Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken? Is It Safe?
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 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 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 their 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.
Can I Feed my Cat Raw Chicken?
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 you 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? 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 Cats
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:
- Diarrhea (which may include blood)
- Loss of appetite
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.