With so many horror stories about chicken, it’s fair to say that most people are always a little more concerned when it comes to our poultry purchases. After all, we know for sure that any chicken that has been left out for too long, uncooked, left in the wrong place in the fridge and so many more environmental factors can all lead to an unpleasant experience with food poisoning.

But what about our feline friends? After all, they’re not too shy about picking off the feathery fowl that finds its way into our back yards. What about when it’s out of date, or when it has been cooked? We answer all these questions – and more – in our article, below.

White cat eating fried chicken

A Quick Introduction To Cat Nutrition

Cats are known to be both very active outdoors and very lazy indoors. In order to meet both of these needs, their body needs a healthy dose of protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals. Protein being the key component for growth and rebuilding cells, carbohydrates are required for energy while the right fats can help to absorb nutrients and produce important hormones.

Without the right amount of all of these, your cat can become seriously ill. For example, taurine wasn’t considered an essential component in your cat’s food until many felines died – all because food manufacturer’s hadn’t done their research. Since the cause was found, the right ingredients were added, and our cats are now happily fed on these big business options that are often presented to us.

Naturally, in order to avoid another catastrophe like this, many manufacturers hire experts to continue the research into cat nutrition in order to get the most from their food. They have found the finding the right balance of the right ingredients can not only keep your cat fed but give them a whole new lease of life.

Of course, depending on your cat’s personality, these needs can differ and that is one of the key components as to whether chicken is indeed suitable for your cat. While every cat in a carnivore, there are unique individual differences between each pet that makes a huge difference in what they should and should not be eating.

Not to mention that many outdoors cats will often source their own protein nutrition through hunting for everything from insects to birds. Plenty of activity from wandering around all day, plus a smaller stomach means that your pet will require smaller meals, more frequently. Researchers also know that cats can never be vegan – their entire bodily functions based on the ingestion of meat, so please don’t try to make your cat become vegan for any reason.

Then there’s the argument about wet versus dry food. Wet being better for cat’s natural needs as their teeth are better geared toward this consistency, while dry food is often more densely packed with all the additional nutrition. In relation to this question “can cats eat chicken?” however, you’ll be pleased to know that the third feeding option somewhat answers this question – the raw diet. We discuss this in more detail, below.

Can Cats Eat Chicken?

Cats can absolutely eat chicken. In fact, chicken is a huge component of wet, dry and the raw food diet. Naturally, both wet and dry food are treated before being used by companies in manufacturer’s food, which can significantly alter the nutritional value which is provided.

Related Posts: Best Wet Cat Food and Best Dry Cat Food

Thus, the best kind of chicken for cats is via the raw food diet. In other words, if you fancy feeding your cat raw food regularly, skinless chicken is one of the best items that your cat can eat. After all, as carnivores, cats have the digestive system which has been built for raw chicken and this, alongside other nutritious meats and foodstuffs can provide a complete diet for your feline. There are, however, some things that you should be aware of when it comes to giving your cat chicken.

When Cats Can’t Eat Chicken

First of all, your cats should not be given chicken which has bones. These can splinter while being digested and lead to damaged internal organs. You should also avoid giving cats chicken with the skin still on, as this can overfill their fat requirements and cause obesity, as well as multiple other health problems.

You can also give your cat cooked meat, although it’s important that the cooked food is still within a good use-by date. Meat that has been cooked and is over 2 days old should simply be thrown away and can be hazardous to your pet.

For both cooked and raw chicken, if you spot any unusual smells or discoloration in the skin, it’s important not to give this meat to your cat. A bad smell can constitute as being similar to the smell of rotten eggs or sulphur.

hungry cat eating chicken from bowl

These are signs that the chicken has gone bad and can lead to food poisoning and can be used with both cooked and raw chicken. Chicken that is slimy is also a sure-fire sign that the meat has spoiled and therefore should not be used, so be sure to throw this away somewhere that can’t be accessed by your cat.

If your chicken was frozen, you should check for a thin ice layer around the outside of your chicken pieces. This can mean that the food has been “freezer burned” and should no longer be cooked or eaten (by yourself or your cat). Freezer burn looks like a white rash or some pale marks on the chicken, that aren’t identifiable as fat.

Storing Chicken

In order to avoid problems with your chicken, be sure to check how well it has been stored and to follow these storing instructions:

  • Ensure the container for your chicken is always airtight
  • Cooked chicken can last around 2-3 days
  • Raw chicken can be stored for 1 or 2 days before needing to be cooked
  • Frozen chicken that is stored correctly can last up to four months before it needs to be cooked.


  1. People Foods Cats Can Eat – Pet WebMD
  2. Cats Are Different: How a Cat’s Nutritional Needs are Different – PetMD
Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!


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