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Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken?

Renee Whitmore
Last Updated on
by Renee Whitmore

A cat’s ability to consume raw chicken gets heavily debated. Some people swear by feeding cats a raw diet, while others believe that it’s a harmful practice. However, the answer is not so simple. Overall, a cat can consume raw chicken, but it has to be raw chicken served in a safe manner.

Feeding your cat contaminated raw chicken can lead to food poisoning. Therefore, there are several things you need to know before you decide to try feeding your cat raw chicken.

Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken?

Can cats Eat Raw Chicken
Can cats Eat Raw Chicken?

Raw meat can contain Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens. All these bacteria can lead to food poisoning in humans, and they can also make cats sick.

Cats in the wild, such as lions, tigers, and panthers, have the ability to consume raw meat without getting sick. Domestic cats don’t have the same immunity as these wild cats. However, they also don’t get as sick as humans do with certain bacterial infections.

Therefore, cats can get sick consuming contaminated raw chicken just like humans, but it just might not happen as often.

What to Do if Your Cat Ate Raw Chicken

Cats don’t typically eat raw chicken that doesn’t smell fresh. However, if your cat ingest raw chicken by accident, make sure to monitor its behavior and look for symptoms. Contaminated raw chicken may cause the following symptoms for your cat:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drinking
  • Lethargy
  • Salivating

If your cat starts to display these symptoms, contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may ask you how much raw chicken your cat consumed and at what time. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you may have to take your cat to your veterinarian for an emergency visit.

Your veterinarian may prescribe your cat anti-nausea medication and other medications that help treat diarrhea. You may also have to place your cat on a bland diet until the symptoms subside.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken Breast From the Grocery Store?

There are only a few instances where cats can eat raw chicken.

First, the safest option for cats to eat raw food is to purchase commercially made raw food diets. Many of these recipes are either flash-frozen or have undergone high-pressure pasteurization to kill off harmful bacteria.

However, cat owners can also feed their cats homemade raw food diets, but these recipes are a little riskier because there isn’t a step to eliminate harmful bacteria.

If you want to feed your cat raw chicken breast from the grocery store, the first thing you have to do is ensure that you purchase fresh and organic chicken. You also always have to monitor the chicken and prevent it from reaching room temperature.

Once you prepare your cat’s meal, make sure that your cat eats it immediately. Raw chicken can only be left out until it reaches room temperature. Once it stays at room temperature for a couple of minutes, it’s unsafe for your cat to eat. Therefore, raw chicken can’t be left out for cats that like to graze.

How Much Raw Chicken Can a Cat Eat?

The general recommended amount of raw chicken that your cat can consume is between 2% to 4% of its ideal body weight per day. For example, if your cat’s ideal body weight is 10 pounds, it should eat anywhere from ⅕  to ⅖ pounds of raw chicken a day.

Keep in mind that this is just an estimate. The best way to find out how much raw chicken you should give your cat is to consult your veterinarian.

Is Raw Chicken Good for Cats?

Yes, raw chicken is suitable for cats if it gets served properly. Some of the benefits of raw food diets are that you know exactly what you’re feeding your cat and that your cat isn’t ingesting any preservatives. These benefits make many cat owners interested in starting their cats on a raw food diet.

However, when you compare raw chicken to cooked chicken, it all comes down to your cat’s taste preferences. Some cats will prefer raw chicken, while others enjoy eating cooked chicken more. There isn’t too much of a nutritional difference as long as the chicken gets prepared correctly.

As we mentioned before, raw chicken has to be as fresh as possible in order to avoid giving your cat contaminated food. When it comes to cooked food, make sure that the food company slow-cooks the chicken for an appropriate amount of time. Overcooking the chicken can cause it to lose nutritional value.

What Raw Food Can My Cat Eat?

Cats can eat other raw natural meat products, such as raw ground turkey and raw beef. They can also eat organ meat, like chicken liver or hearts. It’s also safe to occasionally give your cats raw chicken bones. However, avoid giving them too many bones because this can lead to constipation.

Therefore, if you want to give your cat bones, only serve them about once or twice a week. Also, make sure that the bone is large enough so that your cat can’t swallow it whole.

Cats can’t eat knucklebones or large bones with a dense exterior. These types of bones can damage your cat’s teeth. Instead, stick with giving your cat smaller bones, such as chicken bones (wings), drumsticks.

Can I Warm Up Raw Cat Food?

Once raw cat food has been left out and reaches room temperature, it’s no longer safe to eat at all. It doesn’t matter if you cook the chicken. By the time the chicken has been left out, the bacteria can multiply to the point where cooking the meat doesn’t decontaminate it. Therefore, make sure that you only leave the appropriate amount of raw chicken out for your cat.

If your cat likes to take its time eating its food or prefers to graze, only leave out small amounts of raw chicken or give it as treats instead. You can also try reducing the portions and feeding your cat more frequently throughout the day.

Wrap Up

Cats can eat raw chicken, but it has to get prepared correctly. The most important thing to watch out for is freshness and temperature. You can give your cat a homemade raw chicken meal, but the safest way to serve raw food is to find a reputable cat food company specializing in raw meals.

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About Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore is an American college professor and freelance writer from North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Education. When she is not driving her teenage son to wrestling practice or learning the ins and outs of Fortnite from her younger son, she is working on her first book to be published soon.
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