis (explosion) of the cells. Regular consumption of onions, garlic, and chives will lead to anemia.
Cooking, drying, or processing will have no effect on reducing their toxicity. Clinical signs in cats may occur one or more days after ingestion, and the severity depends on the amount they have consumed. Common clinical signs are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. (1)
When it comes to how it is best to prepare the pork so that it can be served to your cat, it is recommended to have it boiled, dried, and baked without any other additives. Smoked pork contains a lot of salt, roasted pork contains a lot of fat, oil, and spices, and barbeque contains a lot of spices and sauces.
The recommended (internal) cooking temperature for pork is at least 145°F (63°C) for steaks and chops, minimum 160°F (71°C) for pork mixtures and minced meat. It is also recommended to let the meat rest (to be put aside)for at least 3 minutes before being consumed, excluding minced meat.
At these temperatures you will be sure that pathogens such as Trichinella spiralis, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Yersinia enterocolitica will be killed.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, if you want to give a piece of pork to your cat, it is recommended that it should be without additives, salt-free, no spices, no onions or garlic, without being fried or sauces, etc. Cats are obligate carnivores and only need animal protein in their diet. Spices, oil, excess fat, or meat sauces can cause your cat gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, or diarrhea. Therefore, veterinarians recommend that pork be cooked without any extras.
Usually, minced pork has a high percentage of fat. Therefore, it is recommended that it be avoided for consumption by pets.
As for pulled pork, this is an American dish that is prepared out of shredded barbecued pork shoulder.
Another variant of this is the one cooked on the stove, slowly. If this dish is simple, without spices and sauces, it can be served to cats in small quantities, as a treat.
Pork rinds are a delicacy for pork lovers. It represents the skin of the pork and most cats like it. The pork rinds are prepared by boiling, baking, frying, grilling, or can be found canned.
Adult cats can eat pork rinds as long as they are not fried, roasted, baked, or smoked, they are notsalty nor have other spices or different sauces. They can be consumed by cats if they are boiled or dried.
It is not recommended to be offered to kittens because it can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Crackling is the skin with a layer of fat underneath that is left to dry, then salted and cooked by roasting/frying.
Although they are a delight for us humans, they should be avoided by being given to cats because they are high in fat and contain salt.
Can cats eat pork organs (liver, heart, kidney, offal, etc.) or other body parts (ears, belly, tongue, etc.)?
Pork organs have the highest content of taurine, and especially pork liver, which also has a high concentration of vitamin A – it is especially beneficial for older animals and has manyproperties such as: improving vision, making the coat shinier and a stronger immune system. However, do not feed your cat too much liver because a high concentration of vitamin A in your cat’s organism can intoxicate it.
Pork liver is recommended to be grilled without salt or other spices.
The pig’s heart is also well received by cats. You will cook it by boiling to become softer, without adding salt or other spices. As with the liver, the pork heart will be offered from time to time as a treat. The same goes for pork kidneys, offal, or lungs.
Pig ears are similar in consistency to pork rinds, if they are not very greasy and not salty, and your cat loves a piece of pork ear from time to time, it is no problem if you satisfy its cravings. Pig ears are best to be served cooked (boiled).
Pork tongue is a tasty muscle for pork-loving cats – boiled, baked, or grilled, without salt, oil, other spices, onions, or garlic.
Pork belly is a portion of a pig that is fat, so it is best to avoid serving your cat with it.
Pig bones, whether it is a vertebra or a pork rib, are not recommended for cats. They can choke with them or the bones can splinter and block or puncture the cat’s digestive tract.
Symptoms of choking in cats (as in other pets) include extreme distress, pawing at the mouth, excessive drooling, and sometimes, difficulty breathing.
Clinical signs of intestinal blockage may include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, persistent vomiting, sometimes diarrhea, dehydration, hiding, etc.
Regarding the perforation of the intestine with a bone splinter, it is clinically manifested by abdominal pain (often severe and diffuse), severe abdominal cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, change in the bowel movements, rectal bleeding, fever, etc.
