Can Cats Eat Liver?
Can cats eat liver? The answer is slightly mixed on this one.
In small doses, liver is good for cats. However, feed them too much liver and they can end up with Vitamin A toxicity.
There are some very nasty side effects of this, which we explain in more detail below.
Can Cats Eat Liver – The Benefits
As carnivorous animals, cats used to get their main source of vitamin A from the liver within the prey that they ate. Cats cannot produce it themselves, so this was an important source for them.
Of course, domesticated cats no longer hunt prey for every meal, us humans scoop food into a bowl for them. And while the odd bit of liver we feed them will give them those vital vitamin A nutrients, we do have to be careful not to give them too much.
Liver is also high in elements such as copper, (good for the blood) and iron.
Other excellent nutrients to be found in liver include calcium, vitamins D, E, K, vitamins of the B group, and other minerals. It really is a powerful, beneficial source of many essential healthy diet elements.
Recommended Cat Food Containing Liver
With the various health benefits of liver in your cat’s diet, it is no surprising that many top cat food brands use liver as in ingredient in their products.
Our recommended pick is Nutro Max Cat Chicken & Liver.
Can Cats Eat Liver – Any Precautions?
As we have said, cats have evolved to handle only a small amount of vitamin A. (Just think of the size of the livers they ate after hunting: mouse liver, bird liver etc – not cows or pigs liver as we might feed them).
This means that it is possible to give your cat a too high a dosage of vitamin A by feeding an excess amount of liver. Vitamin A toxicity is a very serious condition.
Quite simply, if your cat eats too much liver over an extended period of time, it could affect your cat’s bones. Symptoms include deformed bones, painful bone growths occurring on the elbows and spine, and osteoporosis.
In rare instances, liver induced Vitamin A toxicity has also resulted in death.
Such potential for harm can put people off feeding their cat liver. The important issue to remember however, is that it takes a lot of liver to cause these symptoms.
A small amount of liver, served in the correct manner will certainly benefit your cat. You just have to be careful.
Can Cats Eat Liver – Reducing the risk of Vitamin A toxicity
Of course limiting the amount of liver your cat eats is one way. However, another is check the source of the liver meat. You want your cat to enjoy the nutritional benefits of this wonderful food, so it makes sense that using the liver of animals raised on pasture without hormones and antibiotics is going to reduce the impact and any adverse effects.
Livestock and poultry raised without drugs and pesticides running through their cells is the best way to ensure healthy liver pieces end up in your cats bowl.
Whether you are buying the liver from the butchers and giving your cat a little, or you are buying pre-packaged cat food or treats containing liver, try to ascertain the source and the actual quality of the meat you are feeding your pet. This is the safest, most reliable way to keep them happy and healthy.