Cats love meat but giving your cat a sample of your favorite meal isn’t always a healthy choice. While steak and chicken can be fine in small bites when it’s lean, plain and cooked properly, human foods like chicken nuggets can have additional ingredients that can negatively affect your cat’s health—especially when they come from restaurants.
Can cats eat chicken nuggets? It depends. The chicken itself is usually fine, but most chicken nuggets have added ingredients that aren’t safe for cats. Here’s everything you need to know.
Are Chicken Nuggets Good for Cats?
If you have chicken nuggets in your freezer, it’s easy enough to check the ingredient list and ensure that there is nothing that is toxic for cats. But when you get chicken nuggets from a fast-food restaurant like McDonald’s, what’s in them isn’t as clear.
Chicken nuggets are breaded, and that breading may contain toxic ingredients, such as onions and garlic. Even small amounts of garlic or garlic spices can cause stomach pain, drooling, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue.
Chicken nuggets are also highly processed and fried in oil. The fat content can be dangerous for your cat, even in small bites. Excessive fat can lead to pancreatitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Regularly consuming high-fat foods can also cause obesity in cats, which can lead to problems like arthritis and diabetes. Obese cats also tend to have a shorter average life expectancy than lean cats.
In addition, chicken nuggets are often high in sodium. Sodium is important for maintaining blood pressure and transmitting nerve signals between nerves. When there’s too much, cats may experience confusion, increased thirst, seizures, and possible coma. Please note that a cat would need to ingest a considerable amount of sodium for these signs to occur. But it is still a good idea to avoid high-sodium foods.
Is It Safe to Give Cats Chicken Nuggets?
If your cat gets a small piece of a chicken nugget, it may not be cause for alarm. You can contact your vet if you have any concerns and watch for adverse reactions like diarrhea, vomiting, or lethargy.
Regularly feeding your cat chicken nuggets is not safe, however. Remember, a whole chicken nugget may not be much for you, but it’s a lot for a small cat. They’re getting a lot of fat, sodium, and potentially toxic ingredients from just one piece, let alone many.
If you really want to share with your cat, instead of chicken nuggets, offer them a small piece of plain chicken breast that’s been baked or boiled. This will give them the chicken flavor without the added seasonings and fat. Keep in mind, however, that your cat should get all the nutrition they need from cat food, and treats, like chicken breast, should only be given occasionally in moderation.
Cats may enjoy chicken, but chicken nuggets aren’t an appropriate treat for your cat. There could be toxic ingredients in the breading, and chicken nuggets have high amounts of fat and sodium that can cause adverse health effects. It’s best to stick to commercial cat treats or lean cooked chicken breast and enjoy the chicken nuggets on your own.