Bone broth is growing in popularity and you can now find hundreds of recipes for DIY bone broth or even get ready-to-go bone broth drinks at the store.
But that’s all for humans…what about our cats?
It’s suggested that cats also get numerous benefits from drinking bone broth including improved digestive health, a stronger immune system, and healthier joints just to name a few.
But what’s the best bone broth for our cats? And should you go for the homemade option or buy something ready to go?
Overall, most people will find it easier to simply purchase ready-to-go bone broth from the store or online. However, it’s important to make sure that you read the ingredients carefully or stick with bone broth that’s specifically made for pets. That’s because many bone broths will also include things like onions, garlic, and other ingredients that aren’t good for cats.
If put together a complete review of the best ready-to-go bone broths for cats but if you want to skip ahead and see my favorites you can check out the full list here:
- Best Overall: Primalvore Organic Bone Broth
- Runner Up: Native Pet Organic Bone Broth
- Best on A Budget: Purina Beyond Simply Natural, Adult Dry Cat Food & Toppers
- Honorable Mention: The Honest Kitchen Daily Boosts: Instant Turkey Bone Broth
But we’re also going to discuss the benefits of bone broth, how to serve it, a simple recipe for making it at home, and a detailed review of my favorite ready-to-go bone broth packages.
Let’s start by taking a look at the benefits of bone broth for our feline friends.
Benefits of Bone Broth For Cats
Bone broth has a long history of human use with the earliest known soup dating back more than 20,000 years! It’s safe to say that our ancient ancestors were probably not wasting a thing and all the bone and connective tissues that we toss aside were making their way into the soup.
And that’s essentially what bone broth is: a hodgepodge of bones, connective tissues, and other animal parts thrown into a bowl and cooked for hours until it breakdowns all of the nutrients into the broth.
So what’s so great about bone broth and why is everyone going crazy for it?
Long before there were scientific studies for everything, humans trusted chicken noodle soup to help them feel better when they’re sick. But a recent study actually found that chicken noodle soup (and the broth) “may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity. A mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by which the soup could result in the mitigation of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections.”
But that’s just the start- let’s breakdown the nutrients inside bone broth and how they may benefit our cats. However, it’s worth noting that there aren’t many (or any) studies that specifically study bone broth with cats so while I’ve done the research there is still some scientific debate out there.
That being said, there’s one thing we know about our cats that immediately makes bone broth a good choice for them…
Our Cats Are Carnivores
Cats take being a carnivore a step further since they’re actually what’s called obligate carnivores. That means they absolutely need meat in order for their body to produce the appropriate nutrients.
What does that have to do with bone broth?
Unlike humans who can effectively digest a variety of food sources, the best foods for cats are those that come from animal sources. Bone broth certainly fits this description and provides our cats with plenty of amino acids, proteins, and other nutrients from animal sources.
Increased Appetite and Increased Hydration
Before we even cover the specific nutrients that benefit our cats it’s important to point out how helpful bone broth can be for cats that have a lower appetite or are chronically dehydrated. Bone broth is a unique and novel flavor for cats that can really spice up mealtime and encourage cats to chow down or drink more if bone broth is mixed with their water.
While this might not be an issue for younger cats, bone broth can be a great tool to keep up appetites or water consumption when it comes to senior cats.
Bone broth is also packed full of amino acids and micronutrients that may help your cat’s overall health. As I’ve already mentioned, there aren’t many studies on the specific benefits of bone broth for cats but we can find a lot of great information about some of the specific ingredients inside bone broth. It would take a lot of writing to cover every nutrient so we’re just going to stick with the big ones.
Bone broth contains many important amino acids including glycine. According to the folks at Rad Foods glycine can help cats with digestion since glycine promotes the production of hydrochloric acid. While that might sound like a bad thing at first, they go on to explain that this extra HCl (hydrochloric acid) helps our cats more easily digest their food.
While it’s not a perfect comparison since it crosses species, according to some studies increasing glycine in the diet “may well be a strategy for helping cartilage regeneration by enhancing collagen synthesis, which could contribute to the treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis.” In other words, glycine may help with overall joint health in addition to digestion.
Other studies in rats have found connections between glycine and liver regeneration.
So glycine really has the potential to do a lot and that’s just scratching the surface!
Collagen is essentially the “glue’ that holds everything together in the body and it’s a critical component of bones, skin, muscles, and connective tissues like tendons and ligaments. Collagen has been connected to a long list of health benefits for pets and people including improved joint health, healthier skin, enhanced coat quality, and even digestive health.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Conjugated linoleic acid or CLA is found in bone marrow and is present in many bone broth varieties. There are numerous studies showing how CLA can improve and enhance immune function.
Is Bone Broth Safe for Cats?
