can cat have raw chicken

Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken? Exploring the Pros and Cons

The diet you provide for your beloved cat has a significant impact on their health and happiness. As caring cat parents, we want to make sure we’re feeding our furry family members safe and nutritious foods. A common question that often comes up is: Can cats eat raw chicken? Here, we will explore this topic thoroughly by looking at both the benefits and potential downsides of feeding raw chicken to cats.

Can Cats Have Raw Chicken?

Cats were born carnivores. Their bodies utilize nutrients from animal tissue, marrow and organs perfectly. In the wild, cats hunt and consume fresh prey that naturally balances their nutritional needs. 

Even though our indoor feline friends may not roam the great outdoors, they still possess a strong hunting instinct. This instinct is deeply rooted in their ancestry and contributes to their overall well-being. 

So, technically, cats can certainly eat raw chicken! Their bodies recognize that meat as ideal food, rich in what they require. Yet for safety, only serve fresh, premium chicken handled with care to limit bacteria growth that can cause issues.

Below we will explore the pros and cons of feeding raw chicken to cats thoroughly.

Potential Benefits of Feeding Raw Chicken to Cats

Extra moisture

Water is essential for a cat’s survival. Raw chicken is full of moisture, which helps keep your cat hydrated. Staying hydrated is important for so many processes in a cat’s body like digestion, kidney function and temperature regulation. Giving raw chicken together with your cat’s regular food can make sure they get enough fluids.

Related article: How Much Water Should Your Cat Drink Every Day?

Natural enzymes and nutrients

Raw chicken comes packed with good stuff for cats like digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals. These natural ingredients help your cat absorb nutrients and keep their digestive system running smoothly. Some raw feeding enthusiasts also say it strengthens the immune system and gives your cat nicer skin and coat.

Clean teeth

Chewy raw chicken can help scrub your cat’s teeth while they eat. The chewing action removes plaque and tartar buildup, lowering the risk of dental problems like gum disease.

Potential Risks of Raw Chicken


Raw chicken contains bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that pose health hazards for cats and humans alike. As tempting as it may be to share some uncooked chicken treats with your favorite feline, bacteria can spread rapidly if proper precautions aren’t taken.


Raw chicken can harbor parasites like worms and Toxoplasma that cause health problems in cats – things like digestive issues and a weakened immune system. Make sure the chicken you feed is from a reliable source and properly stored/handled.

Unbalanced diet

A diet only consisting of raw chicken could lack some important nutrients your cat needs. Cats require the right mix of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals to stay healthy. Vary your cat’s diet with other foods or check with your vet to ensure your cat gets everything they need.

The key is to take precautions by cleaning the raw chicken well and maintaining a balanced diet for your cat. 

cat eatting raw chicken

Safe Preparing Raw Chicken for Cats

Many precautions are needed when handling raw chicken to avoid health risks for your pet and yourself.  

Source Chicken Carefully

Source your raw chicken from reputable suppliers selling organic, hormone-free chicken meant for human consumption. High-quality chicken will have less risk of bacteria that could make your cat sick.

Handle and Store Chicken Safely

When handling raw chicken, follow food safety measures. Store raw chicken on the lowest shelves in the refrigerator to prevent juices dripping on other foods.  

Prepare Chicken Thoroughly   

Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw chicken. Wash all surfaces and utensils used well with hot, soapy water. Ensure the chicken is fresh and refrigerated properly before feeding it to your cat.

Balance the Diet Properly

When giving your cat raw chicken, it’s important that they still get a balanced diet with all the nutrients cat needs from a variety of foods. Raw chicken can absolutely be part of a balanced diet for your feline companion. However, for optimal health, your cat needs more than just chicken.

Seek Veterinary Advice 

Before feeding raw chicken or making any dietary changes for your cat, talk to your vet first. They know your cat’s individual needs based on age, health conditions, and lifestyle. They’ll help you make sure raw chicken fits into a healthy diet for your furry friend.

Cooked Chicken for Cats

If you’re concerned about raw chicken but want your cat to enjoy a chicken treat, boiled chicken is a great alternative. Cooked chicken keeps many of the same nutritional benefits as raw chicken but eliminates the risk of harmful bacteria. 

Simply boil boneless, skinless chicken breast and make sure to remove any seasonings before giving it to your cat.

However, it’s important to note that cooked chicken should not replace a complete and balanced cat food diet. It can be given as a supplement or occasional treat but should not make up the entirety of their meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

In the end, let’s wrap it up by answering some FAQs related to cats and raw chickens:

Can cats get salmonella from raw chicken?

Yes. Raw chicken can expose cats to salmonella poisoning which can cause severe illness. Always handle raw chicken carefully and wash your hands thoroughly after touching it.

Can kittens eat raw chicken?

Consult with your vet first. Young kittens have immature immune systems so raw chicken may pose a higher risk for them. Cooked chicken is likely safer.

Can cats eat chicken gizzards or wings?

In moderation. Make sure to thoroughly cook the chicken parts and avoid any with added seasoning or salt. Unseasoned cooked chicken parts can provide cats with needed protein and nutrients.

Is raw chicken from the grocery store safe for cats?

Potentially but be careful. Grocery store chicken can harbor harmful bacteria. Only feed high-quality, freshly purchased chicken and prepare it properly to reduce contamination risk.

Can cats get sick from eating raw chicken?

It’s possible. Raw or undercooked chicken can expose cats to bacteria that cause salmonella poisoning and other illnesses. Always handle raw chicken properly before feeding it to your cat, or opt for cooked chicken.

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