Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken? Is It Safe?

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 07/10/22 •  14 min read
The contents of the website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this site (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase this item or service, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own.

can cats eat raw chicken

Online Veterinary 24/7
Chat With A Veterinarian Online

Connect with a verified veterinarian in minutes. Licensed vets are available 24/7 to answer your questions. No need to worry about your furry family member.

Can you feed cats raw chicken? That’s a great question! If you’ve ever thought about feeding you kitty a raw food diet, or supplementing her diet with raw food, you may have considered raw chicken.

Many people are considering a raw diet for their cats, or least a partially raw diet. There are many questions and considerations when it comes to feeding your fur baby raw chicken or any other type of raw meat. The answer is a little complicated—there are pros and cons to consider before feeding your precious kitty raw chicken liver or other types of raw meat.

Nutritional Needs in Cats

Yes, you can, but there are some you’ll need to keep in mind before feeding your cat raw chicken. We all know that feral cats, who live in the wild, eat a raw food diet. They have to in order to survive. And other types of wild cats eat raw food, too. However, feral and other types of wild cats have differences with their guts, which are not found in our domesticated cats. For instance, wild cats are strict carnivores.

In fact, cats need more protein than dogs in order to stay healthy. Wild cats eat a natural balanced diet that’s mostly birds, rodents and other small animals. Cats need protein to keep their metabolism healthy and more. Cats need a diet that includes the amino acids taurine, arginine, methionine and cysteine in order to help their body function correction. A cat’s body doesn’t produce these amino acids and they are not stored in the cat’s body. Instead, they must get these and other nutrients directly from the cat’s diet.

In addition to these amino acids, cats also need niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine, which are all B vitamins. Cats also need vitamins A & D, K &E.

Cats aren’t able to store these nutrients, either, so much derive these vitamins directly from their diet.

The digestive tract of a cat has very short villi, which means that it does not absorb the nutrients in food as well as other animals. This can lead to deficiencies in some of the vitamins and minerals that cats need to be healthy. The minerals needed by cats include phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, selenium and zinc.

The digestive system of a cat also has different enzymes than humans. These enzymes are produced by the cat’s pancreas, and they break down foods that cats eat into smaller pieces so that they can be absorbed. Their immune system also works differently than humans. For example, they have a much stronger response to foods that they’ve eaten before.

Most cats don’t have issues with food allergies, but there are some that can develop a reaction to certain foods. These allergies may cause the cat to lose their appetite or vomit. There are some foods that can cause stomach problems in cats. Health problems in cats can include a wide range of problems, including things like heart disease, liver disease, obesity, kidney disease and pancreatitis.

This means that you should feed your cat the proper amount of protein and other nutrients to ensure that they stay healthy. Dry food is a good choice because it’s easier to measure out the proper amount of food that your cat needs. A good pet food that is high in protein and carbohydrates is also a good choice for your cat’s health.

Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken Meat?

The dietary needs of cats can be met by a diet that includes a variety of fresh meat, poultry, fish and eggs, as well as a variety of other healthy sources of protein. High quality cat food can be a great source of high quality protein. When cats eat chicken breast, for example, they are getting a healthy source of protein and other nutrients that are essential for cats. But, there are also other sources of protein that cats can eat such as beef, pork, lamb and fish.

Back to the question of whether or not it’s OK to feed your cat raw chicken, there’s not a clear answer. We’re sorry to say this matter of a raw diet for cats is still debated by scientists and vets. No one completely agrees on this topic.

However, there are some things cat owners need to know about raw chicken in order to make an informed decision on your fur baby’s diet.

Can I Give Raw Chicken to my Cat?

Do cats eat raw chicken? What if your cat ate raw chicken meat? We all know that humans can’t eat raw chicken. If we do, there’s a high likelihood we’ll become very ill. Raw chicken can carry salmonella and some other nasty germs. The same can apply for cats eating raw chicken. The problem here is that many people choose to feed their cats raw chicken that’s bought at the store, usually found in the meat counter. This chicken is meant for human consumption, with the understanding it will be cooked before eating. Cooking the chicken thoroughly for humans means make sure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F (about 74 C). Serving this type of raw chicken to your cat or kitten can make them sick. The bacteria responsible usually include Salmonella, E. coli., listeria and campylobacter, all of which can make a human or a cat very sick.

You fur baby could come become sick and show these symptoms:

And if your sweet fur baby is sick from E. coli or Salmonella infections, there’s a good chance she could pass this sickness on to you and others in household. When it comes to chicken meant for human consumption, don’t give this raw to your fur baby. The risk is too high that she could become very sick from the bacteria.

The Right Type of Raw Chicken for Adult Cats

The health benefits of eating raw chicken are numerous. When you start to feed your cat raw chicken, you will find that your cat is happier and healthier. It is an easy way to get a high quality protein source that is good for your cat.

Take note that feeding your cat a large amount of raw chicken will cause your cat to gain weight. In fact, if you want to feed your cat a healthy diet, then you need to know what to look for. The first thing that you need to know is that it is important for you to get the right type of chicken. The best type of chicken is the one that has a bone in it. This will make sure that your cat gets the necessary nutrients.

Cooked bones are good for your cat, but be careful of choking hazards. There are other types of bones that are very good for your cat. These include chicken wings, necks and backs.