There’s nothing inherently dangerous for cats within bone broth but it’s important to make sure that it doesn’t contain additional ingredients (like onions or garlic) that are harmful to cats. Additionally, if you’re preparing bone broth at home you’ll want to make sure that all the bones are actually removed since cooked bones can cause BIG problems for our cats.
There’s also the issue of some cats loving bone broth too much. While it’s a bigger problem for dogs, some cats will love bone broth so much that they end up overeating or overdrinking. If it’s your first time giving your cat bone broth make sure you monitor their response and make sure they don’t get so obsessed with this tasty treat that they end up overeating.
How Do You Serve Bone Broth to Cats?
Okay, how you serve cats bone broth might seem a bit obvious- you just put it in front of them and let them go at it!
But there’s actually a bit more to it than yet and you can get really creative with how you serve this tasty treat.
Serve It Plain (Hot or Cold)
There’s nothing wrong with offering bone broth as it is- either hot or cold.
But if you’re wondering what temperature cats prefer, the fact that our carnivorous kitties prefer their food to be body temperature shouldn’t surprise you! After all, cats evolved hunting mice and other small animals that would have a temperature of around 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celcius).
Just make sure that you’re not serving it too hot as you can accidentally give your kitty a burnt tongue.
Mix It In With Food or Water
One of my favorite ways to serve my cat Debbie some bone broth is with her water. She doesn’t actually like wet food (at least most of the time) which means I’m always worried about her hydration. By adding some bone broth to her water, it can encourage her to drink a little bit extra.
But you can also add bone broth to food as a special treat. This works with just about any food but it’s especially powerful (from a nutritional standpoint) when you combine it with quality freeze-dried food like Feline Natural (you can read my review here if you’re unfamiliar with freeze-dried foods).
Whether you’re making your own bone broth or buying it from Amazon, you don’t want it to go to waste. Freezing bone broth is a great way to keep it fresh and it makes for a convenient way to serve it. Just drop a cube in your cat’s water and let it melt! If you have dogs, these little frozen pops can also be a great treat for them.
Should You Buy Bone Broth Or Make It At Home?
If you’ve already decided that you want to give your cat bone broth the next question becomes where to get it. Do you want to take the time to make the bone broth at home or do you want to buy it ready to go?
In order to make your own bone broth, you need to have time and a good amount of ingredients.
Instead of deciding which one to do I actually suggest most people do both!
If you’re already making a big meal that will result in some scraps then by all means make your own bone broth instead of throwing out the remains. But if you’re not cooking those kinds of meals more than once a year you’ll probably want to buy some ready to go bone broth.
But if you do want to go the DIY route, let’s break down what you need to do.
Super Simple Bone Broth Recipe for Cats
The great thing about making bone broth is that it really doesn’t have to be complicated and since we’re making it for cats we want to keep it extra simple.
- Chicken, turkey, or beef bones. It’s okay if there’s still meat on them and you can even use an entire chicken if you’d like
- Enough water to fill a large pot
- 2 tbsp of vinegar
Add bones to a large pot or crockpot
- Add enough water to completely submerge the bones
- Add vinegar. The vinegar helps breakdown the bones and extracts more nutrients (like collagen) from the bones. It shouldn’t impact the taste of the bone broth and you don’t need much.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 6-10 hours or until the water is reduced by roughly 1/2 leaving behind only bone broth. The longer you cook it for, the stronger the flavor as the bone broth will become more concentrated
- Strain the liquid in a mesh strainer. This step is very important as you want to make sure all the bones are removed from the broth. Bones, and especially cooked bones, can easily splinter inside your cat and cause major GI problems that may require surgery to resolve. A simple mesh strainer like this one on Amazon is all you need.
- Allow to cool and serve or freeze for several months.
Best Bone Broths for Cats
Okay, so you’ve decided that simmering some bones on your stovetop for 6-10 hours might not be for you…and there’s nothing wrong with that! Unless I already have the required remains I typically go with the pre-made bone broth. So let’s take a look at some of the best on the market.
1. Best Overall: Primalvore Organic Bone Broth
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- Comes in a liquid form which pets seem to like more
- Uses human-grade and organic ingredients
- Includes turmeric and some studies suggest this can help with inflammation
- Liquid form means that this bone broth will go bad sooner after opening when compared to powdered options
While there are quite a few bone broths on the market, the best of the best has got to be the Primalvore liquid bone broth. It’s only got three ingredients and they’re all organic and human-grade. It’s backed by a big pile of five-star reviews on Amazon and conveniently comes in a liquid form.
They’ve also added a small amount of turmeric to the recipe which can add further nutritional benefits. Turmeric is rich in curcumin and studies have shown a decrease in inflammation in cats that were given curcumin as a supplement.
That makes Primalvore’s bone broth jam packed with nutrients.
The only downside is that while the liquid may taste better to many pets, it also means that this bone broth can go bad much faster than powdered versions. If you’ve only got one cat, then you might not be going through this container fast enough. Still, you can always freeze it for later use or share it with a friend.
