Cats might be mysterious, their behavior sometimes a bit odd, but one thing’s for sure: they love to eat!
If you’re a cat owner, you know that your feline friend loves nothing more than treating themselves to delicious food.
But when it comes to raw chicken – is it safe for cats? The short answer is yes – however there are certain considerations that must be kept in mind before allowing your fuzzy pal to chow down.
In this blog post we’ll provide an in depth guide about raw chickens and how to feed them safely (and happily!)
Cats and Their Dietary Habits
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that their diets are primarily composed of meat.
They have evolved to efficiently process and extract nutrients from animal tissues, and as a result, their digestive systems are well-adapted to consuming a diet that is high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates.
Historically, wild cats have consumed a diet of small prey such as mice and birds, which are rich in nutrients and provide all the essential vitamins and minerals that cats need to survive.
Domesticated cats have similar dietary needs to their wild ancestors and require a diet that is high in protein, fat, and nutrients to maintain good health. Domestic cats can obtain these nutrients from commercial cat food, which is formulated to meet their nutritional requirements, or from raw or cooked meat, such as chicken.
When it comes to their diets, cats can be quite finicky and may be picky eaters.
Some cats may prefer the taste and texture of raw meat, while others may prefer cooked or commercial cat food.
Understanding their dietary needs and preferences is important for cat owners to ensure that their pets are receiving a balanced and nutritious diet.
Some Debates on Chicken
The debate on whether cats can eat raw chicken revolves around the health benefits and risks associated with this type of diet.
On one hand, proponents of feeding cats raw chicken argue that it is a more natural and nutritious diet that provides cats with essential nutrients, improved digestion, and a healthier coat and skin.
On the other hand, opponents of raw chicken diets for cats claim that it poses a number of health risks, such as bacterial contamination and food poisoning, and that it may not provide a balanced and complete source of nutrients.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) advises against feeding cats a raw meat diet, including raw chicken, due to the potential health risks.
Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, that can cause food poisoning in both cats and humans.
Additionally, there is a risk of exposure to parasites and diseases, such as Toxoplasmosis, which can be transmitted from raw meat to cats.
Despite the potential health risks, some cat owners still choose to feed their pets raw chicken, often as part of a “BARF” or “biologically appropriate raw food” diet. These diets aim to mimic the diets of wild cats and provide cats with a more natural and species-appropriate source of nutrition.
However, it is important for cat owners to understand the potential risks and to consult with a veterinarian before making any dietary changes.
The Pros of Feeding Cats Raw Chicken
Cats are obligate carnivores, and their diets should be rich in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. While commercial cat food is formulated to meet these dietary requirements, some cat owners prefer to feed their pets raw chicken as part of a “BARF” or “biologically appropriate raw food” diet.
Raw chicken provides cats with essential nutrients, such as protein, fat, and vitamins, which are necessary for their overall health and well-being.
The high protein content in raw chicken can help to maintain strong muscles, support growth and development, and keep the immune system functioning properly.
The fat content in raw chicken is also important for providing cats with energy and keeping their skin and coat healthy.
Feeding cats a raw chicken diet can also improve their digestive health.
The enzymes and probiotics in raw chicken can help to support the digestive process and promote a healthy gut.
This can result in more efficient nutrient absorption and fewer digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, and upset stomach.
Healthier Coat and Skin
Raw chicken is a rich source of essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, which are important for maintaining a healthy skin and coat. These fatty acids can help to keep the skin moisturized, reduce inflammation, and prevent dry, flaky skin.
Additionally, the high protein content in raw chicken can support the growth of strong and healthy fur, keeping your cat’s coat looking shiny and glossy.
In conclusion, while there are potential health risks associated with feeding cats raw chicken, there are also several pros, including the nutritional benefits, improved digestion, and a healthier coat and skin.
However, it is important to consult with a veterinarian before making any dietary changes, and to ensure that the raw chicken you feed your cat is fresh, properly prepared, and stored safely.
