Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Sausage?

Can cats eat sausage? Sausage is a staple of many cuisines and comes in a variety of styles. We know that cats are carnivores, so does that mean they can eat sausage? Read this article to find out if cats can eat sausage.

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Last Updated: August 29, 2023 | 5 min read

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This article should not substitute contact with a veterinarian. Contact your local vet immediately if your cat is reacting poorly after consumption.

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Sausage is a favorite food and snack for people, but can cats eat sausage? It’s perfectly normal to wonder if our pets can eat our food, especially curious kitties. Though sausage is made of meat, and cats eat meat, there are a few things owners need to know before feeding it to their pets.

Sausage is composed of ground meat mixed with fat, salt, seasonings, preservatives, and other fillers like grains. You can find sausage mixtures in bulk form or forced into a casing to form a long, cylindrical shape. Sausage is available fresh, cured, smoked, or dried.

There are so many varieties of sausage on the market that it may be hard to distinguish what’s acceptable for your cat to eat. Let’s unpack all there is to know about cats and sausage.

Is Sausage Safe For Cats?

The meat of sausage itself is safe for cats (remember, cats are carnivores!), but there are so many caveats to feeding your feline sausage. Yes, sausage can be safe for cats, but you must ensure that you pick the right variety for your pet. It is critical to only feed your cat sausage that is made purely from meat, with no added preservatives or seasoning.

Is Sausage Good For Cats?

Sausage does contain certain nutrients that can benefit your cat’s diet. Keep in mind a high-quality, well-balanced cat food can provide all of these nutrients, but if you wish to treat your cat to a bit of sausage, you can expect an additional boost of protein, fat, and micronutrients like B-12. While sausage can be safe for a cat to eat, it should not be considered a healthy treat and can be dangerous unless free of sulfites, nitrates, and other preservatives. There are many better treats available that offer the same benefits as sausage without the potential side effects.

Protein

Looking at all of a cat’s dietary needs, protein tops the list of the most important nutrients. Cats require protein for growth, energy, and tissue repair. Cats are carnivores and need more protein than other household pets. Kittens require even more protein than adult cats, which is one of the reasons why it’s so important to buy pet food that is specific to your pet’s age and nutrition requirements.

Protein is made up of amino acids that are used for a variety of functions in the body. Of the 20 to 22 amino acids that comprise proteins, there are 11 essential amino acids that your cat must get from food sources. In particular, the amino acid taurine is important to your cat’s diet. Sausage contains a high amount of protein, including the amino acid taurine.

Fat

Along with protein, cats require a higher amount of fat than humans. Fat is a great source of energy for your pet and helps your cat absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Healthy fats can give your feline’s coat a healthy sheen and reduce inflammation in the body. Plus, they make food taste good! Fat makes food more palatable for your kitty.

Fats are made of fatty acids. There are four main fatty acids that your cat needs: arachidonic acid (AA), linoleic acid (LA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Neither beef nor pork sausage contains a significant source of AA, EPA, or DHA fatty acids.

Vitamins & Minerals

Cats require a variety of vitamins and minerals for good health. Sausage contains B vitamins and iron, which support healthy blood. Vitamin B-12, which is found in sausage, is especially important for cats. This water-soluble vitamin is crucial for digestive, immune, and nervous system support.

When Is Sausage Bad For Cats?

Curious Cat being tempted by sausages on table
Sausage is not only a high-fat food but also high in salt.

Like all processed and cured meats, sausage contains nitrosamines that are considered to be strong carcinogens. Nitrites are added to meats at a color fixative and help prevent bacteria growth. Nitrites themselves are not carcinogenic, but when added to meat that naturally contains amines compounds, they transform into nitrosamines. Always look for sausage labeled “nitrite or nitrate-free.”

While cats thrive on a good amount of fat in their diet, it’s still important that you only feed your cat healthy fats. Unfortunately for your furry friend, sausage contains saturated and trans fat that should be consumed in moderation.

Sodium plays a critical dietary role in your cat’s life, ensuring proper cellular function. Salt can also encourage your cat to drink more water, which is essential to your cat’s wellness. Still, sausage contains a very high concentration of salt and should be fed in moderation to prevent health problems.

Sausage may also contain added spices that are toxic to cats, such as onion and garlic. Read labels to ensure the sausage is free from these ingredients. Keep in mind that while sausage can be safe for your cat to eat if free of preservatives and spices, it is still a relatively unhealthy food and should be fed in moderation.

Can Cats Eat Vienna Sausage?

While sausage can come in a variety of forms, none is processed more than the Vienna sausage. Vienna sausage contains a number of different ingredients, including ground pork, beef, and chicken. For flavor, salt and other spices can be added to the ground paste.

Because Vienna sausages are so highly processed, they are not recommended for cat consumption. The high sodium and seasoning in Vienna sausages may cause digestive discomfort for your kitty. This high-calorie food may also contribute to weight gain. Obese cats are at a higher risk of developing certain health conditions, including diabetes and liver disease.

How Should I Feed My Cat Sausage?

If you absolutely cannot resist the urge to feed your friend the occasional piece of sausage, choose a meat that is low in fat and salt and is made without preservatives. Always cook sausage before feeding it to your cat. Raw sausage may contain harmful bacteria that can make your cat sick.

Before giving your cat a bite of this tasty treat, remove any casing surrounding the sausage that could pose a choking hazard. Cut the sausage into small pieces that will be easy to eat. Offer your cat a sample piece to ensure no digestive upset like diarrhea.

Feed your cat away from the cooking area and table if you don’t want your cat to make the connection that your dinner means treat time. Try feeding your cat a tiny piece of sausage as a reward for good behavior or as a training tool.

Sausage should be given in moderation. Your cat may love it, but too much is unhealthy. It’s difficult to reform a cat with a taste for a particular human food, so avoid regularly feeding your cat these types of treats to prevent creating a picky eater.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sausage Too Salty For Cats?

There is a possibility some variety of sausage is too salty for felines. Sausage is high in salt and may cause health issues for your pet, including diarrhea, vomiting, extreme thirst, and loss of appetite. Look for a low-sodium sausage option and feed your cat sausage in moderation.

Can Kittens Eat Sausage?

Never feed your kitten sausage. While adult cats have hardier immune systems to withstand some of the toxins found in processed meat, kitten’s immune systems are much more fragile. Kittens are more susceptible to illness and should only be fed their regular pet food.

What Other Meat Can I Feed My Cat?

There are plenty of other meats you can feed your carnivore, including turkey, chicken, and lamb. Freeze-dried meats and fish are very tasty and full of healthy protein. Human-grade cat food, fresh or freeze-dried, can add a wonderful meaty flavor.

Can Cats Eat Bacon?

Technically, cats can eat bacon, but they should not. Bacon is very high in fat and sodium and serves zero nutritional to felines. Avoid feeding your cat any bacon, bacon bits, or bacon products unless specifically made for cats.

Final Thoughts

While your cat may eat a tiny bite of sausage, there are so many caveats to this treat that it might be best to avoid it altogether. Toxic and unhealthy ingredients, including garlic, onion, preservatives, and excessive salt, may be harmful to your pet. If you are set on feeding your fur baby sausage, always buy meat free of nitrates and other preservatives. Remember to give your kitty a bite-sized piece that is cooked, low-fat, and casing-free.

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