Bird eat is part of a cat’s natural diet, right? They are drawn to chicken instinctively. So can cats eat chicken nuggets? Not so fast!
When you cook or buy chicken nuggets, it smells so good that your cat can’t resist it. It may even try to snatch one or two from the table when you are not looking. Should you be worried if the carefully planned operation of your cat is successful? In the end chicken is one of the most commonly used cat food ingredients but the question here is a little different. It is rather “can cats eat chicken nuggets” and not “can cats eat chicken meat” because these to have two different answers.
Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets?
As you may have guessed, the short answer is NO! Chicken nuggets are not suitable for feline consumption just like many other processed human foods like sausage or bacon. Although a tiny bite of chicken nuggets is not likely to harm your cat, even a single whole chicken nugget might be too much handle for your cat’s digestive system.
In order to understand the reason behind this, we need to take a look at what is inside (or should I say outside) chicken nuggets.
Chicken Covered in Risks!
Although there are risks involved with the chicken itself due to the cooking technique used for chicken nuggets (frying them using oil), the real danger is not the chicken meat. The outer layer of chicken nuggets that is called breading or sometimes the crust, consists of many harmful ingredients for cats.
If the chicken nuggets are store bought, the risks increase even more because in addition to the usual garlic, salt, seasonings, spices and flour none of which are healthy for cats, these products include chemical substances that are really harmful to cats. Actually most of these substances are harmful to humans, too.
Let’s assume that you prepare your own chicken nuggets or buy some without any additives or preservatives, is it ok to give your cat chicken nuggets? As mentioned above, there are also some other ingredients inside chicken nuggets that are harmful to cats.
Garlic is a toxic substance for cats and anything with garlic can cause some serious health issues for your cat which are in general called garlic poisoning. Garlic poisoning is very dangerous for cats because the symptoms don’t show immediately and it generally takes 2 to 4 days for the symptoms to appear. Some of the symptoms are:
- pale gums,
- increased respiratory rate,
- difficulty in breathing,
- increased heart rate,
- and collapse.
Some other seasonings or spices are not really so innocent either and while some of them are toxic, some others are just harmful in the long run of consumed in large amounts. Since there are lots of different recipes for chicken nuggets, each individual spice or seasoning should be taken separately to see which ones are harmful to cats and which ones aren’t.
Salt is also another problematic ingredient for cats. Although cats do need a very tiny amount of salt in their daily diet, since the needed amount is already added to your cat’s regular cat food and the amount of salt used in chicken nuggets is just too much for feline consumption, your cat may show signs of sickness due to the salt content of the chicken nuggets.
No matter what kind of flour is used to cover the chicken nuggets, it consists of carbs which are not the best friends of cats. Carbohydrates can cause your cat to gain weight in the long run if fed regularly and according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine the amount of carbohydrates cats need on daily basis is only a small portion of their diet. Cats’ main nutritional needs come from animal proteins like all other carnivores.
What If My Cat Eats Chicken Nuggets?
The answer to the question “can cats eat chicken nuggets” depends on many factors such as the amount of chicken nuggets consumed, the ingredients of the breading and the health condition of the cat. While a tiny piece of a chicken nugget without the breading is not likely to cause any harm. A whole piece of chicken nugget might cause serious health issues.
If your cat steals steals some chicken nuggets while you are not looking and start showing unusual behaviors, please consult your veterinarian as soon as you realize the issue.
The long term effects of feeding your cat chicken nuggets regularly can vary from gaining weight to obesity and even to cancer.
Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets – Conclusion
After all these information, let’s ask in one more time. Can cats eat chicken nuggets? The answer is they can if the outer layer is removed and the amount of chicken nugget given to the cat is not even the half of one single chicken nugget and that is only if your cat is not allergic to any of the natural or synthetic ingredients used.
I have seen that there are some irresponsible advertising websites and social media posts that mark some of the biggest fast food brands’ chicken nuggets as safe for feline consumption. Please do not be fooled by advertisements trying to use the cuteness of cats to increase their revenues.