The Cons of Feeding Cats Raw Chicken
Possible Health Risks
Feeding cats raw chicken can pose a number of health risks, including exposure to harmful bacteria, parasites, and diseases. Raw chicken can contain harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause food poisoning in both cats and humans.
Additionally, there is a risk of exposure to parasites and diseases, such as Toxoplasmosis, which can be transmitted from raw meat to cats. These health risks can result in serious illness, and in some cases, can be fatal.
One of the biggest cons of feeding cats raw chicken is the risk of bacteria contamination. Raw chicken can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning in both cats and humans. This risk is especially high if the chicken is not stored or prepared properly, or if it is past its expiration date. Bacteria contamination can result in serious illness, and in some cases, can be fatal.
Risk of Food Poisoning
Another potential risk of feeding cats raw chicken is the risk of food poisoning. Cats are susceptible to food poisoning just like humans, and consuming contaminated raw chicken can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms of food poisoning.
These symptoms can be severe, and in some cases, can result in serious illness.
How to Feed
Feeding cats a raw chicken diet can have some potential health benefits, but it is important to ensure that the raw chicken is properly prepared and stored to minimize the risk of food poisoning and other health problems.
Choosing the Right Cuts of Meat
When feeding cats raw chicken, it is important to choose the right cuts of meat. Chicken breast is a good choice, as it is lean and low in fat. Chicken legs and wings are also good options, but they are higher in fat and should be offered in moderation. It is important to avoid feeding cats raw chicken that contains bones, as bones can splinter and cause choking or injury to the digestive system.
Proper Preparation and Storage
It is important to properly prepare and store raw chicken to minimize the risk of bacteria contamination and food poisoning. Before preparing the raw chicken, wash your hands and all surface areas that come into contact with raw chicken.
When preparing the chicken, be sure to remove all fat, skin, and bones, and chop the meat into small, bite-sized pieces. Store the raw chicken in the refrigerator and consume within two to three days.
If you do not plan to feed the raw chicken to your cat within this time frame, it can be frozen for up to six months.
Introducing Raw Chicken to Your Cat’s Diet
When introducing raw chicken to your cat’s diet, it is important to do so gradually. Start by offering a small amount of raw chicken mixed with your cat’s regular food. Gradually increase the amount of raw chicken over several days, until your cat is eating a diet that is mostly raw chicken. It is important to monitor your cat for any signs of digestive problems, such as vomiting or diarrhea, and to consult with a veterinarian if you notice any changes in your cat’s health.
Alternatives to Raw Chicken
- Canned or dry cat food: Canned or dry cat food is a convenient and balanced alternative to raw chicken for cats. These types of food are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of cats and come in a variety of flavors and textures. Canned food is often more palatable to cats and can provide additional moisture to their diet, which is important for cats that do not drink enough water.
- Cooked chicken: Cooked chicken can be a safe alternative to raw chicken for cats, but it is important to ensure that it is fully cooked and free of seasonings, bones, and skin. Cooked chicken can be a great source of protein for cats, but it is important to offer it in moderation as it can be higher in fat than other protein sources.
- Fish: Fish, such as salmon, tuna, and cod, can be a great source of protein for cats. Fish can be offered cooked or canned, but it is important to ensure that it is boneless and skinless. Some cats may be allergic to fish, so it is important to offer it in moderation and monitor your cat for any signs of digestive problems.
- Beef or lamb: Beef or lamb can be a good alternative to chicken for cats that prefer red meat. Like chicken, beef and lamb should be offered cooked and free of bones and fat. It is important to offer these meats in moderation as they can be high in fat.
- Game meats: Game meats, such as rabbit, venison, and duck, can be a great alternative to chicken for cats. Game meats are often leaner than beef or lamb, but they can be more expensive and harder to find. Game meats should be offered cooked and boneless.
And that’s all you need to know about whether cats can eat raw chicken!
Be sure to check out our other articles for more tips on keeping your cat healthy and happy.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Toripet. We’re always happy to help!