2. Runner Up: Native Pet Organic Bone Broth
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- Powdered form makes it very convenient to give to your cat as needed
- Organic ingredients sourced from the US
- Only features three ingredients
- 350+ five star reviews
- Ash content of 5.3% which may be too high to make this a regular part of your cat’s diet.
Our runner up is still a great option when it comes to bone broth but the higher ash content may be a limiting factor for some cat parents- especially if you’re using bone broth to keep older cats hydrated. If you’re not familiar with ash, it’s actually the minerals left in cat food after preparation. These are things like calcium, zinc, and magnesium. While it’s not an issue for many cats, it’s an important thing to be aware of- especially if you have cats that are prone to urinary issues.
If you’d like more information about ash in cat foods you can see my write up on the 6 best low-ash cat foods where I also go over a lot more information about what ash is and why it finds it’s way into cat food.
It’s hard to avoid ash in dry cat foods so it shouldn’t be too surprising that a dried powdered food like bone broth will also contain some ash. While that’s a bit of a downside, it can be very convenient to have bone broth in powdered form.
Native Pets, just like our best overall pick, uses organic ingredients and there are only a total of three ingredients overall. Unlike our best overall pick, there’s no added turmeric which some folks may actually prefer.
Overall, Native Pet Organic Bone Broth is a great option but it’s probably best for cat parents that just want to add a little variety into their cat’s regular diet. If you’re turning to bone broth for your older kitty you may want to go with liquid options so you can avoid ash.
You can read some of those five-star reviews and check today’s price for Native Pet bone broth on Amazon by clicking here.
3. Best on A Budget: Purina Beyond Simply Natural, Adult Dry Cat Food & Toppers
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- Budget-friendly pricing
- Available as individual packages so you never have to waste a drop
- More than 2,000 five stars reviews
- May not contain the same quality of ingredients as other bone broths
The best on a budget option comes from Purina as a part of their Beyond line of food products. Like a lot of pet food companies, Purina markets this as a food topper but the first (and only ingredient) listed is “Chicken Bone Broth” so it’s safe to call this a bone broth product.
When it comes to packaging, Purina has found a happy medium by offering 16 individually packaged pouches that each contain 1.55 ounces of bone broth. This means you get the convenience and taste of liquid without the hassle of freezing or dealing with spoiled bone broth.
The main downside is going to be the quality of ingredients used to make the bone broth. Unlike our top two picks, Purina isn’t advertising that their exclusive use of organic foods but they are pretty transparent in terms of where they source their ingredients and how they make these decisions. So while they may not be organic, it’s not all bad.
Overall, the bone broth toppers from Purina may not contain the same level of ingredients as the other options on this list but they’re able to offer bone broth at a great price with smart packaging. You can see today’s price and read the reviews on Amazon by clicking here.
4. Honorable Mention: The Honest Kitchen Daily Boosts: Instant Turkey Bone Broth
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- Human-grade ingredients based on FDA standards
- Powdered form makes for easy preparation
- Features turkey-based ingredient which can add a little variety
- Additional ingredients like pumpkin and parsley will be a pro for some folks and a con for other
While this powdered bone broth from The Honest Kitchen doesn’t have a perfect place on this list, it’s still certainly worth mentioning. The Honest Kitchen uses high-quality ingredients with everything made in the United States. It also features turkey as the primary ingredient which can give cats a nice break from the ever-present chicken.
But the reason I’ve put them as an honorable mention is that many of the things that make this product unique will be a pro to some folks and a con or just a point of indifference to others.
For starters, they’ve added dehydrated pumpkin and dried parsley to the mix. Many cat parents and even veterinarians swear by pumpkin (I’ve certainly worked with a few who regularly recommended it) but there isn’t much in the way of studies to support the power of pumpkin. Still, that certainly doesn’t make it bad!
Parsely falls into the same category for the most part with some folks claiming that it’s a powerful source of vitamins and minerals for your cat while others are indifferent.
Their company is also founded on Ayurveda philosophies. According to the University of Minnesota, this is a holistic health system that emphasizes the connections between the body, mind, and spirit. This system focuses on diet, exercise, herbal therapies, massage, and meditation.
So while this type of thoughtfulness may be a big deal to some folks, others are just looking for a good price on bone broth.
Overall, The Honest Kitchen is a great bone broth and well-deserved honorable mention but unless the philosophical foundations or additional ingredients resonate with you there’s probably a better option on this list.
You can learn more about the turkey bone broth flavor and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Bone broth can make a great addition to your feline friend’s diet. Not only is it nutritious and delicious but it can also help make medication time easier, encourage more drinking, or improve your cat’s overall appetite.
Not only do you have a lot of options when it comes to serving bone broth, but you’ve also got the option of buying it ready to go or making it on your own.
Either way, most cats will be happy to have a little bone broth in their life!