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Can Cats Eat Duck? What You Need to Know!

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

Duck Meat

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Dr. Tabitha Henson  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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If cats are carnivores, does that mean it’s okay for them to eat all types of meat? We already know they love chicken and turkey, but would, let’s say, duck be a good option for them? Or should you only give duck protein to them as a special treat? All your answers about feeding duck meat to cats are about to be answered.

Yes, cats can safely consume duck meat. Even mixing in small amounts of it into your cat’s kibble is a nice little addition to their diet. Unlike other treats, this is a food that can be regularly given to them with minimal side effects. However, you might still need to take a few precautions before fully committing.

Can Cats Consume Duck Meat?

As carnivores, cats love nothing more than eating high-quality protein that fuels them throughout the day and keeps them feeling satisfied. Duck meat is a wonderful protein source for them that fulfills a good portion of their daily nutritional requirements. More specifically, duck is high in zinc, iron, and vitamin B.

How to Safely Feed Duck Meat to Your Cat

The one downside to duck is that it is higher in fat than lean meats like chicken and turkey. When feeding it to your cat, make sure to remove the skin to eliminate the risk of giving your cat too much fat. When you cook the meat, keep it as simple as possible. This means you must avoid using any spices or herbs that could make your cat sick. Don’t even use salt or pepper or oils. Just a hot, non-stick pan is more than enough to cook the duck.

Once the meat is cooked through, remove all the meat from the bones. Discard the bones and any other pieces of fat that you may have missed. It also helps to shred the meat into small pieces to prevent choking and aid in the digestive process.

Cat Reaches Duck Meat
Image Credit: Scharfsinn, Shutterstock

How Is Duck Meat Different from Other Types of Poultry?

Not many people know this, but duck breast is actually considered red meat while the legs are white meat. Compared to chicken and turkeys, which are 100 percent white meat, this bird isn’t as lean as the others.

The fat content of duck meat is higher, but they are still good quality fats that, in small amounts, are good for your cat. When duck meat is used in pet food, it may take your pet some time to adjust because of the flavor differences. Duck is known to be much richer and could take a period for your cat to get used to the new meat.

About Duck Allergies

Not all cats are able to eat duck. If your cat has any changes in behavior or unusual symptoms after you start feeding them duck, then they may have allergies. Although ducks are similar in appearance to other birds, they aren’t entirely the same. All cat breeds can have a duck allergy. However, this allergy isn’t all that common.

siamese cat napping in a loaf position
Image Credit: anarosadebastiani, Pixabay

Symptoms of Duck Allergies

Your cat might have a duck allergy if they present any of the following symptoms:

  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or loose stools
  • Itchy skin
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive licking
  • Itchy head
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen mouth or face
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss

Duck allergies are like most other food allergies. These occur when an animal’s immune system identifies a food as an antigen or invader rather than a food source and mounts an immune response. Cats with sensitive or overactive immune systems are most prone to allergies that cause a reaction. Food allergies may manifest as either signs of gastrointestinal upset or cutaneously as itching or hair loss.

Other Types of Food Allergies for Pets

Duck isn’t the only thing that cats can be allergic to. Cats are susceptible to food allergies, environmental allergies and even flea allergies. If you suspect that your pet has some allergy issues, consider taking them to the vet to help identify what exactly is causing these symptoms. It is possible that your cat may have an allergy to:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Meats
  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Grains
  • Fabrics
  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Smoke
  • Perfume
  • Fleas
  • Mites
  • Cleaning Products
  • Medications
sad lonely cat
Image Credit: medveda, Shutterstock

What Other Meats Can Cats Eat?

Now that you know that cats can eat duck, you might be curious about the other types of protein that are safe for them.

Beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb are the most common meats that are given to cats because of how safe they usually are. Game meats like venison, rabbit, and pheasant are also safe options for cats.

Small amounts of pork are okay to treat your cat, but you must only give it to them in moderation because of the high salt content. Unprocessed pork is always the safest option. Fish, on the other hand, you must be careful with. You should never give your cat raw fish because it could contain dangerous bacteria and organisms. You must also be sure to remove all the bones from the meat to prevent choking. Refrain from giving cats fish with high amounts of salt and oil, like salmon or canned fish.

Final Thoughts

There is no reason that cats have to eat chicken for the rest of their lives. While it does help to keep them on a routine diet, they don’t mind the occasional treat or two of other proteins. Some people prefer to feed their cats duck-based foods daily. Either way, you can take comfort knowing that duck is a safe and healthy option for your felines.


Featured Image Credit: eak_kkk, Pixabay

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