Pork in cat food - what's the deal?

goholistic

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I thought I read that cats shouldn't eat pork.  
  I'm seeing more and more commercial brands using pork in their dry and canned formulas. Some even feed raw pork. Are there any dangers to pork? Is it considered a novel protein?

Some brands carry canned pork formulas, but I noticed they tend to be pretty high in fat, so I'm not sure if it is good to feed exclusively. I've been looking at a high calorie dry food for my Caesar who needs to gain weight, but it contains pork protein concentrate.

I just don't know much about pork in cat food. Any thoughts?
 

gummifuzz

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I just think it's like a novel protein. Sort of like lamb in cat food. My cats love red meat even though it's supposedly not good for them.
 

vball91

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I had heard that as well, so I did some research and could find no reason that cats shouldn't eat pork. It can be high in fat, so as with other meats, it's best in rotation. And yes, raw feeders can include pork in a country like the US where trichonellosis is virtually unheard of anymore.
 

ckdkitties

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I had heard that as well, so I did some research and could find no reason that cats shouldn't eat pork. It can be high in fat, so as with other meats, it's best in rotation. And yes, raw feeders can include pork in a country like the US where trichonellosis is virtually unheard of anymore.


The idea of pork being unhealthy for cats relates to tapeworm that may be carried by pigs. Historically, undercooked pork was a source of infection to humans,  but trichinosis is a rare occurrence in "developed" countries now.

It should be rotated with other meats as it is high in fat, so probably wouldn't be the best option to feed exclusively. I think it would be a fine choice (in rotation) for Caesar if he needs to gain weight. 
 

denice

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I had 'heard' the same thing before as well.  I think it's one of those things that you hear it enough it becomes true.  I first questioned it when Patches had fatty liver and was on A/D, the meat in A/D is pork.  Makes sense, a critically ill animal with no appetite needs as many calories as possible in as little food as possible so a meat like pork makes sense.  I know Hounds and Gatos also has a pork variety for kitties and I think they are one of the best commercial foods available.
 

ckdkitties

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Originally Posted by Denice  

 I know Hounds and Gatos also has a pork variety for kitties and I think they are one of the best commercial foods available.
I've heard about the Hounds and Gatos pork variety as well as the Nature's Variety pork variety (canned). It seems to have generally very positive reviews online. 
 

raintyger

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I remember seeing an article on Petco that said something about the fat molecules being too big for the cat to break down. I just did a Google search and although I see the article being listed in the search results, the article is mysteriously gone from the Petco website! And I do know that several prescription foods have pork in them. I did find reference to the trichonellosis. Also, there's this article from The Straight Dope, which is an trivia/entertainment website that researches reader questions. Kinda like Snopes.com, but investigates all questions, not just internet rumors.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2981/how-come-pet-food-never-contains-pork
 

oneandahalfcats

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My instincts tell me that Pork may not be an easily digested meat source as there can be a lot of fat in pork depending on the cut. Pet food companies could be using a choice cut for canned wet food, or depending on the brand, the source may be from by-products. Unless there is specific information, it would be impossible to know. I think Pork might be a tasty thing to serve once in a while, but I wouldn't make this a main staple of a cat's rotation, especially if there are already issues with digestion.
 
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burkey

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Due to George's EGC and currently working to determine whether or not it is a food issue, I have been doing an incredible amount of label reading the last couple of months. And almost immediately I noticed that a lot of canned food contains pork in some form... pork fat, pork liver, pork broth, even porcine plasma (which I'm assuming is a pretty way to say pork blood). Even some commercial raw contains a fair amount of pork (NVI's frozen rabbit, for example).  Foods that come so close to being a true single protein, are often blown out of the water because the company decide to add a dash of pork broth, or liver, etc. I find pork aggravating, for this reason alone. If I weren't dealing with ruling out a food allergy, I probably wouldn't have even noticed it.

I also remember reading somewhere, that cats should not eat pork because something about it they couldn't break down properly. I don't recall if it was a comment somewhere by a random person, or a veterinary article, or something in between, etc. I would imagine if there was a known issue feeding cats pork, that it wouldn't be used so freely across so many brands, many of which are considered top-notch as far as commercial cat foods go. But the comment has stuck with me, regardless.
 

denice

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The only thing I can find, other than the safety warnings about raw meat in general, is to avoid the cured products like ham and bacon.  That has to do with what is introduced in the curing process rather than the meat itself.  Maybe, because so many pork products are cured, that is how it became 'general' knowledge that pork should be avoided.
 

oneandahalfcats

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I must be looking at the wrong foods as I seldom if ever see pork as an ingredient in the popular higher-end brands. Of those that come to mind : Natural Balance, Wellness, Weruva, EVO, GO Brand, Felidae.
 

burkey

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Just from memory....

Wellness CORE turkey & duck canned contains pork. In addition to the rabbit raw, the rabbit canned NVI contains pork. I believe all flavors Nature's Logic canned contains pork. There were a scattering of others as well, but I didn't keep a list. It gets more common the further you go down the quality list, for sure. But I didn't expect to see it at all at the higher-end, unless of course it was the primary protein in a particular flavor and labeled as such.
 
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oneandahalfcats

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Just from memory....

