Cats are amazing creatures and when they receive the proper care and nutrition, they can live for many years. These curious and entertaining companions have specific nutritional needs. There are some foods that we as humans consume that they can safely eat, and some that they should not. A commonly asked question is can cats eat chicken? The answer is, that depends. Here are all of the facts about feeding your cat chicken that you need to make the healthiest choices for his diet.
Cats are carnivores
Cats are by nature meat eaters. The protein that meat contains is good for their health and meat contains essential nutrients that they need to maintain good vision, a healthy reproductive system, and a strong heart. Chicken is in the meat category so it’s an excellent source of protein to feed your cat. Having said this, there are certain things to keep in mind before you give your cat chicken from your plate.
What preparation does chicken need to be healthy for cats?
If you’re planning to feed your cat chicken, the best way to prepare it is to either roast, bake or boil the meat. The chicken should be cooked to the same level of doneness that you would eat yourself. If chicken is undercooked it can make your cat sick, the same way that it can affect humans. Harmful bacteria are found in raw chicken so it’s never okay to give your kitty trimmings that have not been cooked. The rule of thumb for feeding your cat chicken is to make sure that it is as wholesome as you would eat yourself. Never give him chicken meat that is spoiled or questionable.
Avoid the fat
While fat contains the most flavor, it’s not healthy in large amounts. Cats do need some fats in their diet but feeding him scraps of chicken fat can contribute to obesity, cardiovascular issues, and other illnesses that are influenced by a high fat diet. Keep the chicken lean for kitty. Excessive amounts of fat in your cat’s diet can lead to the development of pancreatitis.
Is deli chicken okay?
Small amounts of deli chicken meat are okay every now and then, but it’s important to consider other ingredients that it may contain. It really amounts to the spices and and way that it’s prepared. If the deli chicken is loaded with salt, you should refrain from giving him very much because too much salt isn’t good for him. In small amounts, it’s okay, but keep an eye on his sodium intake.
Health benefits of chicken for cats
Chicken is by nature a low fat lean protein when it’s properly trimmed. It’s full of healthy nutrients including phosphorus, vitamin B6, protein, and selenium for boosting the immune system. The protein is useful for building muscle and maintaining a healthy weight. It also helps to build healthy bones and teeth. Other benefits include help in keeping your central nervous system, kidneys, and liver in good working order.
How much chicken can a cat eat?
According to Vet MD, your cat should only be given chicken in small amounts. It’s not intended to be used as a replacement for his regular nutritious meals, but rather, as a treat every now and then. Plain chicken that is boiled and cooked all the way through is the best. Small portions of chicken meat that is as plain as possible is best from a nutritional standpoint. View this as a special treat or way to reward your kitty instead of as a regular part of his diet.
When chicken is bad for your cat
There are some types of chicken that your cat should never eat. If it has been prepared with certain other foods, it can actually become toxic. Any chicken that contains garlic or onions should be off limits to him. These are foods that are toxic for cats. Your cat may seem fine after eating chicken cooked in these foods for a while, but it can lead to severe internal problems that result in potentially fatal outcomes if it becomes a habit. This is one of the reasons why it’s not advised to feed cats scraps or share off your dinner plate with them. If there is any question in your mind about how the chicken has been prepared or about the ingredients used in its making, it’s best to pass and give kitty something else.
Also, cats cannot safely eat chicken bone. There is a high likelihood that the sharp bones could splinter and become a choking hazard. There have been many reports of ats brought to the vet with chicken bones stuck in their throats. This can lead to expensive diagnostic testing, surgical procedures and the potential for serious injury or death. If your cat does swallow bone fragments they can puncture areas of the digestive tract leading to serious health problems, vet bills and even death in some cases. Even if a friend or relative has fed their cats these things for years, it’s simply not worth taking the risk with your beloved pet.
Most cats will readily eat chicken meat if it is offered to them. It is commonly used in healthy and nutritious cat food formulations, but only in limited amounts. It’s a good source of healthy protein when it’s served plain without spices, and taken off the bone. Chicken offers a lot of health benefits for cats if it’s not given too often. It’s a food that is okay once in a while, but it’s not the best protein for a steady diet. So long as the chicken you prepare contains no other ingredients that are toxic to cats or that are loaded with too much fat or sodium, it’s fine to share with him for a special treat.