Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken? Vet-Approved Health & Safety Guide

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

Can Cats Eat raw-chicken

Vet approved

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

Learn more »

Sure, we all know that domesticated cats are natural carnivores that thrive off meat-based meals. But can your furry feline friend safely consume raw chicken? And is raw chicken good for them?

While your cat can eat raw chicken, it’s not as straightforward as you might think.

Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your cat raw chicken.

Can My Cat Eat Raw Chicken?

IMPORTANT

If your cat is intended as an emotional support animal, and not a pet, then they may not legally be allowed a raw meat-based diet or any raw treats. This regulation exists in many countries in an effort to protect the humans these animals are intended to care for. Always check regulations for emotional support animals before transitioning their diet if your feline is intended to be an emotional support cat.

Many pet owners gravitate towards a raw meat diet for their feline friends because they feel it is the most natural choice for them. Wild cats catch and eat numerous species of animals and sustain themselves on a raw diet. Raw diets intended for pet cats attempt to approximate this system.

Like all types of feeding regimens, a raw meat-based diet is not without its risks. Your cat can eat raw chicken; however, the biggest risk with raw meat is contamination if it isn’t properly sourced or handled. There are many bacteria that can be found in raw meat, with Salmonella being the main concern due to its human health implications. Raw meat may also be contaminated by certain parasites and other bacteria, such as E. coliCampylobacter, and Listeria. However, it is worth noting that many of these risks can be minimized by properly sourcing your raw chicken. For example, raw meat that’s been pasteurized is safer than non-pasteurized options.

Another risk associated with your cat suddenly eating a portion of raw meat when they’re not used to such a diet is the risk of an upset stomach. This risk isn’t exclusive to just raw meat though and happens anytime you quickly change your cat’s diet or feed them something they’re not accustomed to in large portions. When feeding new food items to cats, it is important to always introduce very small portions slowly to monitor your feline’s reaction.

vet checking bengal cat
Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

It goes without saying that if you ever notice your cat feeling unwell after they’ve eaten something new, you should immediately take them for a veterinary check-up. Signs of gastrointestinal discomfort include diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, flatulence, or bloat.

Salmonella outbreaks aren’t just an issue for cats, but a major public health risk all over the world. Confirmed incidences are always announced by the relevant local authorities, and you should periodically stay up to date with the latest news on such events if your cat is often given raw meat treats, including chicken.

Finally, while cats can eat raw chicken, it isn’t recommended as a sole long-term diet option. If you’re curious about a raw meat-based diet, a good starting point would be sourcing your meat from companies that prepare raw meat-based meals for pets. You should also consult with your veterinarian or a feline nutritionist if you have any doubts about your cat’s diet and nutrition.

Potential Benefits of Raw Chicken for Cats

Feeding your cat, a raw meat-based diet may offer certain benefits. However, you’re unlikely to see any of these if your cat is only fed raw meat on an occasional treat basis.
Some potential health benefits of raw chicken for cats include:

Potential Health Benefits of Raw Diets
  • Improved Digestion: Some studies have shown that raw meat-based diets offer better digestibility for certain nutrients.
  • Potentially Improved Immunity: A study on cats that were fed a raw meat-based diet for 10 weeks found that there was a significant increase in some white blood cells versus cats that were fed a commercial moist diet; however, the potential benefits of these changes and the effects of long-term feeding of a raw diet haven’t been critically evaluated yet.
Raw meat-based diets also offer other anecdotal benefits. However, these haven’t been thoroughly studied or proven yet, but proponents of such a diet plan promote major advantages. These include:
  • An improvement in coat and skin condition
  • Elimination of bad breath
  • Improved energy levels
  • Improved behavior
  • Reduction in certain ailments, such as obesity
Because raw meat-based diets are surging in popularity at a pace faster than research on them is being done, these benefits haven’t been definitively proven yet.
cat eating food from bowl at home
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Feeding Your Cat Raw Chicken

If you intend to feed your cat raw chicken, ensure you source the meat from facilities, shops, and suppliers that have the appropriate health and safety certifications and clearances to operate where you live. Keep an eye on the news for the recall of any raw ingredients by your local authorities. If ingredients you have purchased have been recalled, do not feed them to your cat and discard them as advised by the authorities making the announcement.

It is recommended to always work with your vet or a feline nutritionist if you intend to feed your cat raw meals or treats. As mentioned before, if your cat isn’t used to raw meat, you should always start small and monitor your cat for any adverse reactions.

It is extremely difficult to ensure that pets that are on a pure raw meat-based diet are receiving all the nutrition they need. Therefore, you should take your cat for frequent veterinary check-ups. Routine welfare checks and diagnostic workups such as blood analysis, serum biochemistry, urine tests, and fecal tests done by your vet give them clues about your cat’s welfare and help them give you the best possible advice for your feline’s health and well-being. As mentioned before, since research on raw diets is still inconclusive, these check-ups are extremely paramount to your cat’s well-being.

Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken Organs?

Yes, your cat can eat raw chicken organs in moderation. Always check with your veterinarian or feline nutritionist about which organs you can safely incorporate into your cat’s diet.

Now that you know what you can safely feed your cat, it’s just as important to find a bowl that supports their health and well-being. With whisker-friendly bowls and a wide tray to catch any spills, our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite option.

Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
169 Reviews
Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
  • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
  • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...

Final Thoughts

Raw meat-based diets are increasing in popularity, and with chicken being one of the most common meats available all around the world, questions about its compatibility with our feline friends are on the rise. Properly sourced and prepared raw chicken meat can be handled by most cats without any issues. However, constantly changing your cat’s diet isn’t advised, and a transition to a full raw meat-based diet should only be done with the guidance of either your veterinarian or a feline nutritionist.

Looking for more advice on what your cat can eat? Try:


Featured Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database