Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken?

Raw chicken, without more, does not represent a balanced raw cat food diet. Raw diets for cats are becoming quite popular notwithstanding that veterinarians advise against them because of the difficulties of storing raw food without bacterial issues including cross contamination et cetera.

A1 Savannahs

Cat owners may think that feeding cats raw chicken is a direct and straightforward introduction to a raw food diet for their cat. Unfortunately, it isn’t. However, before I go on I do remember Martin Stucki, who owned A1 Savannahs with his wife Kathryn, feeding breeding cats and offspring with raw chicken legs. He used to pop down to the local wholesaler in one of his many vehicles and buy large quantities of frozen chicken legs.

Savannah cat eats raw chicken at A1 Savannahs

Savannah cat eats raw chicken at A1 Savannahs. Photo: Michael

He would return back to his farm/breeding cattery where his breeding cats were in caged enclosures and throw into the pens frozen chicken legs that were thawing out in the Oklahoma heat. Kittens and cats would excitedly feed on them. These were Savannah cats, many of which were F2 and F3s; very valuable and exotic. Martin appeared to have no concern about health issues and his cats were very healthy. He also fed his cats dry cat food.

However, I’m not criticising Martin because he was a wonderful cat breeder and a great guy. I just remember the way he fed his cats. On the website an award-winning veterinarian says that today’s domestic cats are not equipped to handle raw meat unlike their wildcat ancestors.

Domestic Cats Not Equipped To Eat Raw Chicken?

Personally, I’m not sure that this veterinarian is correct. I don’t think it is to do with the physiology of domestic cats compared to their wild ancestor living in North Africa. I think it was more to do with the overall diet of the wild cat compared to the domestic cat’s diet if fed solely on raw chicken.

Wild cat species don’t just live off meat (animal flesh) and nothing else. They will eat the skin and fur of their prey; the whole animal. Inside the gut of prey there is vegetation. That too is consumed by a wild cat. There is the bone and sinew etc.. These all add up to a balanced diet for a strict carnivore.

If you simply give a domestic cat an uncooked chicken leg it would represent an unbalanced diet. People who make raw foods for domestic cats have to adding supplements to animal flesh in order to make it balanced for domestic cat use. You can buy the supplements online and therefore become part of a group of people who prepare their own raw cat food diets.


Contaminants – Pathogens

The biggest risk to domestic cats eating raw meat, other than the fact that it is unbalanced, is that there is the potential for being poisoned by pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, listeria and Campylobacter. As a result experts discourage cat owners to feed their cats any kind of raw meat including chicken.

Homemade raw cat food

Homemade raw cat food

Commercially Prepared Raw Food Diet For Cats

Commercially prepared raw food diets for domestic cats including raw chicken is going to be all right and safe to consume because there are normally manufactured in a way which eliminates the possibility of parasitic or bacterial contamination. I’m referring to a high-pressure pasteurisation process that kills harmful bacteria in raw food, for example. Supplements of vital nutrients are added to the raw flesh to make the diet balanced.

Advocates of raw diets say that there are real benefits to cat health including for instance curing IBD.

Cat Eats Raw Chicken Accidentally

If a domestic cat eats raw chicken accidentally, I wouldn’t presume that he or she is going to be poisoned. I would simply watch and wait. I would expect most cats to be able to deal with possible contamination if a small quantity is ingested. Your cat might experience vomiting or diarrhoea and if so as a precaution it is probably wise to take your cat to a veterinarian.


When I was staying at A1 Savannahs Martin would allow the kittens and cats to eat chicken legs off the bone. Therefore they were exposed to eating chicken bone which is not recommended because sharp edges can develop which can cause internal injury. Personally, if this happened to my cat I would watch and wait and if things deteriorated I would immediately take him to my veterinarian.

Cooked Chicken

Domestic cats can eat cooked chicken just like humans as a treat. I’m sure that there are many homes in many countries were cat owners feed their cats cooked chicken which was prepared or bought for themselves. However, cooked chicken treats should not represent a cats complete diet because it is unbalanced as mentioned.

HomeCat Foodraw cat food and premixCan Cats Eat Raw Chicken?


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