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Can Cats Eat Fried Chicken? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

crispy fried chicken on a white plate

Vet approved

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Cats need to eat a carnivorous diet and love to eat meat. So, it’s no surprise if your own cat develops a taste for fried chicken. While your cat most likely won’t get sick from eating a bite of fried chicken, it’s not recommended for them to eat it regularly. Fried chicken contains higher amounts of carbohydrates, fat, and sodium than a plain chicken breast. Overeating fried chicken can end up causing health complications later down the road.

Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Fried Chicken

There are several reasons why cats shouldn’t eat fried chicken. First, it contains more calories, fat, sodium, and carbohydrates than plain chicken. A single serving of fried chicken breast is about 467 calories and can have 25 grams of fat and 12 grams of carbohydrates. It may also contain 1334 milligrams of sodium and 187 milligrams of cholesterol.

In contrast, a single serving of plain grilled chicken breast has about 128 calories, 2.7 grams of fat, 44 milligrams of sodium, and no carbohydrates.

While cats need a certain amount of fat in their diet, too much can lead to health issues like obesity and hyperlipidemia.

Fried chicken can also be seasoned with herbs and spices that can make cats sick. Some common ingredients in chicken spice rubs that are harmful to cats are onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Cats can experience an upset stomach after ingesting these types of ingredients. It’s also important to keep in mind that onion powder and garlic powder are toxic to cats and can cause damage to red blood cells if consumed in high enough amounts.

Lastly, fried chicken is often prepared bone-in, which can be risky for cats to eat. Chicken bones can be a choking hazard for cats, and larger pieces that are swallowed can become an obstruction in their gastrointestinal tract. Cooked chicken bones also tend to splinter easily, which means that they can end up tearing the gastrointestinal tract.

a sick or sad looking cat lying on a blanket
Image Credit: Julia Cherk, Shutterstock

What to Do If Your Cat Eats Fried Chicken

In most cases, you don’t have to worry too much if your cat sneaks a bite of fried chicken. Just be on the lookout for signs of an upset stomach, especially if you know that the chicken was heavily seasoned. Cats experiencing an upset stomach may show signs of nausea, like licking their lips, and experience diarrhea or vomiting. If it persists for more than 2 days or is severe enough to cause dehydration, it’s time to call your veterinarian for further assistance.

If you know that your cat has ingested a piece of chicken bone, it’s best to contact your veterinarian right away. Your veterinarian can determine the next steps for your cat. In some cases, your cat may vomit or naturally pass the bone through their digestive system. In more serious cases, your veterinarian may perform an endoscopy or surgery to remove the bone.


It’s best to refrain from feeding your cat fried chicken because of the potential health risks. Plain, fully cooked chicken is much safer and healthier, and your cat will still enjoy it. Feeding your cat healthy food and snacks will benefit their overall health and well-being and reduce the risk of health complications throughout their lifetime.

Featured Image Credit: Fierman Much, Shutterstock

Jessica Kim

Authored by

Jessica is a freelance writer who spends most of her day researching and writing while her fluffy Cavapoo, Nora, naps beside her. She loves and appreciates pets and animals because there’s so much to learn from them, and they do so much for people. As a dog mom, she understands the special connection that pet parents have with their pets. So, she loves sharing helpful information that people can use to better understand...Read more

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