Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken Or Is It Bad For Them?

When it comes to the controversy surrounding feline nutrition, one of the most controversial topics is whether raw chicken should be given to cats as food.

Nutritionists, veterinarians and cat owners all over the globe can’t seem to reach a consensus. People are either fully on board with the idea of feeding your cat with raw chicken or completely against it.

Truth be told, the feline teeth are made for shredding raw meat. Feline creatures are different from human beings in many ways. Your cat’s entire organism is built around the idea of feeding on raw meat that the cat has found or caught out in the open. Be in chicken, fish, rodent, bird or else – your pet’s body is fully tailored to cope with the raw meal.

As humans, we’ve been taught that eating raw foods such as fruits and vegetables is good for us.  But eating raw meat is unhealthy.   It leads to poisoning, indigestion, various diseases and so forth. However, we are not felines. And just because raw meat is bad for us, it doesn’t mean it’s bad for cats.

Can cats eat raw chicken?

Yes, they can!

Cats can easily tear through the raw, resilient meat, fat and muscle tissue. They can even tear through the bones. Those sharp teeth are the teeth of a carnivore and as such, they can cope with raw chicken meat as long as proper oral health is maintained.

What’s more, the feline digestive system can safely transition to a raw diet even if you’ve been feeding your indoor cat with specialized cat food up until this moment.

So technically, cats can eat raw chicken meat. But is it safe and more nutritious for them? Well, that’s another question.

Is raw chicken safe for cats to eat?

Even though the feline organism can digest raw meat, there are some factors which pose threats:

  • Bacteria. Raw products of all sorts can become a potential playground for different types of bacteria. When it comes to raw chicken, the bacterium grows on the outermost layers. Although it’s indeed harmful, you can wash the bacterium away and safely give the raw meat to your cat. If the meat is fresh and comes from disease-free animals, getting rid of the nasty microorganisms won’t be a problem.
  • Minced meat. Ground or minced meat must be off-limits for cats if you’re buying it from the store. During the grinding process, the bacteria from the outermost layers will sink into every other bit. On top of that, the minces from your local store have probably sat there for days. This means the bacterium has had even more time to sink further into every ounce of the meat. Or in other words – pre-packaged ground chicken mince in its raw form is not safe.
  • Bones. Deboned raw chicken is suitable for a feline’s everyday diet. However, if the meat hasn’t been properly cleaned, your cat might swallow tiny bits of bones. These bits can easily cause internal organ damage and therefore pose a fatal threat.

So now you see why so many people believe feeding raw chicken to your cat is a bad idea. But on the bright side, there are some tips and tricks, which can guarantee your pet’s safety.

Which part of the raw chicken can cats eat?

Here’s what you can focus on if you want to safely feed raw chicken to your precious furball.

Finely ground bones. Carefully grind raw chicken bones until they reach a dust-like consistency. They’re packed with essential calcium and won’t pose any threat as long as there are no solid bone pieces.

Lean muscle meat. This is the most vital part of the chicken that your kitty requires. Rich in taurine and other amino acids, pure animal protein and various minerals, the raw chicken meat from muscles is your most nutritious option. Trust me on this one, your pet’s organism is tailored to thrive on such raw meat – it’s every feline’s natural source of nutrition.

Giblets are also healthy. If your cat was out in the wild, it would be eating raw chicken giblets. The organs are packed with moisture, healthy fats and tons of different textures. Along with providing all of these health benefits, they’re also perfectly safe – if they’re fresh and from a healthy chicken.

Introducing a raw diet to your feline pet can be done safely and has numerous advantages.  You’ll not only give your cat a huge nutritious boost, but you’ll also help recreate its natural, wild-caught diet.

And the best part is that you can safely feed your cat with raw chicken on an all-raw diet basis or only as part of a rotation diet. Just make sure you’re not getting processed pre-packaged mince or “fresh” antibiotic-induced meat.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!