Can Cats Eat Sausage? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ
By Ed Malaker
As pet owners, we want to provide our pets with the best possible diet while giving them plenty of variety to help keep them interested in eating healthy. Cats are obligate carnivores and can eat many different kinds of animal proteins. Therefore, you may want to know if it’s okay for your cat to eat sausage.
Potential Benefits of Sausage
Most sausages have a high amount of protein of an animal source. These are necessary for your cat’s nutritional well-being. As carnivores, cats use protein for energy when possible. Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscles. Additionally, it fuels many different bodily processes for your cat and is a vital component of their nutritional profile.
Perception of Carnivore Appropriate
Since sausages are primarily made of meats, they are perceived as being closer to the cat’s natural diet than the corn and soy ingredients found in some cat food brands. Many owners who feed their cat meat snacks do so feeling it is more species-appropriate for them.
Potential Risks of Sausages
To obtain a long shelf life, most sausages contain many preservatives. These are added into the mix of the sausage during processing. As mentioned before, they are used mainly to provide a longer shelf life, but some of these also prevent the growth of certain microorganisms, and may enhance the sausage’s flavor and color too. These include:
- Nitrates and Sulfates
- Sodium Nitrate
In addition to the preservatives, sausage can contain many unknown ingredients, as each brand uses its own spices, which can be harmful to your cat. Many brands will list the ingredients on the package, and you can go through them to see if they’re all safe. However, others use a secret blend of spices, so you will never know what exactly is in the sausages.
Unfortunately, sausage is high in calories. Consumption of more calories than required leads to weight gain in your cat which may eventually lead to obesity, a major problem many pet cats face around the world. Some experts say more than 50% of cats over five years old are obese. Obesity can lead to several health problems, like heart disease and diabetes that can shorten your pet’s life. Obesity is entirely preventable by keeping the cat on a healthy diet and making sure it gets plenty of exercise.
Raw Sausage Risks
Up to now, we’ve been talking about primarily cooked sausage. If your cat is fed raw foods, their fresh-bought sausages might not have as much preservatives and unknown ingredients. However, raw food is not without its risks either.
Salmonella is a dangerous bacterium that is frequently found in uncooked meats and is implicated as a major health risk with raw food for both you and your cat. Raw foods may also harbor some parasites and other toxins that may cause harm to your kitty. Some of these risks can be averted by sourcing your meats from reliable sources/butchers who pasteurize their raw products.
Healthy Alternatives To Sausages
Chicken is a great substitute for sausage, and fresh chicken contains plenty of protein without any harmful chemicals or ingredients. We recommend boiling the chicken fresh before chopping it up and feeding it to your cat and small pieces when it cools. Your cat will enjoy this healthy snack. Remember to never feed your cats cooked bones of any kind. You can also purchase commercial brands that are just as healthy and delicious. Chicken broth can also be used as a topper for your cat’s food.
Fish is another fantastic substitute for sausage. Fish is a great high-proteintreat option for your kitty. Many cat food brands contain salmon and other fish in their product line, which you can offer your cat as treats. Alternatively, you may cook some fish for your kitty and serve them deboned, with no seasonings.
Since a store bought sausage may have so many unknown ingredients, an alternative is a home made treat. Home made treats allow you to take creative control of the ingredients and also offer more peace of mind, as you know exactly what’s in the food you’re offering your cat. Preparing a treat for your cat at home may also be a very rewarding experience!
If your cat steals a piece of sausage from your plate, they will likely be fine, but we don’t recommend sausage as a regular part of their diet. Choosing another meat, like chicken or fish, would provide even more nutrients without the harmful ingredients, and your cat is likely to enjoy them more than they would the sausage. If your cat enjoys sausages, it’s alright to give them a small portion on occasion. However, it may be worth it to look into other treat options for the long term.
Featured Image Credit: Shaiith, Shutterstock