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Can Cats Eat Raw Pork? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on May 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat Raw Pork

Can Cats Eat Raw Pork? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

VET APPROVED

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Raw diets for pets have become all the rage within the last decade or so, with many people attempting this diet at home on their own without guidance from their veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. Many people tout the benefits they believe a raw diet offers, like improved skin and coat health.

However, many people are simply not informed enough to pursue this type of diet, and some foods served raw can be downright dangerous to your cat. One of those foods that can be dangerous to your cat is pork served raw, but there is a correct way to offer this to your cat as well.

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Can Cats Eat Raw Pork?

Cats are obligate carnivores that evolved to eat raw meat from freshly killed animals. When it comes to raw meats, there is no difference to your cat’s digestive system. Cats are capable of properly digesting raw pork, but all raw meats carry a risk of food-borne pathogens and parasites, and pork is no different.

It is not recommended to feed your cat commercially ground raw pork, as the increased surface area of ground meats greatly increases the amount of area for bacterial growth. The overall recommendation when feeding raw pork is to purchase fresh cuts of meat, preferably from a reliable butcher or a farm, and grind the meat yourself.

Pork cutlets on a white plate

Image Credit: Ipegasu, Pixabay

Is It Healthy for Them?

Studies have not shown any definitive health benefits to feeding your cat raw pork, or a raw diet at all for that matter. Most of the evidence people point to is anecdotal, at best. When it comes to something as risky as a raw diet, you should only be relying on science-backed sources, peer-reviewed studies, and the information your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist is able to provide you. Even commercial raw diets may not be properly balanced, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies over time. A veterinary professional with special training in nutrition is your best resource.

There is nothing inherently unhealthy about feeding raw pork to your cat. In fact, pork is high in protein, niacin, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and zinc. But there is an increased risk of disease associated with feeding raw pork that your cat does not have when they are fed a cooked or commercial diet. Trichinosis is a parasite that can be passed from raw or undercooked pork to your cat, as well as to you. Other dangerous pathogens that can be present in raw pork include E. coli, salmonella, listeria, staphylococcus, and yersinia.

raw pork
Image Credit: Usman Yousaf, Unsplash

Is It Healthy for You?

Many people who transition their cat over to a raw diet are unaware that the diet poses significant risks to humans. Not only are you handling your cat’s food, but improper handling and cleaning practices can lead to food-borne illness in humans. You can also get illnesses directly from your cat if they catch them from eating raw food. Some of these illnesses, like trichinosis, may not show any symptoms in your cat, but in humans can be quite serious.

If you choose to feed raw pork or other raw meats to your cat, make sure you are using good food handling practices. These involve frequent handwashing before and after handling raw meat, proper cleaning and disinfection of food preparation surfaces and your cat’s food bowl, safe storage of raw meats, and being cautious about letting your cat lick, bite, or scratch you, especially near your face or open wounds.

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In Conclusion

Cats are perfectly capable of digesting raw pork, and it can be a healthy option for them due to its high protein and moderate fat content. It is a nutrient-dense meat that is often underestimated for its nutrient density. Raw pork can be used as part of a raw diet, but it’s imperative for your cat’s health and wellbeing that you rely on a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to ensure you are properly balancing your cat’s diet.

Use caution with raw meats as they can carry parasites and pathogens that can infect cats and humans. You are able to pick up food-borne illnesses directly from your cat, so proper cleaning and disinfecting practices, as well as being cautious around your cat’s mouth and paws, are necessary steps to ensure you and your cat stay healthy and safe.

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