The one thing that keeps bugging you: Can cats eat chicken nuggets?
When you bring some home, or you even fry them yourself, your cat makes an olympic dash for the kitchen. But is it really the best food for him? Or should you pretend like there’s nothing wrong with it at all?
And how are you going to play this off when his eyes are obviously following your every move? He’s licking his whiskers as if he’s awaiting your mercy.
Will this become a happy meal for him as well? Or could it potentially turn into a hazardous threat that’ll lead him straight to kitty heaven?
If you want the hard facts, continue reading. Sometimes, things aren’t as harmless as you believe at first.
Can cats eat chicken nuggets?
The best answer I can give you is a very wobbly maybe. You can’t know what your cat eats behind your back, but once he’s in a controlled environment, everything seems to keep you on your toes.
It’s hard to figure out the actual ingredients of chicken nuggets. Most times, you’re able to digest them without any trouble, but your cats’ body is vastly different from yours (go figure).
His body is small and he’s a carnivore. His main source of nutrition should come from meats and foods that are specifically designed for felines.
The problem with chicken nuggets isn’t the chicken part, obviously. The actual problem here is the spices, fats, sugars, and other ingredients that are added during the process.
Your cat could soon after experience vomiting and lethargy, just from one nugget.
Given how small cats are, the large number of calories found in each bag of chicken nuggets can inevitably cause them to gain weight. I mean, weight gain isn’t such a bad thing, but once your cat gets to the point of obesity, it’ll be extremely hard to get back from it.
This isn’t a big concern if your cat only eats a nibble of a chicken nugget every once in a while, and not as his main meal or on a daily basis. Usually, it’s okay for your cat to eat a small portion of it, but you could just as well give him actual chicken. It’s way healthier for him.
However, if you’re thinking about giving him chicken nuggets right away, then at least take the fried skin off.
All the spices, crumbs, and fats are in the fried skin of the nugget. Sometimes, there are even ingredients in the chicken itself, especially if it’s made out of minced chicken, but the outer part is definitely more hazardous.
Some of the ingredients of the outer topping are sodium phosphates, bleached flour, niacin, enriched flour, yellow corn flour, spices, salt, folic acid, calcium lactate, cornstarch, dextrose, autolyzed yeast exact, and others that you can always find listed on the packaging.
Do you think that these things are healthy for our human body? To answer this question for you: No, it’s not healthy.
The composition of these ingredients can cause a party in the tummy of your furry friend. If anything, you need to take precautions in this situation and make sure you take the outer topping off. Otherwise, there could be serious consequences.
I just want to add, one more time, that he won’t fall into eternal sleep from one chicken nugget. He’ll recover soon after, but he could develop digestive issues.
The trick here is to give him enough to tame his curiosity, but not to overdo it. Once you give him too much, all those chemicals, fats, salt, and other ingredients pose a serious health risk.
What happens if you overfeed your cat with chicken nuggets?
Cats can eat one or two chicken nuggets without any serious problems occurring in their body. Wild cats eat even worse things in the wild and they still survive, but the difference is in the added spices and fats that can’t be found in the wild.
Frankly speaking, too many chicken nuggets aren’t healthy for your furbaby. A feline-friendly diet doesn’t contain preservatives and additives.
If your fur-child ate too many chicken nuggets and is now experiencing severe lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or anything similar to that, you need to take him to the clinic. Don’t just wait for things to get better, because they won’t. They’ll continue to get worse until you inevitably lose your cat to a problem that you’ve created.
If you’re certain that he didn’t eat much, and that he was just nibbled on one small piece, then there’s nothing you need to worry about. He may experience some discomfort, but all in all, he should be okay.
But there’s chicken in it!
I understand that this is what’s so confusing about this entire ordeal. Your carnivorous little hunter should be able to eat meat without any complications, right?
Well, you see, chicken in itself is an amazing source of protein. It’s nutritious for them, delicious, and easily digestible, and it has all the right things to make your floof function at his peak.
