Should Your Cat Eat An All-Meat Diet?

Posted on: 20 May 2015


It's become quite common for people to think about what's in their food as of late. Subjects like genetically modified ingredients and pesticides have people concerned about how the food they're eating might affect their bodies. It's only natural for health-conscious folks to then wonder about what they're feeding their pets. If you're wondering if a "natural" all-meat diet is better for your cat than kibble and wet food, this guide can help.

Meat vs Kibble

Many pet owners can't help but feel that fresh meat must be better for your cat's diet than a dry piece of crunchy kibble. After all, as a human, you probably wouldn't want to eat kibble all day. It turns out that this thought is actually correct!

A 2011 study compared the nutritional benefits of cats eating uncooked beef, cooked beef, and high-protein cat kibble. The study found that the two forms of beef provided better nutrition to the cats in the study than the kibble. In addition, the study found that cooking the meat prior to feeding it to the cat didn't reduce the nutritional content, and reduced the risk of sickening the cat with bacteria present on raw meat.

Beyond Protein

Cats are typically considered to be carnivores, but if a cat is living in the wild and hunting, they don't just eat meat.

Cats need taurine in order to survive, which is plentiful in most meat, so an all-meat diet can generally cover those bases. However, cats also need other nutrients, like calcium, and sometimes they need vegetable matter (like grass) to provide the fiber they need to digest their food.

If a cat were in the wild and caught a small bird or rodent, they would most likely eat all or almost all of their prey, including its bones, tendons, and other parts that humans generally don't want to eat. Because of that, a cat eating all of their prey would get vital nutrients (like getting calcium directly from the bones of their prey) that a cat just being given meat wouldn't.

High-Quality Food & Supplemental Treats

While some pet owners do successfully switch their cats to a diet consisting of nothing but human-quality food, it's complicated to create a perfectly balanced diet for your cat. If you're really determined to do so, a veterinarian, like Elizabethton Veterinary Clinic, can determine what your cat's specific needs are and help you.

Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with feeding your cat regular cat food that's specifically formulated for their dietary needs. You can easily supplement their diet by feeding them cuts of meat in addition to their regular meals. The extra protein will help to keep them strong, and their regular cat food will give them the additional nutrition they need.

Cat kibble and wet food are designed to meet all your cat's nutritional needs and to be satisfying to eat, too. Unless your cat specifically doesn't want to eat the food you're giving them, there's nothing wrong with giving them kitty food.