Is It Okay for Cats to Eat Ground Beef?

Ground beef can be one of the many meats your cat eats.

Ground beef can be one of the many meats your cat eats.

Whether you are enjoying a juicy burger, piling up a beef taco, or making meatloaf, chances are your cat is interested. You enjoy these ground beef-based recipes yourself, and probably wonder whether you can share some with your cat. If done correctly and in small doses, the answer is yes.

A Good Cat Diet

Cats are obligate carnivores. They need meat every day to stay healthy, and ground beef can be one of these meats. Cats' bodies are designed to absorb nutrients best from animal proteins, which is why they dine on a range of meats but seldom crave veggies. Although cats can digest small amounts of carbohydrates, they have no dietary need for them. On average, a good cat diet consists of about 80 percent protein and 20 percent fat.

Nutritional Content of Ground Beef

Ground beef is a great source of protein. Even the leanest cuts of ground beef also contain noticeable fat, so get the leanest available option and drain the fat. Just like with humans, too much fat can lead to indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, obesity and other health issues. Ground beef also offers a range of vitamins, including B vitamins and vitamins E, K and D, as well as minerals like iron, zinc and selenium.

Introducing Ground Beef

New foods should be introduced in tiny amounts. This lets your cat's body adjust and gives you a chance to make sure he's okay with the new food. Start by putting a bit on your finger and letting him do a sniff test. If he doesn't want it, place it nearby. Chances are his curiosity will win, and he'll taste it eventually. If it agrees with him, you can offer a bit more next time.

Preparing Ground Beef

If you're cooking with ground beef and want to share, simply save some before you spice it. Your cat will enjoy the natural flavors without the harshness of the spices. Saute until brown, and allow to cool. If you have a larger amount, save the rest and serve over the next few days. An 8-pound cat needs about 300 calories per day. At about 55 calories per ounce, one or two ounces make a great snack.

 

References

About the Author

Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.

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