Home-cooked food can be harmful to your cat: misconceptions about feeding cats

Ferenczi Deborah

2023. September 17 - Source: Whiskas /Photos: Getty Images Hungary

It is very important for cats to have a proper and balanced diet for a quality and long life. Many cat owners, although they mean well, can cause illness to their pets, for example by feeding them raw meat.


A home-cooked meal or a piece of raw meat may even be thought to be nutritious for your cat, but it is worth being careful. Unfortunately, feeding cats  in this way can cause illness and raw meat carries a high risk of illness.

Cats are carnivores, which means that their diets must contain animal protein, but eating only meat can cause an imbalance in the nutrients they consume. It is very common for kittens kept on a meat mono-diet (or liver mono-diet in worse cases) to have vitamin A and D overdoses, leading to abnormal and irreversible development of the skeletal system. If meat is not from a reliable source, it is easy to accidentally infect your kitten with any pathogen. Salmonellosis is more common, but in rare cases, feeding raw pork to your pet can also cause Aujeszky’s disease,” said veterinarian Dr Fruzsina Fikó.

Feeding cats regularly and with quality food is the most important

In addition to the composition of the food you feed your cat, the regularity of the feeding is very important: always make sure not to overfeed your cat, but also not to starve it! You will find the recommended daily ration for a healthy adult kitten, weighing on average 4 kg, on the cat food packaging. But you should always take into account your pet’s health, temperament and physical activity. Cats are very sensitive to a lack of quality ingredients, for example certain essential nutrients such as taurine, vitamin A or omega fatty acids.

Antioxidants are not only good for humans

Scientists at the WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute have been studying the effects of antioxidants on cats for five years. Their results show that antioxidant supplementation plays an important role in boosting the immune system. They also found that while cats of all ages benefit from antioxidant-rich foods, young and older cats are particularly dependent on antioxidant-rich foods.

“Antioxidants protect the body against the damaging effects of reactive free radicals. The more the enzymes are damaged, the sooner the damage occurs or the more severe the damage becomes. Anitoxidant mixtures added to the food reduce the damage to the DNA, so our kitten will stay healthy for longer,” explained the vet.

Certain foods can be poisonous to your cat

Pets are also very sensitive to the lack of certain nutrients, in addition to the quality of the food. Even a small nutrient deficiency can cause a deterioration in coat and skin quality, affect reproductive ability, but unfortunately can also cause other diseases. Many of our favourite foods can cause serious problems, poisoning our cats. Onion and garlic in higher concentrations (for example in cream soup or powdered concentrate form) can cause red blood cell damage, which can lead to multi-organ failure and death. Feeding raw eggs is the leading cause of Salmonella and E. coli infections, and cats can pass these infections on to their owners. It is well known that chocolate should not be fed to either dogs or cats, and theobromine and caffeine are also highly toxic to their bodies.

Cats gradually become lactose intolerant after weaning. So by giving (cow) dairy products we are causing (serious, even irreversible) digestive problems and chronic pain to our pet in the long term,” explains Dr Fruzsina Fikó.

It is easier to prevent obesity in cats than to solve it

Of course, it’s hard to stop putting a little more than the usual amount of kitten food on your pet’s plate, but it’s worth remembering that excess weight can cause serious health problems for cats, such as excessive strain on the heart, spine, hips, knee joints and diabetes.

It is important to feed your cat food that is appropriate for its age, sex and activity level. Neutering is often associated with a slowdown in metabolism. To maintain optimum condition, fat should be reduced below 10% and protein should be increased above 34%. Most quality foods also contain antioxidants, vitamins and other macro and micro nutrients that our cats need. If you are not sure which is the best type, ask your vet, who will also warn you about early signs of obesity.

– advises the vet.

And if your cat is overweight, you should always consult a vet, because simply depriving them of food is not good for them. “By nature, cats are optimised to consume several small portions (their ancestors hunted alone, so they consumed smaller preys several times a day). Accordingly, it is recommended to offer your kitty food several times during the day. Trying to diet our obese cats often results in very low blood sugar levels, and the first thing the animal does is to start to break down the body’s building proteins, releasing kidney and liver damaging metabolites. Try to feed smaller portions, as our cats also like a variety of flavours and textures (a wide range of dry and wet foods are available),” – says Dr Fikó.

Feeding feeding a cat feeding the cat five meals a day healthy cat Life

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