Having looked at raw chicken for human consumption, let’s take a look at raw chicken meant for cats. There are commercially produced kitty foods that are made from raw chicken. The main difference is these foods are made with chickens that don’t harbor salmonella and other nasties. Commercially prepared raw chicken cat foods are made using HPP (high-pressure pasteurization processing) or by flash-freezing, both of which effectively kill bacteria in the raw food.

Here are some freeze-dried raw chicken recipes you can buy online for your precious fur ball:

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Mixers

This product is meant to put on top of your cat’s normal food. It’s a freeze-dried raw cat food topper made with cage free chicken. This yummy cat food toppings is made with responsibly sourced cage free chicken, organs and non-GMO vegetables and fruits. This product is free of grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by product meal, artificial colors and preservatives.

You can use this to top your kitty’s dry kibble and add some raw food to her diet, without the worry that she’ll become sick from bacteria.

Ziwi Peak Gently-Air Dried New Zealand Free Range Chicken Recipe

This cat food uses a gentle air-dried method to preserve the food, while retaining the nutrients and maximizing the flavor. This recipe uses up to 96% of fresh meat, organs and bones, as well as green mussels, organic kelp and green tripe. This product is 100% ethically and sustainably source from meats and seafood from New Zealand’s free-range farms and its pristine waters. You won’t find added hormones, antibiotics or growth promotants in this kitty food. This food may also be good for cats that have allergies to certain ingredients, it may also help to improve their digestion & joint health and help keep them at a healthy weight.

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chick Chick Chicken

Each batch of this kitty food is made with 98% cage free chicken, organs and bone, plus taurine and probiotics to keep your fur baby healthy. All ingredients are responsibly sourced, with nothing coming from China. This cat food is made entirely in the USA. It’s all-natural and minimally processed, and contains no hormones, antibiotics, grains or fillers. And this food is 100% complete and balanced for all life stages, which means the food will provide all the nutrients needed for kittens, adult and senior cats.

In addition to these products, you can also find regular frozen raw chicken for cats. The food is frozen, rather than free-dried, and is delivered to your home frozen. These products are generally safe for cats but be sure to buy from reputable sellers. It’s a good idea to check reviews for their products, ask your vet and see if family or friends have used the retailer’s frozen chicken for cats before you buy it.

What about Raw Chicken Bones? Are These OK for my Cat?

In the wild, cats certainly eat the bones and everything from their prey. However, bones for domesticated cats are a little more complicated. When it comes to raw chicken bones, they do have some nutritional value for cats. However, most veterinarians don’t recommend feeding your cat raw chicken bones. The problem is that chicken bones are somewhat soft and can break easily. Their sharp edges can cause perforations in a cat’s intestines. Some people choose to give their feline fur babies chicken necks, which do contain small bones. If you choose to give your kitty raw chicken necks, it’s recommended that you watch her as she’s eating. Look out for any signs of choking, bone or bone fragments getting caught in her teeth, etc.

After she’s ingested the neck and bones, then watch for any signs she’s having stomach or gut trouble. You may notice she’s vomiting, having diarrhea, gas or other problems such as constipation. If you notice blood in her poo, then it’s time to call the vet to make sure she’s not developed a serious gut problem. Another option for serving your fur baby chicken bones is to grind the bones into a powder and add them to her food. This way, you don’t have to worry about bone splinters or bones causing any health issues. Instead, your feline companion will have all the nutrients from the bones, without the problems they can cause.

Can my Cat Eat Other Raw Chicken Parts?

Yes, she can have other parts of the chicken raw, too. These include the liver, heart, etc. These parts of the chicken contain the taurine your fur baby needs. The chicken’s liver is filled with protein, calcium, iron, B vitamins, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and other nutrients that keep your cat healthy. However, it’s not a good idea to only feed her organ meat. Too much of a good thing could cause your kitty to develop diarrhea.

Can Kittens Eat Raw Chicken?

Yes, kittens can also eat raw chicken, but you want to start them out on small pieces that have no bone in them. As they gain experience and grow bigger, then you can serve them larger pieces and some bones.

Before starting your kitten(s) on raw chicken, it’s a good idea to check with your vet to see if this is a good option for them. Vets sometimes don’t recommend a raw diet for kittens, as these diets don’t usually provide all the nutrients the kittens need.

What if my Cat Accidentally Ate Raw Chicken?

Here, again, your fur baby should be OK. You’ll just have to watch to see if she develops diarrhea or shows any other signs that she may have become sick from salmonella. You’ll need to watch for these symptoms:

If she develops any of these symptoms, you’ll need to call the vet as soon as possible.

Summing it Up

Your kitty can eat raw chicken; however, it’s best to choose raw chicken that’s been especially prepared for cats. This type of product will not contain harmful bacteria and it may be freeze-dried, air-dried, or even frozen. And bones should be small, such as those found in the neck.

And if your fur baby grabs a bite of raw chicken from the counter, when you’re preparing it, chances are she will be OK. Just watch her for signs of illness, and then call you vet right away.

(Visited 1,187 times, 1 visits today)
Online Veterinary 24/7
Chat With A Veterinarian Online

Connect with a verified veterinarian in minutes. Licensed vets are available 24/7 to answer your questions. No need to worry about your furry family member.


Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

Keep Reading