The important thing here is how it’s being prepared. The best way to serve chicken to your kitty is to either give him a piece of raw chicken or to cook it plain.
Any type of oil could be detrimental to his gut health. That’s why cats can’t and shouldn’t eat chicken nuggets.
Chicken nuggets are dunked into a bunch of spices before being crumbed. Afterward, chicken nuggets get deep-fried and completely saturated in oils. It’s not healthy for a human, and even less so for a cat.
What if my cat likes chicken nuggets?
The only reason you’d be asking yourself if cats can eat chicken nuggets is if your cat loves the crunchy outer part just as much as he loves the chicken inside. Well, depending on the type of nugget and the preparation, this could definitely be the case.
Your cat will jump on the counter just to watch you closely. The very moment you turn your eyes away from your pet, his hunter instinct gets the better of him. He snatches a nugget from your plate and disappears somewhere where you’re unable to catch him.
Now, that’s a cat who loves chicken nuggets more than he loves his own health. So, you can’t stop him from pursuing his favorite treat.
You’re concerned about what he’d do if someone else brought chicken nuggets into the house. You can control the environment because it’s your house. But if other people insist on bringing food over, don’t let them leave it somewhere where your furry friend can get to them.
This way, you’ll be confident that your cat won’t overeat. He’ll try to steal as many nuggets as his little stomach can handle, but that’s not good for him.
If you know for a fact that it contains spices like garlic powder or even onions, then don’t even bring them through the door. These spices are extremely toxic to felines and even a small amount can be fatal.
Nonetheless, if it’s a plain chicken nugget, then you can give him one or two, depending on his age and size. But anything more than that will result in health complications.
What are some healthier alternatives to chicken nuggets?
If you’re really dead set on feeding your cat chicken, at least make sure that it’s plain chicken. As stated before, the best way to introduce chicken into his diet is if it’s cooked or raw.
Even raw chicken can create problems because it’s full of parasites, germs, and the scariest of all is salmonella. You don’t want to expose your cat to that. So, plainly cooked chicken is your best option.
Bone broth or other chicken products that have no seasoning nor spices will be healthy for cats. It’s a safe addition to his diet!
Other than that, you can always give her canned or dry cat foods. They’re made with cats in mind, so your furball’s digestive system shouldn’t have any issues with them.
Iams Proactive Health offers a variety of food for your feline and I’m sure you’ll be able to find something your pet likes. If you don’t know what to get, this kibble with chicken and turkey is a great option specifically made for your indoor cat.
Organ meat is also very healthy for your kitty and many of those commercial foods contain exactly that. They contain all the perfect ingredients to give your cat all the nutrients he needs to be the happy little creature you fell in love with.
At the end of the day, the best thing to do is to keep his diet in balance. If you decide to bring chicken into his diet, don’t make it the main focus of everything, but rather throw it in with other types of meats.
Your cat will be grateful to you, that’s for sure!
Related post: Can Cats Eat Chicken Feet? Is This What They Need?
Now you know that there’s no need for you to panic anymore. You can handle it all accordingly – and your kitty is much stronger than you give him credit for.
For now, make sure to keep a watchful eye on him, because he’ll eat anything that his curiosity takes him to. Especially if he’s in his early stages of life or a rescue kitty.
His nose will sniff out anything tasty regardless of whether it’s beneficial or not. Now, can cats eat chicken nuggets? It always depends on the way you prepare and serve it.
However, most of the time, he can eat one or two without bigger problems. If you see any change in his diet, or if he continues to go after foods that aren’t healthy for him, it could be a sign of some type of vitamin or mineral deficiency in his body.
If that’s the case, then it’s best that you take him to the vet, who’ll advise the best course of action. Don’t just ignore these little red flags, but rather keep him safe by always making his health a priority. That’s how you keep your friend healthy and alive for as long as you possibly can.
A healthy diet and physical activity will take him a long way. You’ll be happier and stress way less.
Best of luck to you and your furball!