Cat owners try their best to make sure their feline is getting proper food and nutrients essential for their well-being. But, when it comes to feeding raw meat such as chicken, there is an overwhelming dispute about whether people should feed it to their cats or not.
However, some say that cats that are fed commercial cat food and home-prepared food on a daily basis; can also be fed raw chicken once in a while. Although it sounds okay, still the question “can cats eat raw chicken” remains a matter of big dispute.
I’ll share what I gained after hours of researching, reading cat owners’ opinions, and my thoughts regarding this matter.
Natural Diets of Cats
You might know that cats are carnivores. If you aren’t familiar with the term “carnivore”, it refers to those animals who primarily consume meat by hunting other living beings. Carnivorous animals have canine teeth that help them to tear the flesh of their prey.
We are done with carnivores, right? Now, let’s go back to where we were. Like most carnivores, wild cats hunt and eat the meat of their prey. They get all their required nutrients from animal tissue. Furthermore, cats get a high amount of protein, fat, and low carbohydrates from raw meat.
If your dearest furball was in the wild, it would primarily live on raw meat.
Required Nutrients for Cats
Most carnivores, as well as cats, need a high amount of protein, moderate fat, and a low amount of carbohydrates to function well. Protein and fat are vital nutrients for their energy. Cats require three times more protein than any omnivorous animals.
Even when a cat doesn’t get enough protein, it gets all the energy from proteins. This is when the cat eats a diet with low protein, and malnutrition occurs within the organism.
For proper body function, they also require some amount of amino acids, such as arginine, taurine, methionine, and cysteine. Cats cannot synthesize the acids themselves; it might sound strange, but it’s how they are.
They need to get these acids directly from their diets and in larger amounts compared to other animals. Chicken is one of the best sources of these acids for the feline. They need lots of B vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and pyridoxine, which are unique.
For well-functioning vision, stronger bone density, and muscle growth, cats require vitamins A and D. Again, animal tissue is probably the only source that they get these vitamins from. Apart from all these, your feline also needs vitamins E and K, which can be found in most commercial cat foods.
Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken?
Technically the answer is yes. As they are carnivores, they can eat raw meat, including chicken, like a boss.
You are concerned about whether you should feed raw chicken to your cat, but have you ever recalled yourself that wild cats only eat raw meat of animals like birds and small rodents? Have you ever heard of wild cats eating boiled bird meat, herbs, and vegetables? Never in a blue moon.
Cats can easily tear through raw fat and muscle tissue. However, their teeth aren’t suitable for tearing bones.
The digestive system of cats is designed and made friendly to digest raw meat. It takes around 12 hours for cats to digest raw meat. Wild cats live healthier and longer by eating raw meat of their prey.
Even if you feed homemade raw cat food or commercial raw cat food to your feline all the time, still there will be no issue when it comes to digesting raw meat for them.
Is Raw Chicken Safe for Cats?
Now, you might ask, so why there is a dispute about feeding cats raw chicken? Well, here comes the main discussion regarding today’s topic. Even though your cat is technically able to eat raw meat, the meat might not be safe for it in most cases.
People give a second thought before giving their feline raw meat due to food poisoning. You might already know that cats’ digestive system can resist food poisoning. However, it doesn’t make them safe for severe pathogens such as salmonella.
Poultry chicken contains salmonella, which causes salmonellosis infection. Besides, raw meat contains bacteria and other harmful things that cause parasites and intestinal infections such as salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter, and Listeria as well.
When a cat eats raw meat, the feline might affect from infections such as fever, Diarrhea, and vomiting. Cats infected with salmonellosis show signs of rapid weight loss and lethargy. There may also be skin disease and mucus in the stool of the cats.
These effects are much more severe in young and old cats due to their weak immune systems. Furthermore, cats with poor gastrointestinal tracts also have those risk factors that I have said earlier.
A bacterial disease like Listeria is often diagnosed in cats due to the consumption of raw meat. This bacterium is mostly found in cattle, poultry, soil, and water. Affected cats go through vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and lethargy. There is a chance of leading the cat to death if the disease is left untreated.
Risks Associated with Raw Meat Diet for Cats
When it comes to raw food, there are always some risk factors. Although the feline organism is able to digest raw meat, some elements make it risky to consume deliberately.
This is the most common concern. Raw diets contain some bacteria. Some are good for specific organisms, and some are bad. It’s okay for some animal organisms to eat raw eggs, but it’s not good for us as humans.
Likewise, the bacteria in raw meat isn’t good for cats’ digestive system. Some bacteria can be killed by washing, but this is very minimum. But if the meat is fresh and comes from animals that eat only organic diets, then cleaning the microorganisms will not be a big issue.
· Minced Meat
Minced meat that we get from local grocery stores usually stays in the fridge for several days. As bacteria are found on the outermost layers of raw meat, these bacteria get more time to sink further into the meat. By no means, pre-packaged ground raw meat is fresh and safe for your cat to eat.
