Can they eat it?
March 9, 2013 2:40 AM   Subscribe

Will cats eat meat that is so off it will kill them?

I've been led to believe that cats can still eat meat that is no longer considered fit for human consumption, but can I trust my cats (completely sheltered and indoor felines) to know whether it is still OK for them to eat?
posted by moody cow to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
IANAV. If your cats are like mine, you can trust their digestive systems to send anything back up at the least sign of trouble.

If they're indoor, you're the one feeding them. If it's one day over the sell-by date, it's probably just not palatable to you but perfectly safe for either of you. If it smells totally disgusting, why risk it, and why be in the same house with it while the cat's eating it?
posted by randomkeystrike at 4:35 AM on March 9, 2013


Meat that is off can make you sick because it carries a lot of bacteria. Can your cat get food poisoning? I would have to assume yes, and depending on what kind, how infested the meat is and how healthy your cat's immune system is are all going to contribute to what KIND of sick and how sever the illness would be. That being said, humans get food poisoning pretty damn regularly (24 hour flu, anyone?) And when was the last time someone you know was close to death from salmanila?

I wouldn't feed my animal rotten meat just cause it gives me the icks, but it's probably fine for both you and your cat if it doesn't smell bad or look slimey/oddly colorful.
posted by Blisterlips at 5:10 AM on March 9, 2013


Cats can absolutely get food poisoning from eating things they shouldn't, so no, you can't trust your cat in that regard. Just google food poisoning symptoms for cats, or better yet, give your vet a call.
posted by Specklet at 5:16 AM on March 9, 2013


Not mine. He won't eat the choicest fresh human grade beef sometimes, if he's feeling quirky. And even when he's really hungry, really really hungry, he will turn up his nose at questionable meat (eg, a few days old in the fridge).
posted by b33j at 5:55 AM on March 9, 2013


B33j, the cats we had when I was a kid were the same way. If it was just past the human-comfort level (more than a day or two in the fridge) they were fine, but there were definitely things that they wouldn't touch.

My impression leftover from that is that animals have a better sense of what is spoiled and won't eat it if it wasn't good. I'm sure it's much more complicated than that but I wonder ... There's no "best if used by" date on a dead mouse - it would be interesting to know how the cat decides what to eat.
posted by bunderful at 6:00 AM on March 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't trust my cat (adorable as she is) to be smarter than me about food safety because I know that cats will eat things like antifreeze, poisonous plants, mercury-laden tuna, milk long after they can process lactose, and so on.
posted by Houstonian at 6:35 AM on March 9, 2013


There's no "best if used by" date on a dead mouse - it would be interesting to know how the cat decides what to eat.

I'm not sure a cat would eat a dead mouse that they hadn't killed, unless they are starving.
posted by goethean at 6:50 AM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


According to Gay Talese, who wrote an article on New York City's stray cats in the 1960s, food poisoning is the number one cause of death amongst that population.
posted by mr. digits at 7:03 AM on March 9, 2013


There's no "best if used by" date on a dead mouse - it would be interesting to know how the cat decides what to eat.

I'm not sure a cat would eat a dead mouse that they hadn't killed, unless they are starving.


I get what you're saying. But they do eat pieces of dead cow that they haven't killed ... so ... what's the difference? I'm not saying there is no difference, I'm genuinely curious as to whether a cat makes a distinction and how. Freshness? Location?

I know they WILL eat some things that they shouldn't eat, and WILL NOT eat some other things that they shouldn't eat ... would be fascinating to know what the distinction is there too.
posted by bunderful at 8:44 AM on March 9, 2013


goethean: There's no "best if used by" date on a dead mouse - it would be interesting to know how the cat decides what to eat.

I'm not sure a cat would eat a dead mouse that they hadn't killed, unless they are starving.
I'm 100% sure you're wrong.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:11 PM on March 10, 2013


Thanks for all your answers, they helped me decide to just toss any meat I'm not sure of.
posted by moody cow at 1:34 AM on April 27, 2013


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