Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken? (What Are the Risks?)

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends keeping your four-legged pet away from raw chicken. However, most cats prefer munching a meow mix rather than raw chicken or meat. Also, it won’t nibble on breathing or live animals like mice, spiders, or bugs because it is used to eat processed and cooked foods.

Feeding raw chicken could upset the cat’s digestive system, especially if it’s not fresh. Raw chicken contains parasites and bacteria that cause salmonella (a disease spread through contaminated meat). Cats might also ingest small chicken bones that get stuck in the tract and cause problems.  

cat eat chicken

Besides this, wild cats begin hunting for their prey at dawn. However, your domestic (not-so-wild) cat isn’t adapted to consuming raw chicken. So, the question arises if raw chicken increases the risk of food poisoning in humans; it could also harm cats, right? Your little furry cat’s ancestors hunted and ate raw food to fulfill their hunger. But domestic cats don’t have the same process as those wild cats since their intestinal tract cannot fight parasites and bacteria in uncooked chicken.

So, isn’t it better to provide your feline with cat treats? Cutting raw chicken from its diet shouldn’t be the ultimate option. Instead, check what’s suitable for your cat. Or what additions in the raw chicken make it healthier?

Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken?

Cats are wild predatory animals capable of catching their food. You might have seen them hunting for prey like birds or mice. Thus, fresh, and salmonella-free raw chicken’s safe to eat. This natural diet has high protein content, moderate fat, and less carbohydrates. When a cat catches its prey, they eat everything, including organs and bones. A cat’s digestive tract secretes acidic juices and digests food within 12 hours. No time for bacteria to grow, and ultimately, no food poisoning.

One risk is that your cat eating raw chicken without getting used to it upsets their stomach. Such risks aren’t just associated with raw meat; feeding anything in large portions could harm the cat. Therefore, introduce small portions when feeding new food items to monitor your cat’s condition. Hence, if you notice any change in their wellness after they’ve eaten, immediately take them for a check-up. Symptoms might include gastrointestinal discomforts such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, or bloating.

In addition, confirmed incidents reveal that the salmonella outbreak isn’t just a major cat issue but a public health risk worldwide. Relevant authorities suggest staying updated with the latest news before giving raw treats like chicken to your cats.  

cat eats

Feeding raw chicken to cats might seem like a natural and healthy choice, given their carnivorous nature. However, several risks associated with this practice can significantly impact a cat’s health. Maintaining hygiene on the farm or slaughtering process is one way to stop contamination. As pathogenic bacteria slip into the human food chain, resulting in frequent human illness. In contrast, 1 in 25 chicken packs is affected by disease-causing bacteria.

Salmonellosis and Listeriosis

Salmonellosis: Salmonella, a bacterium found in raw chicken, can cause salmonellosis in cats. This condition can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and in severe cases, can result in dehydration, shock, and even death. Cats can also become asymptomatic carriers of Salmonella, posing a risk to other pets and humans in the household.

Listeriosis: Listeria monocytogenes, another pathogen present in raw chicken, can lead to listeriosis in cats. Though less common than salmonellosis, listeriosis can be particularly dangerous, causing symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, and in severe cases, neurological issues such as ataxia and seizures.

Nutritional Deficiency

Raw chicken, while high in protein, does not provide a balanced diet for cats when fed exclusively. Cats require a variety of nutrients in specific proportions, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids like taurine, which is essential for heart health and eyesight. Feeding a diet consisting solely of raw chicken can lead to deficiencies in these critical nutrients, affecting the cat’s overall health and well-being.

Hindrance in Vitamins Absorption

In addition to causing nutritional deficiencies, feeding raw chicken to cats can also hinder the absorption of certain vitamins. For instance, raw egg whites, often included in raw diets, contain avidin, a protein that binds to biotin (vitamin B7), making it unavailable to the cat.

Biotin is essential for healthy skin and fur, and its deficiency can lead to dermatological issues and poor coat quality. Furthermore, an excess of certain raw proteins can interfere with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals, leading to imbalances and health issues.

Bone Pieces

Small pieces in raw chicken or cooked bones block the digestive system. If your cats swallow, it splinters and causes internal damage. So consult the vet before feeding raw chicken, any type of meat, or its determinants.

can cats eat raw chicken?

How to Feed Raw Chicken to Cats?

If you want your cat to eat a raw diet, purchase an AAFCO-formulated food pack containing raw chicken. As cats require nutritional food to overcome deficiencies, this formulated food is a better option. Making raw food yourself increases the risk of bacterial contamination for your family.

Treats shouldn’t be more than 10 percent of the regular calories when feeding. Otherwise, you’ll have to reduce the dinner portion if you give extra calories. If you choose to feed your cat raw chicken, it’s essential to follow these safety guidelines:

  1. Source High-Quality Chicken: Opt for fresh, human-grade chicken from reputable sources to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.
  2. Practice Safe Handling: Always wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after handling raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Consider Partial Cooking: Lightly cooking the surface of the chicken (searing) can kill surface bacteria without cooking the meat thoroughly.
  4. Provide a Balanced Diet: Ensure that raw chicken is only a part of your cat’s diet. Supplement with commercially prepared cat foods that are formulated to provide a complete and balanced diet.

Do Commercial Pet Food Contains Raw Chicken?

Yes, commercial food contains raw chicken since it makes the diet nutritious. Chicken muscle meat, organs, and grounded bones are the common ingredients that provide protein, calcium, and minerals, including phosphorus and magnesium. So, it’s better to check the commercial foods ingredients and labels for allergic warnings or company contact.

Final Words

Feeding raw chicken to cats can be safe if done correctly, but it’s not without its risks. By understanding these risks and following strict hygiene and preparation guidelines, you can make informed decisions about including raw chicken in your cat’s diet.

Always consult with a veterinarian before making significant changes to your cat’s diet, especially if considering a raw food regimen. Additionally, exploring commercial pet food options that include raw chicken might provide a safer and more balanced alternative for your feline friend.

About the author

Sarah Andrews

Hi I'm Sarah, dog lover and blogger. I was born into a dog-loving family and have been a proud doggy mommy ever since I can remember. I love sharing my dog knowledge and love being an active part of the dog-loving community.