Can Cats Eat Meatloaf? (Solved & Explained!)

It’s meaty, delicious, and your cat definitely wants some. Can cats eat meatloaf or is this ultimately a bad idea?

The biggest problem with meatloaf is going to be traditional ingredients, such as onion and garlic, but it still isn’t goof for your cat without these items. Meatloaf has a lot of calories and if you are putting ketchup on top, then your cat is also getting a lot of sugar in the bargain.

Today we’ll get a closer look at the issue by considering the ingredients and talking a little more about your cat’s nutritional requirements. While a spoonful of garlic and onion-free meatloaf should be fine if it’s not a regular thing, it’s definitely not a habit that you want to get into with your cat.

Garlic and Onions — The Allium factor

The main worry has to do with allium plants, which include veggies such as leeks, garlic, chives, and onions. While these ingredients are typically cooked before you put them in the meatloaf, they are still toxic for your cat and can make your cat very ill.

Just 1 gram of onions per 5 pounds of your cat’s weight is considered to be toxic and onion powder won’t let you get around that, as it is actually concentrated and therefore even more toxic! Garlic isn’t any better, as it is considered to be more toxic than onions and therefore also unsafe.

So, what happens if we make a meatloaf and simply leave these veggies out? Let’s take a look.

The eggs and meat are not so bad

The eggs and ground beef portion of meatloaf is not as bad for your kitty, but you should also consider the breadcrumbs that will be in the mix, Cats have a low carb diet, as too many carbs are very difficult for them to digest in the first place.

With breadcrumbs, we definitely get a higher carb content than we would with plain’ ol ground beef, so that a 3 ounce slice of traditional meatloaf is going to have around 9.6 carbs, along with 11 grams of fat, and a whopping 192 calories – yikes!

This is definitely not good for your cat, with the recommended daily calories for a neutered, 8-month old feline being around 221. With the carbs, you only want them to take up 10 to 15% of your cats caloric intake, so meatloaf is still not very good for them.

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By eating that slice, your cat will get most of their daily calories in one go and a whole lot of fat and carbs to go with it.  There’s still one more component to consider, of course, so let’s continue on with our delicious meatloaf topping.

Then we have the sauce

Depending on where you fall on your meatloaf toppings, you might be using plain ketchup, tomato sauce, or even a brown gravy to top off your meatloaf to perfection. Starting with the ketchup, that delicious zing that we all know and love comes from some very unsafe ingredients for your cat.

Ketchup gets its flavors basically from vinegar, cinnamon, mustard powder, and unfortunately… from garlic and onions.  This takes it off of the menu where your kitty in concerned, but what about brown gravy?

While brown gravy is basically flour, oil, and beef broth, it’s super-high in its carb content, with that entire 12.4 oz package of gravy (if you don’t make it from scratch) containing a whopping 45.7 carbs. Add in that that you’ve also got around 13 grams of fat and 76 calories overall and the meatloaf doesn’t look so innocent anymore.

Finally, if we just go with tomato sauce on top of the meatloaf, we’ve still basically got tomato puree and lots of sugar – not to mention that you have to check the varieties carefully, as some sauces will also already have garlic in them. All in all, meatloaf simply isn’t good for your cat.

Your cat would still love some ground beef, though

The good news is that your cat will be perfectly happy with a little ground beef, cooked up with minimal fat and leaving out any of those pesky spices. At just 55 calories per a 1 ounce serving, provided that the ground beef has a low fat content then it’s makes a pretty good snack.

At 55 calories, your cat won’t greatly affecting their daily caloric intake, but we really do recommend that this is not something that you feed them every day. Ground beef can be a little on the fatty side, which can catch up with your cat’s overall health further down the line. A better approach is simply switching things up!

Lean fish such as Tilapia is a kitty favorite, though it you are worried about ‘fishbreath’ then you can always boil up a little chicken instead. The trick is simply serving your cat when you are eating, so that they can share a meal with you and not feel like you are trying to trick them out of a yummy dinner.

In most cases, your cat will be perfectly happy with this arrangement and will hopefully not try to steal your meatloaf when you’re looking away. Sad to say, but some of our furry friends really require close supervision when dinner’s on the line!

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In conclusion: Meatloaf is not good for your cat

In this article we’ve broken down the components of meatloaf to get a closer look at why it’s not really the best option for fine feline dining. With it’s high carb count and calories, it’s just not a healthy choice, and the risk of your cat ingesting garlic or onion is simply best avoided altogether.

Just try some different snacks, however, served with a little praise at mealtime and all should be forgiven (unless you have a really snaky cat). Your feline friend loves eating with you and once they’ve gotten used to the new arrangement, then it should hopefully be smooth sailing from there on out.