“Dear vet, please cancel Fluffy’s appointment for today. She doesn’t need your torture – I mean help – because she’s a healthy kitty! Would you mind prescribing chicken nuggets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Btw, this is her mom.” Argh, can cats eat fried chicken?
If that sounds like your mischievous monster, you’re not alone. There are very few things in this world cats love more than chicken, and they’re willing to do anything in their power to get at least one tiny piece.
If your cat is anything like mine, chances are she can’t simmer down whenever she sees that infamous KFC bucket. She starts running around like a headless chicken (no pun intended), meowing and begging for you to let her take a bite. What else are you supposed to do than cave in!?
Luckily, cats are obligate carnivores. They require animal-sourced nutrients in their diet. And lucky for your furbaby, chicken ticks all the boxes! It’s rich in vitamin A, vitamins B6 and B12, minerals like phosphorus, and omega 6 fatty acids.
All these incredible nutrients support your cat’s immune system and maintain the health of her skin, coat, and muscles. Chicken is pretty much one of the best things your feline friend can put in her mouth. However, can cats eat fried chicken?
Cats can eat fried chicken, but… There’s always a but when it comes to feeding your furry friend any “human” food that’s not a regular part of her diet. Fried chicken is typically smothered in oil, salt, seasonings, and breading – all the things you don’t want in your cat’s stomach.
So, can cats eat fried chicken?
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), fried chicken isn’t toxic to cats. However, that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and use it as a substitute for cat food. Can cats eat fried chicken safely?
Fried chicken contains too many harmful ingredients for it to be a good choice for your four-legged friend. One or two bites shouldn’t cause any adverse reactions, so you don’t have to rush into emergency animal care when your cat snatches a chicken nugget from your plate.
But, you should always consult with your vet before introducing new foods and making significant changes to your cat’s diet. They should be able to give you a nudge in the right direction and ensure you won’t feed your feline friend anything that will disagree with her stomach.
So, now you can’t help but wonder, what’s so bad about fried chicken?
Here’s the thing – anything that’s been fried in copious amounts of oil isn’t healthy for your furry friend. Chicken is a great treat because it contains a bunch of nutritional and health benefits… But only if you prepare it properly.
While oil isn’t toxic to cats, it certainly shouldn’t be a reoccurring ingredient in your cat’s diet. Too much oil might lead to some serious digestive issues, with symptoms such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your vet. While it isn’t likely that your cat will suffer any lasting consequences, she might need some medications. Once the oil passes through her digestive tract, she should start to feel better.
As if that wasn’t enough, too much oil in fried chicken might cause your cat to gain weight. While you might think your chonky looks adorable with all that extra fluff, feline obesity isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Lastly, too much oil in fried chicken might lead to serious health issues in the long run. Other than obesity, your four-legged friend might be looking at diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and different types of feline cancer.
While small pieces of fried chicken every now and then shouldn’t cause any adverse reactions, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
2. Salt and other seasonings
Chicken meat is typically coated in salt and heaps of other seasonings before it’s fried. Onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, black and white pepper, thyme, basil, oregano… The list goes on and on. So, can cats eat fried chicken with so many seasonings?
While seasonings are what makes the fried chicken so irresistible to us, your four-legged friend is better off munching on bare chicken meat. Not only is salt incredibly damaging to your cat’s digestive system, but most of these seasonings aren’t safe for consumption.
According to the ASPCA, salt isn’t toxic to cats if it’s consumed in strict moderation. Excessive amounts of salt might lead to sodium poisoning with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lethargy, incoordination, and increased thirst or urination.
Believe it or not, high sodium content isn’t the most dangerous thing about fried chicken. Onion powder and garlic powder are highly toxic to cats, according to the ASPCA. Even a tiny amount can wreak havoc in your cat’s body.
Onion and garlic belong to the Allium plant family (along with chives, leeks, and shallots). They all contain disulfides and thiosulphates, which can cause your cat’s red blood cells to become incredibly fragile and burst.
This in turn can lead to hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, and methemoglobinemia. Some of the most common symptoms of onion and garlic poisoning in cats are excessive drooling, paleness of the gums, weakness, lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Needless to say, if you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.