Wellness CORE turkey & duck canned contains pork. In addition to the rabbit raw, the rabbit canned NVI contains pork. I believe all flavors Nature's Logic canned contains pork. There were a scattering of others as well, but I didn't keep a list. It gets more common the further you go down the quality list, for sure. But I didn't expect to see it at all at the higher-end, unless of course it was the primary protein in a particular flavor and labeled as such.
Thanks for the confirmation on the Wellness CORE Turkey & Duck (strange that it is just this variety) and the Nature's Logic. I haven't tried the Wellness CORE (but the basic Wellness Grain-free) or Nature's Variety brand.
 

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There are quite a few canned foods with pork in them. I see more coming out every few months or so. My oldest is highly allergic to pork, so I probably pay more attention to ingredients than most. (I also have cats allergic to beef, rabbit, venison and chicken...Turkey is our safe zone lol!)
 
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oneandahalfcats

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There are quite a few canned foods with pork in them. I see more coming out every few months or so. My oldest is highly allergic to pork, so I probably pay more attention to ingredients than most. (I also have cats allergic to beef, rabbit, venison and chicken...Turkey is our safe zone lol!)
I read a lot of canned food ingredients as well, and the only thing I can suggest is that there must be quite a few more unique canned food diets in the states that are just not common place everywhere else? I don't see pork as being that common here in Canada.

It would be interesting to see a list of these pet foods you are aware of that contain pork, for comparison.
 
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goholistic

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Thanks for your responses everyone!

I'm just curious as to the manufacturers' reasoning for including pork. Is it cheap? Is it the consistency or nutritional makeup? Like @Burkey, I have Sebastian on a novel protein diet and quite a few of the novel protein foods I've come across are "diluted" with pork. Is it because these companies see pork to be novel enough that it won't cause an adverse reaction? Because, quite honestly, it would probably be cheaper for them to just use a poultry. 


I tried to do a search, too, and didn't come across anything concrete.
 

oneandahalfcats

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Thanks for your responses everyone!

I'm just curious as to the manufacturers' reasoning for including pork. Is it cheap? Is it the consistency or nutritional makeup? Like @Burkey, I have Sebastian on a novel protein diet and quite a few of the novel protein foods I've come across are "diluted" with pork. Is it because these companies see pork to be novel enough that it won't cause an adverse reaction? Because, quite honestly, it would probably be cheaper for them to just use a poultry. 


I tried to do a search, too, and didn't come across anything concrete.
I think if it were me, I would call the companies of the foods I am interested in to find out the purpose of the pork ingredient. It seems to me that if a protein were essential in a diet, it shouldn't be diluted with pork?

This article talks about diluting of meats in association with fraud in labelling of meat products :  http://www.tlr-international.com/sites/default/files/TLR factsheet xenomeat 2013.pdf
 

marc999

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I must be looking at the wrong foods as I seldom if ever see pork as an ingredient in the popular higher-end brands. Of those that come to mind : Natural Balance, Wellness, Weruva, EVO, GO Brand, Felidae.
I have a few Pork canned cat foods in my novel protein stash: 

(1) Simply Nourish - Pork (with parsley and steamed carrots: maybe I'll eat it myself!) - PetSmart

(2) Hound&Gatos - Pork - Global Pet Foods 

(3) Wild Calling - Pork (ok, it's for dogs, but I"ll add Taurine and the ingredients are near identical to cat) - Global Pet Foods. 

You're right though, it doesn't stand out from the others. 

I have odd ball other ones too, like Pheasant (Wild Calling - cat), Buffalo (Wild Calling - dog) Venison (Evo 95%), then of course rabbit, duck and lamb which a few companies have.

Note: I was surprised @ Pheasant though - 145 calories for a 5.5 oz. tin - that's a lean machine bird.  
 
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oneandahalfcats

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I have a few Pork canned cat foods in my novel protein stash: 

(1) Simply Nourish - Pork (with parsley and steamed carrots: maybe I'll eat it myself!) - PetSmart

(2) Hound&Gatos - Pork - Global Pet Foods 

(3) Wild Calling - Pork (ok, it's for dogs, but I"ll add Taurine and the ingredients are near identical to cat) - Global Pet Foods. 

You're right though, it doesn't stand out from the others. 

I have odd ball other ones too, like Pheasant (Wild Calling - cat), Buffalo (Wild Calling - dog) Venison (Evo 95%), then of course rabbit, duck and lamb which a few companies have.

Note: I was surprised @ Pheasant though - 145 calories for a 5.5 oz. tin - that's a lean machine bird.  
That is quite the eclectic mix. Where the heck do you find the pheasant?
Besides being a very pretty bird, pheasant are quite lean and very tasty .. My father used to raise them.

I get that pork diets do exist, I just don't see that they are that widespread a protein though, in favor of chicken, beef, turkey. I don't even know if I would consider pork to be a good novel protein? I know when I consume pork, depending on the cut, it can be hard on the digestion.
 

denice

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I tried the Wild Calling pheasant, I have a kitty that can't tolerate beef and has recently developed a chicken allergy, so I am always looking at the novel proteins.  My other kitty got sick from it.  I was even afraid that she had a blockage.  She ate it really well which is good for my two with canned food.  About an hour later it all came back up.  I don't know what the deal is there, she didn't do that the next day with a different food so it wasn't a blockage, thank goodness.
 
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