Sharp and large pieces of bones can cause internal organ damage to your cat. It’s okay for the feline to eat tiny little pieces of chicken bones. But when it comes to the larger ones, it’s not good for your feline at all.
These are the most commonly associated risk factors related to raw chicken. That’s why most people give the issue a second thought.
How Bad is Raw Chicken?
Scientific researches haven’t found much evidence about the raw chicken being safe for cats. Oppositely, the studies found that consuming raw chicken can increase the health risks for cats.
Studies found raw chicken meat causes bacterial infections by giving several cats raw chicken on a regular basis. Many cats died due to salmonella bacteria.
USDA has done a recent study with 3.8% of young chicken samples. Most of those young chicken meats were contaminated by salmonella. Although recently, it seems that the dangerous bacteria in raw meat is decreasing, the risk is still there.
Which Raw Meat is Safe for Cats to Consume?
Even though raw meat increases the risk of infections and health issues for cats, some raw meats are still safe for your feline. Fresh and salmonella-free meats are safe for cats.
However, the disagreement also persists regarding whether bones are good for them or not. Some prefer feeding their feline smaller bones as smaller ones are safer than larger ones.
The kind of chicken we get from grocery stores is intended for cooking. They are not suitable for cats to eat in the raw form. There are raw meats specifically for cats to consume in raw form. These chickens are preserved for freshness. They don’t contain salmonella.
Always look for fresh and organic chicken if you must have to feed your cat raw meat. You must feed the feline fresh chicken meat. Also, make sure the chicken is handled carefully and minimally. Cats don’t usually eat raw chicken if it’s not fresh. You cannot leave the raw chicken for cats for too long.
If frozen cat food is something your cat likes the most, you can try giving the feline frozen raw chicken meat, which is specifically frozen to prevent bacterial infection.
How to Eliminate Risks of Raw Chicken – Safe Handling Procedures
There are ways to reduce the risk associated with raw chicken meat –
- Get meat as fresh as possible. You should contact a reputable source if you want to feed raw meat to your cat regularly. Rinse the uppermost layer of the meat to remove bacteria.
- Say NO to super-shop ground meat. It might be sitting for days or weeks, and the bacteria is growing inside of it.
- Wear gloves while handling raw meat.
- If you prefer to grind on your own, be sure to freeze the meat immediately after the process. Feed the refrigerate portions to your feline.
- Clean all utensils such as equipment and bowl immediately after feeding. You can use a water sterilizing solution and cat-safe vinegar on the surface.
- The eating area shouldn’t have any carpeting and upholstery to make it easier to clean.
- Don’t feed raw meat that has been sitting for hours.
- Don’t keep frozen meat at room temperature.
- Submerge the raw cat food in a bowl of warm water.
- Use metal or glass plates to serve raw food. If you use paper plates, throw them away after use.
Raw chicken is an enriched source of protein for cats, and there is no risk factor for your cat as long as you feed it fresh raw meat while adhering to precautions that I have mentioned above.
Which Part of the Raw Chicken is Safe to Eat for Cats?
If you are able to manage fresh, organic, and harmful bacteria-free raw chicken for cats, here is where you should focus while feeding your furball.
· Lean Muscle Meat
This is where most proteins come from. Your feline needs protein the most. The lean muscle meat of a chicken is enriched with amino acids, taurine, pure animal protein, and essential minerals. Your cat’s organism craves for such raw meat. It’s the primary source of nutrition for cats.
· Finely Ground Bones
The general rule of thumb is not to feed raw bones to cats. However, allowing your feline for a little amount will do fine. Make sure the cat only eats small and breakable bones; don’t let it eat stronger and larger ones.
If you want to feed bones to your cat, make sure you grind the bones until they are dust-like consistency. Chicken bones are packed with essential calcium and pose no threat as long as they are not solid pieces.
Don’t feed bones if your cat has issues with indigestion, gas, vomiting, etc. Any cat having a constipation issue should not be given bones to eat as well.
There is no restriction of feeding chicken neck to cats. It’s a good source of vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. But be sure to watch her when she is eating bones. If she’s having any trouble, don’t allow her to eat this.
Chicken liver provides cats essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and many more. There is nothing wrong if you feed chicken organs to your cat. However, don’t feed the cat in large quantities, or it will cause diarrhea.
Wild cats eat giblets of raw chicken. These organs are packed with healthy fats, moisture, and various textures. They all provide health benefits and are safe to consume as long as you get it from a healthy chicken.
Why Do Some People Prefer Giving Raw Chicken to Their Cats?
There are some reasons as to why people think raw meat might be safe for cats. As commercial cat foods contain lots of unfamiliar ingredients that include indigestible carbohydrates, giving them raw food is an effective way to avoid those diets. It helps the owners to control what their feline is eating.
People can still improve the quality and micronutrients of the raw meat diet for cats. For example, someone who owns a chicken farm can avoid feeding harmful things to his chickens. As a result, the chicken meat is free of salmonella and food poisoning and can be fed to cats without concerning about any health issue.
