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Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets And Are There Any Risks?

Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets And Are There Any Risks?

Sharing a tasty meal with our kittens is something many of us consider doing from time to time.

Chicken nuggets are a food I enjoy having, so, I understand all those owners who think of sharing this meal with their cats. 

I mean, when they look at you with those cute little faces… Who would resist them? 

Still, you should first think of the potential effects chicken nuggets might have on your cat’s health. In general, it’s not a good idea to feed your cat with this food. 

Cats eat chicken nuggets, and a small piece of this food isn’t likely to harm them badly. 

But, the best would be not to share this food with your kitten, since there might be some unwanted consequences. 

Why Chicken Nuggets Aren’t Good For Cats?

chicken nuggets with sauces on wooden board

Just because some food is completely safe for us, this doesn’t mean you should share it with your cat.

Always remember that a cat’s digestive system is totally different from yours. Before you think of sharing some of your meals with your kitten, first consider their ingredients.

Chicken nuggets are made of meat; because felines are obligate carnivores, many cat parents might think that this type of food is eligible for their pets.

However, these nuggets are not only about chicken; they also have some additional ingredients.

Let’s see the reasons why chicken nuggets might be potentially harmful to your cat. 

1. Salt

Cats don’t need as much salt as we do, especially considering their smaller body weight. Still,

they do need a certain amount of sodium in their diet.

According to Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, the daily sodium requirement for adult cats is 200 mg/kg body weight per day.

Human food like chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or sausages are salty and are definitely not something your cat should eat, especially not too often. 

Salty foods like chicken nuggets can cause dehydration in felines, but also some severe health issues, such as kidney problems and poisoning.

2. Garlic And Onion

Chicken nuggets usually also contain garlic and onion, which can be harmful to felines. Both garlic and onion are part of the Allium species – a genus of hundreds of flowering plants. 

Salgado and his associates [1] emphasize how it’s necessary to educate pet owners not to feed their animals with food containing Allium species, since they can be highly toxic for both dogs and cats. 

Of course, there isn’t a high chance that your cat will get poisoned from a small piece of chicken nuggets, but you still don’t want to take this kind of risk. 

3. Oil

Close up image of chef hand putting chicken nuggets tempura in to hot oil pan

Chicken nuggets are fried in hydrogenated oil. So, they aren’t the healthiest option for us, either, but most of us still eat it, at least sometimes.

Food fried in oil can easily make your cat feel sick and cause diarrhea and vomiting in her. Don’t forget how delicate and how different cats’ bodies are from ours. 

Not all cats will get sick of food fried in oil, but, if you know there’s the slightest chance your cat will end up with an upset stomach, I’m sure you don’t want to take your chances.

4. Fat

Chicken nuggets are usually quite high in fats. Your cat’s diet shouldn’t be completely free of fats, but, remember; nuggets are not only meat, so they don’t present a healthy source of fat for felines. 

There are much better options for healthy fats for cats, such as salmon, fish, and tuna, which will be beneficial for cats’ immune system, and will not increase the risk of obesity in them. 

5. Preservatives

cat eating from metal bowl

Tasty nuggets we enjoy eating also contain preservatives, which are there to prevent the nuggets from going rancid. 

These preservatives aren’t toxic for humans in small quantities, but they are something you should be careful about when it comes to your cat’s health. 

Preservatives found in human food might be toxic for felines. This is why you should always stick with the cat food, and never think of using human food as a replacement for your cat’s regular diet. 

6. Breading

Chicken nuggets are made by using bread crumbs, which means this food is high in carbohydrates. 

According to Adronie Verbrugghe and Myriam Hesta [2], excess carbohydrates might lead to obesity and diabetes in felines.

Therefore, it’s recommended to avoid giving your cat human food, especially ones containing high levels of carbohydrates.

Risks Of A Cat Eating Chicken Nuggets

chicken nuggets served in a white bowl

A little bit of chicken nuggets is not the worst type of food your cat might eat.

Still, there are some potential risks you should be aware of if you plan to share nuggets with your kitten, such as:

• Upset stomach

• Weight gain

• Dehydration

• Toxication 

Although chicken, in general, can be good for felines, be aware that chicken nuggets are not pure chicken meat. 

If your kitten has ever tried this food, chances are she liked it a lot. After all, most of us love the nugget taste, too, right? 

But, potential risks are surely enough for us to give up on sharing some of our meals with our kittens. 

Furthermore, since there are so many different types of cat food in the market, including tasty options for picky eaters, I would say there’s really no need to give our kittens human food, especially of this kind.

Is There Still A Way For Your Cat To Have Chicken Nuggets?

red cat eats delicious healthy food from a clay bowl on a white wooden table

It’s clear that there are risks of feeding your cat nuggets, but, maybe you would still want your kitty to have a bit of this tasty food.

Well, my suggestion would be to at least remove the outer coating and offer your cat the inner meat. 

Still, don’t do this too often. Once or twice a month is more than enough! And, of course, don’t give your cat a couple of nuggets at once. 

Final Words

So, should you share your tasty chicken nuggets with your kitten?

I would say no. The best would be to avoid giving this type of food to your cat. Although a small piece of a chicken nugget from time to time isn’t likely to hurt her, I recommend you to have this meal all by yourself.

No matter how harmless certain food seems to be, always remember that cats might react differently to them in comparison to us. 

For any doubts regarding the food you might not be sure whether is the best option for your kitten, please contact your veterinarian.


[1] Salgado, BS, Monteiro, LN, Rocha NS: Allium species poisoning in dogs and cats. J. Venom. Anim. Toxins incl. Trop. Dis 17 (1), 2011, DOI, Retrieved May 09, 2023.
[2] Verbrugghe A, Hesta M: Cats and Carbohydrates: The Carnivore Fantasy? Vet Sci. 2017 Nov 15;4(4):55. DOI, Retrieved May 09, 2023.

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