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Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Picture this: You’re eating some dinner one night, and your furry friends gather around you. Those sweet eyes are hard to resist, but you wonder if it’s safe to feed them human food. What should you do?

Well, it depends on what’s in your meal. If it’s all healthy food with no spices that can harm pets, it’s okay to serve them a few pieces.

But what happens when you have some chicken nuggets? Are these okay for cats simply because they have chicken? The best answer is that cats should avoid chicken nuggets. While cats love plain cooked chicken, chicken nuggets have other ingredients that can affect their health and well-being in the long run.

So, keep this in mind when you consider sharing your last pieces with feline friends. In this article, you will learn why it is not okay to feed chicken nuggets to your cat.


Is It Okay to Feed Cats Chicken Nuggets?

It’s hard to tell the main ingredients in that bag of chicken nuggets. So, while you might not experience any side effects after a 6-piece McNuggets, the same doesn’t apply to cats. Therefore, caution is vital when giving them even the tiniest piece.

Feline digestive systems differ from humans in numerous ways, so what you enjoy isn’t always going to be ideal for pets. Chicken nuggets are delicious, but remember they contain lots of seasoning that’s not suitable for cats. Some even wind up vomiting and feeling lethargic after consumption.

Yes, chicken nuggets contain chicken, which cats love, but that’s not all that comes with each bag. Other ingredients that create this dish aren’t meant for felines. Also, there are lots of calories in each bag. Given how small cats are, these calories become too much for their bodies to handle.

It is easy to think that chicken nuggets are a protein source, but they actually have more fat and carbohydrates than protein. Four pieces of McDonald’s chicken nuggets contain 170 calories, 10 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of protein.

Honestly, even a whole piece of the chicken nugget can prove too much for them to handle. Therefore, if you must share, cut a small piece and only feed that. Store the rest away out of reach. A small piece likely won’t harm the cat, but you should keep an eye on them to see if it triggers any digestive issues.

Remember to peel off the top layer of the chicken nugget and give the flesh only. The bread part has lots of unhealthy oils since chicken nuggets are deep-fried fast foods. Also, ensure you feed the cat a healthy feline diet and not the chicken nuggets only.

close up chicken nuggets
Image by: Pixabay

Are Chicken Nuggets Safe for Cats?

While it’s okay to feed cats a tiny piece of a chicken nugget, safety remains a big concern for many fur parents. Truthfully, if you can avoid feeding cats chicken nuggets, that’s the best decision. Remember, these are human foods loaded with many ingredients not recommended for cats.

Even if the cats don’t have an adverse reaction to the chicken nuggets, the long-term effects aren’t out of the question. Cats are prone to being overweight, which can lead to many diseases and a low life quality. Consuming too much processed and deep-fried food is a significant contributor to such conditions.

Frankly, too many chicken nuggets aren’t good for you, so imagine how they affect your cats. It’s better to keep them on a healthy feline-friendly diet than to add foods that lead to long-term side effects.

Yes, you can peel off the breading and feed cats the chicken inside. But, it still has large amounts of extra oils, additives, and preservatives. One brand moved away from artificial preservatives in 2017, but many others haven’t. Keep in mind that these are harmful to your cats, so try to avoid giving them processed foods.

Finally, consider the amount of salt in these fast foods. Too much salt can harm some cats. Keep in mind that one chicken nugget contains 95 milligrams of sodium, which might be contraindicated for some cats.

trays of chicken nuggets
Image by: Pixabay

What Are Chicken Nuggets Made From?

Chicken nuggets do contain chicken meat as the main ingredient. However, that’s not all. Chicken nuggets contain many other ingredients, which you should note before feeding them to cats.

First, there’s the ground chicken breast that’s shaped into nuggets. After that, the nuggets get batter coatings to create the famous bread casing on chicken nuggets. The batter consists of wheat flour, salt, pepper, spices, and eggs.

Following the batter are breadcrumbs before the nuggets are dipped into the hot oil. The oil cooks the chicken nuggets until they turn golden brown. Also, note that manufacturers add preservatives and additives to prolong the shelf-life of chicken nuggets. While the plain chicken is good for cats when cooked this way, chicken nuggets have too many harmful added ingredients.

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Can Cats Eat Chicken?

It’s safe to say that chicken nuggets are not something that you should offer your cat.

Yes, cats can eat chicken. They love it! Chicken has so much nutritional value for your fur babies and is an excellent source of protein. However, how it’s prepared plays a crucial role in its nutritional benefits.

For instance, chicken nuggets are dipped in spices and coated with bread crumbs. After that, they end up in hot oil. While the initial chicken was good for cats, the end product causes more harm than good. Chicken nuggets contain a large number of calories and end up being more fat and carbohydrates than proteins, so they are not meant for feline consumption.

A better choice for your cat would be plain, boiled, shredded chicken or even grilled chicken. You can also bake or roast it without needing to add oils and spices to make it palatable. Cats will enjoy it without salt or any other spices.

Human Foods That Cats Can Enjoy

Protein sources like beef, pork, and turkey are all options that you can share with your cat as long as they are not prepared with excessive oils or extra spices. Fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can supply your feline friend with these healthy fats and other crucial nutrients.

You can also try some green vegetables. If you have any green indoor plants, it’s not uncommon to find your cats eating them. That could be a sign that their current diet lacks fiber, making them crave green plants. So, give them small portions of leafy greens like spinach.

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Chicken nuggets are human food. But cats are drawn to the smell and will get closer, hoping for a bite. We recommend that you avoid sharing this food with them, but if you must, take off the bread coating, and feed them only a piece of the chicken part. Since chicken nuggets have lots of cooking oil, spices, preservatives, and additives, though, you should only feed the cat a tiny piece. Otherwise, check out other healthy human foods you can give as snacks while sticking to a healthy feline diet.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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