Have you ever been in a situation before when you don’t have any food to feed your cat? You go to the fridge and there’s no yogurt to feed her. But you have chicken as the only food you can give. But would she like it? Moreover, can cats eat raw chicken?
Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken? Yes, cats can eat raw chicken
After all, they are carnivores meaning they can eat raw meat.
Remember that in the wild, cats would feed on animals like birds and small rodents. Aside from the meat of these animals, cats can eat the bones and organs of their prey.
The digestive tract of cats is also capable of digesting raw meat. It helps that it is short and acidic, as it allows cats to digest raw meat in around 12 hours.
Theoretically speaking, there’s very little time for bacteria from raw chicken to thrive in a cat’s digestive system and cause food poisoning.
Here’s a YouTube video of a cat eating whole raw chicken. You will be surprised of what was left of the chicken at the end of the video.
Cat Health Benefits of Eating Raw Chicken
Are there any benefits of eating raw chicken for meat? Raw chicken isn’t as bad as say, corn, as a feed for cats. But it also isn’t the best source of protein for our feline friends.
Raw chicken is rich in animal protein, which has the amino acids our pets need for optimal health. It is also low in carbohydrates unlike plant-based food sources, which means that raw chicken won’t likely cause digestive problems and even weight gain.
Raw bones of chicken can also do wonders for your cat’s oral health. In particular, fresh chicken necks, wings, and drumsticks can keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy.
Feeding your cat with raw chicken can also contribute to improved hydration for your pet. Raw chicken has higher fluid content than dry food, which contains just 10% water.
Of course, giving raw chicken to your cat should make her full for the time being.
Risks of Cats Eating Raw Meat
While it would satisfy her hunger, this doesn’t mean that raw meat is good enough to be integrated as part of your pet’s daily diet.
Raw chicken, for one, doesn’t have the key nutrients vital for feline health. For one, it lacks taurine, an amino acid. If cats don’t get enough taurine from their diet, they are prone to various health problems like hair loss, and reproductive problems.
Perhaps a more compelling reason why you would think twice giving raw chicken to your cat is the risk of food poisoning.
While it was mentioned earlier that cats have a shorter gastrointestinal tract that makes their digestive system more likely to resist food poisoning, this doesn’t make them 100% proof against common pathogens such as salmonella.
Raw chicken contaminated with salmonella can cause a kind of infection in cats called salmonellosis.
Some of the symptoms of this infection include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. A cat infected with salmonellosis may also be lethargic, or exhibit rapid weight loss. It can also be characterized by skin disease and mucus in stool.
Old and young cats are particularly at risk of salmonellosis because of their poor and underdeveloped immune systems, respectively. Pets with weak gastrointestinal tracts are similarly at risk of the said infection.
Another disease that cats may get when they eat raw chicken, or any raw meat for that matter, is Listeria. This infection is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It is found in animals like poultry and cattle, as well as soil and water.
Symptoms of Listeria include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and lethargy. If left untreated, this infection can lead to the death of a cat.
Tips in Feeding Chicken to Cats
If you are worried about the risks of salmonellosis or Listeria, then you can cook the chicken first before giving it to your pet.
Cooking the poultry not only kills bacteria that can potentially cause health problems, but also make the chicken tasty enough for your cat.
If you insist on giving raw chicken to your cat, make sure that you don’t give her too many raw bones unless you want her to get constipated.
You can also make raw chicken a treat for your cat. Give her small portions of the raw meat. And don’t feed her with meat too frequently.
Cats may be finicky when it comes to their food, but they won’t say no to raw chicken. If you don’t have anything to feed your feline friend, giving raw chicken should not be a bad idea.
However, due to the risks of salmonella and Listeria infection, it may be better if you cook the chicken first before giving it to your cat.