Can You Give Cats Raw Chicken? A Comprehensive Guide

Recently, pet owners have been more interested in “BARF” (biologically suited raw food) or “PMR” (Prey Model Raw) diets. However, Whether or not cats should eat raw chicken remains a controversial issue among pet owners. While some are in favor of it because they consider it natural and healthy for cats, others object due to its potential health hazard. Thus, can you give cat’s raw chicken? In this article, we will focus on the pros and cons of feeding your cat raw chicken so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your furry companion.

Can You Give Cats Raw Chicken? A Comprehensive Guide

The Basics of Feline Nutrition

Before we discuss whether cats can eat raw chicken, let’s first understand their dietary requirements. As obligate carnivores, cats eat animal protein for their energy. In the wild, cats eat rodents, birds, and insects. Domesticated cats can survive on high-quality animal protein. However, they also need other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to thrive. Taurine, an amino acid that facilitates vision and cardiac functionality is one such example, which is in animal proteins. Animal fats also provide energy that aids in nutrient absorption. For this reason, any meal that contains raw chicken should primarily consist of high-quality animal proteins that meet the nutritional requirements of the cat.

Nutritional Benefits of Raw Chicken for Cats

Raw chicken is a great addition to a cat’s meal because it has high levels of protein and natural nutrients from uncooked meat. Below are some main nutritional benefits of including raw chicken into your cat’s menu:

High-quality Protein Source

High-quality protein is why cats love raw chicken most. It contains all the essential amino acids needed by muscles and bones to be healthy and strong. Since heat denatures some amino acids, cooked chicken contains less protein than raw one does hence it is better if served raw to the cat because it will benefit more from it rather than cooking the same for human consumption only hence our feline friends’ condition would improve health-wise.

Natural Nutrients and Enzymes

As a result, raw chicken contains amino acids such as taurine that are vital to cats. Vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus; selenium are other vital nutrients present in raw chicken meat. In addition, it retains the natural enzymes which assist digestion as well as nutrient absorption thus improved gut health may be realized.

Potential Benefits of Raw Chicken

In case your cat has some specific dietary preferences or health issues, commercial pet food may not provide the same benefits that come with feeding her/him on raw chicken. There are several potential advantages including;

  • Improved Digestion: Natural enzymes that exist in uncooked chicken make it suitable for improving guts health through enhancing digestibility.
  • Increased Hydration: Cats have low thirst drives hence by adding moisture to their meals it will increase the amount of water they take.
  • Reduced Allergies: Commercial cat food processing may cause allergies among some cats. However switching to a diet based on raw chickens might help alleviate these allergies.
  • Dental Health: Cats’ teeth can be kept clean and strong by having them chew on bones made from uncooked chicken meat only. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the bones are appropriate for cats and not too small or sharp.
  • Weight Management: Feeding raw chicken to your cat additionally aids in weight control. Raw chicken could be very helpful to overweight or obese cats who need to lose some weight for better overall health.

For those seeking guidance on nourishing their ailing feline friends with nutritious homemade meals, “homemade food for a sick cat” offers invaluable insights and recipes specifically tailored to support their recovery.

Risks Associated with Feeding Cats Raw Chicken

Although there are some nutritional upsides to giving cats raw chickens, it is important to think about possible dangers so as not to hurt our kittens. Other concerns include bacterial infection, parasites and malnutrition.

Bacterial Contamination

Remember that raw chicken may contain hazardous bacteria like Salmonella spp., E.coli, Campylobacter jejuni amongst others that can result into food poisoning in both cats and humans. Cooking meat helps people prevent these infections this does not apply to cats given the case of raw chicken.


Raw meats might also harbor parasites such as Toxocara cati or Toxoplasma gondii that can be harmful to your cat. These parasites are killed in the process of cooking the chicken, hence never feed your cat with raw meat to avoid getting sick. Even though healthy cats may not show symptoms, this technique is risky, especially for kittens, seniors and immunosuppressed individuals.

Nutritional Imbalances

Raw chicken alone can imbalance a cat’s nutritional needs by stripping it of vital vitamins and minerals. A well-rounded personalized feeding plan that meets her nutrition needs should be designed since raw chicken has no required nutrients for your pet.

Choking Hazard

As previously, mentioned, raw chicken bones might be good for a cat’s dental health. Nonetheless, some of these bones can even pose choking hazards or cause internal injuries in some cases where they are too sharp and tiny. It’s crucial to offer appropriate-sized and deboned chicken pieces to prevent these potential risks.

Considerations for Feeding Raw Chicken Safely

Feeding raw chicken to cats can be beneficial, but it requires careful consideration to ensure safety and nutritional adequacy. Below are key aspects that cat owners should take into account:

Quality of the Meat

Sourcing high-quality, fresh chicken is crucial. You should always buy chicken from reputable sources that raise and process their poultry following strict health and safety standards. Experts often recommend organic or free-range chicken because it is less likely to contain antibiotics and hormones, which can harm cats over time.

Food Safety Practices

Proper handling, storage, and preparation of raw chicken are vital in reducing bacterial and parasitic infection risk among others. These include thoroughly washing hands before touching anything else after contact with raw chicken. Always use different utensils and surfaces when preparing cat food. Additionally, refrigerating the meat at the correct temperatures is also important to prevent bacteria growth and other harmful germs. Additionally, cats should be fed with raw chicken soon after preparing to avoid contamination.

Gradual introduction

Introducing raw chickens into your cat’s food has to be done gradually. This is because a sudden change in a cat’s diet is not friendly to its digestive system; thus, starts with little portions of the uncooked chicken added to the normal menu and then increases with time.