That’s the reason why some consider feeding their feline raw meat as the best way to avoid preservatives and unnecessary grains that cats don’t even need.
According to various pet owners, veterinarians, and breeders, raw chicken is a part of a natural and healthy diet for cats. Besides, cats have been consuming raw chicken for millennia in the wild, which is something that we cannot deny.
Feeding Raw Chicken to Kittens
If you are assured that the raw chicken meat is fresh and free of salmonella, there is nothing wrong with feeding the kittens as well.
But, of course, kittens cannot eat like adult cats. Therefore, you need to feed raw chicken in smaller deboned chunks. You can gradually increase the size of pieces and bones as they grow up.
Kittens need more calories, protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals than adult cats. And raw diets are not good when it comes to providing the right amount of nutrients to kittens. So, if you see your kittens aren’t getting proper nutrients, you should avoid feeding them raw kitten food.
Be sure to consult with the vet regarding this matter for proper guidelines.
Health Benefits of Raw Chicken for Cats
As cats are carnivores, their demand for protein is high. Raw chicken contains a high level of protein, which serves the demand quite well. Due to a low amount of carbohydrates, raw chicken is less likely to cause any digestive issue and fatty weight gain for your furball.
Raw chicken brings tremendous benefits for cats’ oral health. Chicken necks, wings, and drumsticks keep cats’ teeth healthy. Bones are great for improving and maintaining a healthy gum condition. But, be sure to crush the bones or make dust-like consistency before you serve it to your cat.
Besides, raw chicken meat is an ideal source of hydration. It’s the best raw cat food alternative to most raw commercial cat food. Moist cat food and raw chicken provide quite similar hydration value. In fact, raw chicken meat contains much higher water content than most dry cat food.
Cat owners feel bothered by the regular appetite of their cats. The craving for food in cats is very high. As the raw chicken is filling, it can be the source of relief in this regard. Just a small amount of raw chicken will be able to keep your feline full for hours. You will find that the cat feels noticeably less interested in snack treats.
If your cat prefers consuming less nutritious snack treats over regular meals, the raw chicken introduction can help you to trigger the habit. Serving raw meat for dinner can be a great option for weight control.
What to Do If a Cat Accidentally Eats Raw Chicken?
You probably here because your cat accidentally ate raw chicken. When I say the word “accidentally,” it means that the chicken wasn’t suitable for your cat to eat. Otherwise, it would be a normal thing if your cat eats fresh and salmonella-free chicken.
If the cat accidentally ate or licked raw chicken, there is no reason for you to panic. Carefully observe your cat and look for signs of sickness such as fever, diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
In case you see any of these signs, contact your vet as soon as possible. Salmonellosis is a fatal infection, and it can be passed onto humans. Therefore, prompting the treatment is very crucial here.
How to Prevent Cats from Eating Raw Chicken?
The typical type of chicken that we get from the grocery stores isn’t appropriate for cats to eat. In most cases, the chicken contains bacteria, which are harmful to cats.
If your cat is a sneaky type of pet, you have to watch it when you bring raw chicken at home. When you are preparing raw chicken, make sure the cat isn’t nearby. It’s the only way to prevent your cunning cat from running off with raw meat.
Commercial Raw Cat Food and Raw Chicken – Are They Both the Same?
Here most cat owners get confused and make a mistake. Commercial raw cat foods and raw chicken aren’t the same. They contain different nutritional properties and food value.
Commercial raw foods are specially made with high-pressure pasteurization processing and flash-freezing process that kills almost all the harmful bacteria within the raw diet.
So, if you are already feeding raw cat food to your cat, don’t panic by knowing the health risks related to raw chicken. Keep on feeding commercial diets if there is no issue with the cat.
But, be cautious about feeding raw food, including raw chicken and raw beef for cats that haven’t been passed through bacterium elimination procedures.
Feeding Advice Regarding Healthy Raw Chicken
Fresh, healthy, and bacteria-free raw chicken meat should be given in moderation. Even though wild cats mainly depend on raw meat, your home-grown cat is used to commercial diets, and there will be consequences if you start feeding it raw meat in large quantities.
Your feline eats too much raw meat; it will cause constipation. Besides, you always have the option of cooking chicken.
It kills harmful bacteria and improves taste for your furball. Don’t add salt, flavoring additives, spices while you cook raw meat for cats. A plain and bland chicken will be more satisfying for the feline.
To ensure your cat is getting proper nutrients, you can add tiny pieces of cooked meat to canned foods.
So, what do you think of the query “can cats eat raw chicken” now?
You can feed your cat raw chicken only if the chicken is fresh, organic, healthy, and bacteria-free. The handling procedure also affects the acceptability of raw meat. Don’t feed raw meat too much; make sure the consumption is in a moderate amount.
But, if your cat accidentally ate regular raw chicken, which wasn’t made for him, look for signs of sickness. If you notice any, seek veterinarian help as soon as possible.