If you have given your cat a bone and you soon notice one of the symptoms mentioned above, go to the vet right away.
Pork fat, cooked or not, can cause your cat gastrointestinal disorders (vomiting and diarrhea). It is contraindicated in being served to cats.
If pork cracklings are cooked twice to become crispy, pork scratchings are cooked only once to remain softer. Even if they are softer, they are not recommended to be given to cats due to the content of salt, spices, and oil. They can cause gastrointestinal problems to your cat.
Pork sausages are not recommended to be served to cats because, in addition to fat, they are also highly processed (they contain sulfites and nitrates, which are difficult to digest by cats).
The only sausages that would be accepted are those that are fat-free and preservative-free, but they will also be served in small quantities, without being spicy, fried in oil, and without sauces.
If your cat loves sausages, there are sausage-flavored treats in pet shops, which are much healthier.
Pork chops should be cooked and given to your cat just as an occasional treat. They should be served boneless, as they can choke with them or the bones can splinter and damage your cat’s health. Choose for your cat a piece of a pork chop that has no spice or fat.
Pork jerky is not safe to eat unless heat treatments are applied after the meat has been dehydrated to kill bacteria and parasites. It is not recommended for consumption by cats because it contains a lot of salt.
Pork ham has a lot of salt and additives. As with pork sausages, it is not recommended to be consumed by cats, but a small piece from time to time, won’t hurt your cat.
Cats can eat raw meat from the age of 20 weeks because then their immune system is developed and can fight pathogens.
Cooked meat can be offered to kittens starting with the age of over 8 weeks, but in very small quantities, taking into account that kittens have a very small stomach and get full quickly. Avoid giving fat to cats as much as possible because it can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Dried and smoked pork is better to be avoided in kittens and adult cats due to the high concentration in salt. Fried pork is also not recommended due to its high amount of fat and oil.
Therefore, it is better to give your cat or kitten grilled, boiled, or baked pork or pork rinds.
A cat needs to have a complete diet; it is not advisable to keep your cat on a diet that consists only of pork. You can serve it pork in addition from time to time.
Vegan pork often refers to cooking pork substitute in the same flavors as the traditional dish, and most of the time they are full of spices. Four of the most used substitutes for pork are: tofu, textured soy protein, tempeh, and beans. So, vegan pork is not recommended for cats, because it contains spices, oil, salt, etc.
It seems that there is no pet food with pork flavor, and this is because all the waste from pig slaughterhouses is used to make sausages and even to be fed back to pigs (they are omnivores).
We found out what happens if you feed your cats pork, but is beef safe for cats to consume?
Like pork, beef can be eaten raw, but it is best to cook it (boiled, baked, grilled) before serving it to your cat! It should also be offered without bones, salt, spices, oil, garlic, or onions.
As we have different culinary cravings, so do cats! If your cat loves pork or pork rinds, it’s no problem if you give it a piece (it can be raw, but not exactly recommended) from time to time without fat, salt, oil, other spices, garlic, or onion.
Safe alternatives to feed your cat instead of pork meat or pork rinds are leaner meats, such as chicken, turkey, or fish.
Also, some commercially available treats are healthy and good substitutes for pork.
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Pork is safe to serve to your cat, preferably cooked (boiling, baking, grilling) without salt, oil, spices, garlic, or onion.
It is also recommended that it be as low in fat as possible or fat-free because it can cause gastrointestinal problems for your cat.
Kittens can consume raw meat after the age of 20 weeks, and after the age of 8 weeks they can eat cooked meat too.
Pork rinds are ok for consumption if they are fat-free, unsalted, not fried (like pork cracklings or scratchings).
Dried and smoked meat is best to be avoided in cats due to their high amount of salt. Fried pork is full of fat and can cause gastrointestinal problems to your cat. Grilled pork is ok for consumption as long as it doesn’t have salt, other spices, or sauces.
Some cats find pork rinds yummy; they are safe for cats to eat as long as they are not too fatty or too salty.
I hope you found valuable information in this article about cats and pork.
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