Cats are obligate carnivores so they need their diet to consist almost exclusively of meat-based food.
So you may imagine that feeding your cat raw hamburger is good for them.
As a general rule cats can eat raw meat without any issue as this is what they naturally consume in the form of birds, mice and other prey.
Cats can eat raw hamburgers and in most cases it won’t cause them any issues, however there is always a risk that the raw meat could make them ill for two reasons:
- Raw meat may contain dangerous parasites and bacteria which could cause food poisoning. Cooking your burgers will ensure that any dangerous organisms are killed making the burger completely safe for both you and your cat to eat.
- Hamburgers are made from ground beef which has very high levels of fat (30%), this can cause indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea and if consumed regularly obesity and related health conditions. Ideally raw hamburger should be fed to cats only if it has been grilled so that much of the fat can drain away.
Can Cats Eat Ground Beef?
Hamburgers are made from ground beef, due to ground beefs high protein levels it may seem like the perfect treat for your cat, however there are a few things to bear in mind, especially if you are considering feeding it to your cat raw.
Ground Beef Contains Very High Levels Of Fat
Ground beef consists of around 70% lean meat and 30% fat.
100grams of ground beef will contain 30grams of fat, this includes roughly the following amounts of different fat types:
|Total Fat 30 g|
|Saturated fat 11 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0.7 g|
|Monounsaturated fat 13 g|
|Trans fat regulation 1.8 g|
Unlike humans cats are very resilient when it comes to consuming saturated fats and are at far less risk of developing artery disease, strokes and heart attacks, however this does not mean that it is completely safe to feed your cat raw hamburgers.
A small amount of fat is a necessary part of your cat’s diet. In their natural diet they consume the body fat of their prey.
A cat’s prey has body fat levels that are much lower than 30% as wild birds and mice live very active lives and have very high metabolisms (especially mice).
Consuming this much fat can be hard for your cat to digest and can cause digestion problems such as indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, and in the long term obesity, heart disease and other related health issues.
In order to avoid causing these issues you should not feed your cat raw hamburger, instead grill it, this will ensure that a lot of the fat is drained away.
The Benefits Of Ground Beef For Cats
Cats need much more protein than omnivores (like dogs) because they use protein for energy and therefore have a far greater need of amino acids which create fuel their physical processes and create building blocks.
Raw hamburgers are made from ground beef which contains around 70% lean meat meaning it outperforms many leading cat food brands when it comes to the amount of good quality protein in it.
Ground beef is also packed full of vitamins such as vitamin B, D, E and K as well as important minerals including iron, selenium and zinc which all help keep your cat in good health.
Also Read: Can Cats Eat Lunch Meat?
Can Cats Eat Raw Meat Safely?
Yes, raw meat has been the main thing that cats have eaten for millenia.
It’s only in the last 100 years since humans started developing commercial cat foods that domestic cats have been weaned off eating raw meat.
However just because your cat can eat a raw meat diet safely doesn’t mean it is safer for yoru cat than a cat food diet, in fact the opposite is true.
Some cat owners feed their cat’s raw meat diets believing that these are better for them as they more closely represent the diets of wild cats.
While cats will certainly get everything they need to flourish from a raw food diet it is important to be aware of a few key things.
Modern domestic cats live far longer than their wild counterparts, in part, this is because they have a safe home to take shelter in from predators, traffic and dangerous weather.
Another key reasons is that domestic cats are no longer exposed to anywhere near the same amount of potentially dangerous parasites and bacteria that wild cats are in their raw meat diet.
Cats who eat raw food diets are also at danger of getting bones pieces stuck in their digestive tract which can cause choking and other internal damage if sharp splinters are swallowed.
When it comes to raw hamburgers there is always a danger that they may contain parasites or bacteria that could make your cat ill. There are numerous cases of people getting food poisoning from undercooked burgers and while your cat’s digestive system may be able to handle raw meat better they could still become very ill from food poisoning.
Cooking your cat’s meat is one way to be certain that it won’t cause them to ingest any dangerous parasites or bacteria.
What To Do If Your Cat Eats A Raw Hamburger
If your cat eats a raw hamburger or at least a few bites of raw hamburger they will usually be absolutely fine.
However, you should watch out for any of the following symptoms which may indicate they have food poisoning:
- drinking a lot
If you notice any of these signs you should speak to a vet immediately to get the proper treatment.
Food poisoning can leave your cat extemely weak and dehydrated which in some cases (especially with very young or senior cats) can be fatal.