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Can Cats Eat Pork Rinds? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

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Pork is a delicious, versatile meat that’s used in many recipes. People consume pork in the form of pork loin, pork chops, ham, bacon, sausage, and pork rinds. With pork finding its way into so many human meals, you may be wondering, “Can cats eat pork rinds?” Pork rinds are pig skin, so yes, cats can eat pork rinds.

Feeding a cat a bit of pork on occasion is perfectly fine, but you must be careful to avoid overfeeding since pork rinds are high in fat, cholesterol, and sodium.1

Find out more about feeding pork rinds to your cat and what else you should avoid.

Pork Rinds for Cats

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need animal protein to survive. Pork rinds are simply deep-fried or roasted pig skin, so they’re an animal product and appropriate for cats in moderation.

Pork rinds should only be fed as a treat. Because of the processing, pork rinds tend to be high in sodium, and pork is naturally high in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat. In addition, pork rinds are an incomplete protein that means it is low in several amino acids, including methionine, tryptophan, and histidine.

As a result, pork rinds aren’t a significant source of any nutrient for a cat, which is why they should be given as a small, occasional treat and not overfed. Your cat will get some protein from pork rinds, but there are more nutritious and appropriate sources.

It’s also important to feed only plain pork rinds – avoid pork rinds with any flavoring, which may contain ingredients that can be toxic to your cat or cause digestive upset.

pork rinds
Image Credit: noktao, Pixabay

Ideal Nutrition for a Cat

As obligate carnivores, cats need a variety of nutrients only found in animal products. Wild cats are natural hunters and evolved on animal sources that were high in protein and moderate in fat, and this general nutrition is appropriate for your modern, domestic cat.

Cats can be given commercial cat food that contains the ideal proportion of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

The available commercial cat foods include:
  • Dry food: This food formula has less than 10 percent water and comes in a kibble form with small, bite-sized pieces. The formula is typically a combination of meat or poultry and animal by-products, grain or grain by-products, fish, fiber, milk products, and vitamins and minerals.
  • Semi-moist food: This food formula contains between 14-59% percent moisture and uses animal meat or animal by-products, grain meal or by-products, preservatives, and vitamins and minerals. This category is usually formulated as treats.
  • Canned wet food: This food formula has greater than 60% moisture and helps cats stay hydrated. Canned wet food is highly palatable and contains meats, meat by-products, grains, and vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that canned wet food isn’t always complete and balanced nutrition, so it’s important to check labels.

Treats are good for bonding and training your cat, but they’re not a sound source of nutrition. As the name suggests, treats should be given occasionally to prevent weight gain or nutritional imbalance.

Though cats may enjoy human food, it’s important to be careful with what you feed your cat. Unseasoned cooked meat that’s steamed or boiled is fine in small amounts.

cat eating on floor at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Toxic Foods for Cats

Human food should be given to your cat minimally (if at all). Some foods are delightful for humans but toxic for cats. If you’re in doubt about a food, just don’t feed it and choose a commercial cat treat.

Here are some foods that are toxic or unhealthy for cats:
  • Onions and garlic, including shallots, scallions, leeks, chives, and other foods in this family. These foods damage the red blood cells and can cause anemia.
  • Raw animal products, including meat, bones, and eggs. These foods can cause digestive upset or disease, and bones are a choking hazard.
  • Milk and dairy products. Cats may struggle to digest lactose, leading to digestive upset.
  • Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure, even in small amounts.
  • Chocolate and caffeine, these contain methylxanthines that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, high body temperature, heart arrhythmia, and seizures in cats.

Conclusion

Cats are curious creatures that may want to sample every human food you enjoy, but that’s not the best choice for their health. While you can give your cat the occasional pork rind as a treat, avoid overfeeding and choose commercial cat treats instead.


Featured Image Credit: noktao, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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