It is safe to feed raw meat to your cat if you take safety precautions. The most important thing to consider is the source of the raw meat. Sure, cats eat raw meat all the time in the wild – they eat rodents, birds, and any other animals they can catch. Meat that is hunted in the wild is also as fresh as possible. The meat does not have time to grow bacteria between being caught and being eaten. However, wild prey is more likely to have parasites, which can infect cats.
We want our cats to eat safely without consuming harmful bacteria or parasites. This can be accomplished feeding your cat raw meat at home. When feeding raw meat freshness and quality is key. Farmed meats have a pretty low possibility of containing parasites since these meats are mainly raised for human consumption. Buying raw meat from a local farmer or butcher directly is one of the best ways to ensure that the meat is fresh and healthy.
Bacteria growth is a concern with raw meat purchased in grocery stores. Grocery store meats are safe for human consumption because we fully cook the meat before eating it. Cooking meat to a certain temperature kills bacteria. However, feeding this raw meat to your cat can be dangerous because the meat has had time to grow bacteria, even while refrigerated. Pre-ground meats are especially likely to have high bacteria growth. Refrigeration slows the growth of bacteria, but does not stop it completely. Meat that is butchered and immediately frozen is also a good option. Freezing meat stops bacteria from growing as well.
Feeding raw meat to your cat can be safe if you follow normal safety precautions for raw meat and also do your research about the source of your raw meat.