Safe to say, you should avoid feeding your cat anything that contains such harmful ingredients – fried chicken included.
If you’re wondering whether cats can eat fried chicken, you should take a look at the breading. Breading is the bane of your cat’s existence! While it’s typically the favorite part of this mouth-watering morsel for humans, breading is one of the top reasons fried chicken is so unhealthy for your furry friend.
Think about it. Breading is made with eggs, buttermilk, flour, salt, seasonings, and breadcrumbs. Most of these ingredients are detrimental to your cat’s health. And that’s excluding the insane amounts of oil!
Granted, eggs and flour shouldn’t cause too much harm to your four-legged friend unless they’re eaten in excessive amounts. Both of these ingredients are completely safe for feline consumption if you prepare them properly and feed them to your cat in moderation.
But then we have buttermilk! This might come as a surprise to you, but most cats are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t consume milk or other dairy products. While buttermilk does fall under the category of cultured dairy products, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Not only does buttermilk contain a generous amount of lactose, but it also contains additives, preservatives, and sweeteners. Too much buttermilk may leave your feline friend with some health issues including upset stomach, bloating, discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Breadcrumbs aren’t any better for your furry friend, either. While they aren’t toxic to cats, they can cause digestive issues. Your cat’s digestive system doesn’t contain the enzymes necessary to break down and process carbohydrates. Yikes!
4. Chicken bones and chicken skin
Okay, so we’ve established that cats can technically eat small quantities of fried chicken. But, can cats eat chicken bones and chicken skin?
Chicken skin isn’t the worst thing your cat can put in her mouth, but you should still avoid feeding it to your furchild. Why? Because chicken skin typically contains those harmful ingredients we’ve mentioned above.
Chicken bones, on the other hand, shouldn’t be in your cat’s food bowl for a variety of reasons. First things first, cooked chicken bones become incredibly fragile and can splinter in your cat’s throat. Not only are they a choking hazard, but they are also capable of causing internal injuries.
Raw chicken bones aren’t any better for your furry friend, either. While they are less brittle, they carry a different kind of danger. Raw bones and raw meat might carry dangerous parasites and bacteria like salmonella or E. coli. It’s best to avoid them altogether!
Can cats eat raw chicken?
While there have been numerous debates about whether cats should consume raw food, your cat’s safety should be your biggest priority. Raw foods have been linked with parasites, bacteria, and countless infectious diseases.
As mentioned before, raw chicken meat might contain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter. This glorious trio will cause your cat serious health problems if you’re not careful enough. And, there’s more…
These bacteria are known as zoonoses, which means that they are easily transmittable from animals to humans. They can stay in your cat’s saliva and feces for months after she’s been infected. So, they pose a risk to you and anyone else who’s in contact with your cat!
To answer your question, cats shouldn’t eat raw chicken!
Can cats eat KFC chicken?
Cats are curious creatures and they seem to have a thing for anything they see their human eat regularly. So, if you’re a fan of Kentucky Fried Chicken, you shouldn’t be surprised that your four-legged friend wants to have a taste.
Here’s the problem: KFC happens to be just as unhealthy for your cat as regular fried chicken. A couple of bites shouldn’t cause her any harm, but there’s no good reason you should include KFC into your cat’s regular diet.
If you notice any signs of discomfort, excessive thirst or urination, diarrhea, or even vomiting, you should contact your vet. Some cats’ stomachs are more sensitive than others, so you might want to keep a close eye on your furry friend if she’s had a couple of bites of your KFC.
And what about chicken nuggets?
Chicken nuggets are small pieces of chicken breast that have been breaded and deep-fried in oil. You probably already know where this is going, but chicken nuggets are a no-no for cats.
These mouth-watering morsels contain just as many harmful ingredients as your regular fried chicken. They, too, typically contain oil, salt, seasonings, and breading. While a couple of bites shouldn’t cause any lasting harm to your cat, there are plenty of other, cat-friendly alternatives to treat your kitto.
And remember, as a general rule of thumb, don’t make any significant changes to your cat’s diet without consulting your vet beforehand. Your furkid’s safety should always be your number one priority!