Monitoring for adverse reactions:

After introducing raw chicken into your cat’s diet do not just stay but observe to ensure that it is okay with her. You need to watch your cat closely and if she suddenly becomes sick or displays symptoms such as loose stool, vomiting, or loss of appetite go immediately to your doctor.

Veterinary Guidance

Before putting raw chicken into a cat’s diet, one should consult with the vet. The professional can determine if raw chicken suits specific health requirements and dietary needs for your pet or not.  They can also help you in determine what amount is right and how often you feed raw meat to your pet to maintain a balanced diet for their health.

Comparing Raw vs. Commercial Cat Food

When deciding between raw chicken diets and commercial cat food, weigh the pros and cons. Consider factors like cost, convenience, and safety to make informed feeding choices for your feline friend.

Nutritional Value

Commercial cat food undergoes rigorous quality control measures to ensure optimal nutrition for our feline friends. These foods, created by pet nutritionists, provide a balanced and comprehensive diet for cats of all ages. However, raw feeding cats meat, bones, and organs is controversial. While some pet owners believe in the benefits of raw diets such as improved coat health and digestion, scientific evidence supporting these claims remains limited. Moreover, the nutritional content of raw diets can vary significantly based on the ingredients used, potentially posing risks if not properly balanced.

Convenience vs. Health Benefits

The convenience of commercial cat food cannot be overstated, offering a wide variety of flavors and formulations to cater to every feline’s palate. Moreover, its extended shelf life ensures pet owners can stock up without worry. On the other hand, while raw feeding may provide potential health advantages, it demands strict adherence to food safety protocols, such as proper handling and storage, to prevent contamination risks. This approach also fosters a deeper connection between pet owners and their beloved companions, as it involves a more hands-on and personalized method of caring for their well-being.

How to Prepare Raw Chicken for Your Cat

Here are some steps to take when you want to add raw chicken to your pet’s diet:

  1. Choose excellent quality fresh chicken, removing all excess skin and fat from it.
  2. Cut up the chicken into small bite-sized pieces then freeze them like this for easy meals.
  3. Wash very well all surfaces, utensils and hands using soap and hot water both before and after touching raw chickens.
  4. Do not leave cats alone while they feed, so that it does not choke on bones or have other adverse reactions towards its meal.
  5. After your cat has finished eating, throw away any uneaten bits of raw chicken immediately before washing its feeding bowl with hot water and soap.

Portion Sizes and Frequency of Feeding

  • Portion Sizes: The amount of chicken you choose depends on how big your cat is as well as its age and how active it happens to be at any given time. A general rule of thumb would suggest that adult cats should eat around 2-3% of their body weight in raw food daily, divided into two meals. This percentage can vary, so it’s important to keep track of your pet’s weight and make adjustments as needed.
  • Frequency: People often give their pets raw chicken once or twice per day; however, specific requirements may differ depending on the cat’s dietary preferences. Kittens and young cats may need more frequent meals because they are often more energetic.
  • Balanced Diet: Do not forget that feeding cats with only raw chicken could lead to an imbalance in nutrients. Consult a vet for additional food sources or supplements if you want a complete diet.

Alternatives to Raw Chicken for Cats

There are several nutritious alternatives other than feeding your cat with raw chicken that support its health and wellbeing.

Commercial Cat Foods

There are high-quality commercial cat foods which provide complete diets upon purchase. These foods contain all nutrients such as vitamins, proteins minerals, fat etc., which are needed by the body of a feline animal. When buying commercial cat foods look for ingredients listing real meat first that is free from artificial colors, fillers or preservatives.

Commercial Raw Cat Food

For those who want their pets to eat raw but are concerned about their safety and nutrition, commercial raw cat food diets can be a good choice. These products may be designed specifically for cats’ dietary requirements and go through processes that will ensure no harmful microorganisms before being sold. Available in both frozen or freeze-dried versions, these commercial raw diets offer the advantages of feeding rationally with the convenience of preserved food.

Cooked Chicken

Cooked poultry meat that does not contain spices oils or seasoning that can harm cats could be a good substitution for fresh ones. When fully cooked, it eliminates chances of bacterial or parasitic infections; thus becomes a safer option. On the other hand, it is important to remember that cooked bones should be kept away from cats because they might splinter and cause internal harm.


Pet owners are feeding cats raw chicken, which may help their health. When feeding cats this food, adequate handling, preparation, and monitoring are essential. Before making any major food changes for their cats, pet owners should visit a veterinarian and weigh the dangers and benefits of feeding raw chicken. High-quality commercial cat food and cooked chicken can also provide balanced nutrition and be safe for cats. Feeding your cat raw chicken requires careful consideration and veterinarian advice. Pet owners can give their cats the nutritional benefits of raw food while limiting dangers by following best practices and stressing safety. Thus, staying informed and seeing a vet for advice on giving your cat a balanced diet is crucial.

Helpful Resources

Pet owners considering switching their cats to a raw chicken diet or wanting additional information can find many resources:

  • “American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA): Offers guidelines and policies regarding raw pet food diets, focusing on nutritional balance and safety protocols”.
  • “Pet Nutrition Alliance (PNA): Provides a variety of tools and resources to help evaluate the nutritional value of pet foods, including those for raw diets.”
  • Books: Such as “The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care” offer insights into raw feeding and holistic pet care.”
  • “Veterinary Nutritionists: Consulting with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist can offer personalized advice tailored to your cat’s specific health requirements and dietary needs.”

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