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Can Cats Drink Bone Broth? Potential Health Benefits (Vet Reviewed)

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

bone broth on a cup

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are finicky eaters, but they seem to have a hard time passing up animal protein. After all, they are obligate carnivores. A cat will even drink milk because it’s high in animal fats, but unfortunately, they happen to be lactose intolerant. So, even though cats like to drink bone broth, is it good for them? Should we be offering bone broth to our feline family members?

The good news is that, yes, cats can drink bone broth. Bone broth is a healthy addition to their diet. Chicken broth and beef broth are often included in your cat’s commercial pet food ingredients. While chicken and beef broth may not be the same as bone broth, seeing such ingredients in a cat’s food is a good indicator that broth of many kinds is good for them.

This article goes over what you should know about giving your cat bone broth.

What Exactly Is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is made by simmering the bones of animals in water to make a rich stock. Sometimes connective tissues are also used. Acid is often added to the mix in the form of ingredients like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Bone broth is much like any other stock, but foods like onions and veggies are usually not included.

Bone broth is rich in vitamins and minerals derived from the bone marrow, so there is no room for other ingredients. Bone broth can be made of various animal bones, including chicken, turkey, fish, beef, and lamb. You can buy pre-made bone broth, but it could contain onions or garlic, which are toxic to cats. Therefore, we recommend that you make your own at home. Here is a basic recipe that you can try out in the comfort of your own kitchen:

  • 4 pounds of animal bones
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 stockpot
  • 1 roasting pan

Start by putting the bones in your stockpot, then add water just until the bones are covered. Bring the pot to a boil, turn the heat down, and let the bones simmer for about 30 minutes. Then, take the bones out of the stockpot and place them on your roasting pan. Bake the bones in your oven at 350 degrees until they caramelize, about 30 minutes.

After the bones cool, put them back in the stockpot, and refill the pot with more water until the bones are covered. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a bay leaf to the pot, then bring the pot back to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down, and allow the bones to simmer for at least 8 hours, but the longer, the better. Your stock can simmer for up to 24 hours! When the simmering process is complete, use a cheesecloth to strain the broth, and you will have a finished product.

Bone Broth
Image Credit: Alp Aksoy, Shutterstock

What Are the Benefits of Giving Bone Broth to Cats?

The health benefits of consuming bone broth are the same for cats and humans, so this is a drink that you can share with your furry feline. One benefit is its ability to ensure optimal hydration levels, which is crucial because cats are notorious for not drinking enough water. In addition, bone broth is full of nutrients that can help keep your kitty cat healthy as time goes on.

Are There Any Dangers to Giving Cats Bone Broth?

The bone broth itself is not dangerous to cats. However, if you put ingredients in the broth that cats don’t need, such as added oils, salt, and pepper, it could cause digestive problems. You should never include onion and garlic in the bone broth that you plan to give your cat, as these foods are toxic to them. If your cat consumes onions or garlic, it could result in the development of anemia.

Also, it is important to remember that bone broth should not replace commercial food at mealtime. It should be offered as a snack or supplement on top of regular meals. If too much bone broth is consumed by your cat and then they refuse to eat, they will miss out on important nutrients that they get in their food and could end up developing health problems, whether mild or severe.

Cute cat eating food from bowl
Image Credit: Freepik

How Can Bone Broth Be Fed to Cats?

Cats should not have to be coaxed to drink bone broth. They should be naturally attracted to this protein-rich food. You can simply pour a small amount into a bowl and let your cat lap it up. You can also add it to dry cat food to soften it up, which is a great tactic for kittens who are still growing teeth and older cats who are losing teeth. Bone broth can be used to cook fresh chicken and beef that can be offered to your cat as an occasional treat. Additionally, bone broth is a great option to offer a cat that is recovering from diarrhea. 

Final Thoughts

Bone broth is an excellent addition to any cat’s diet, but it should never be a predominant part of their meal plan. If you enjoy drinking bone broth, you can save money by making a pot of bone broth from scratch at home. However, if you plan to just offer bone broth to your cat occasionally, buying a pre-made batch will make the process easy.

Just make sure the one that you invest in is free of added ingredients like onions and salt. Cat-specific bone broths are also available in the market.

Featured Image Credit: AB 7272, Shutterstock

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