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How to Cook Chicken for Cats: Vet Reviewed Recipes & What to Know

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If you own a cat, the idea of giving them something more than their daily cat food is a common thought. One of the easiest and healthiest things you can offer your kitty is chicken. As an obligate carnivore, or an animal that gets its nutritional needs from meat, your cat will thank you. However, cooking chicken for your cat can be tricky. When it comes to human foods, there are dangers every pet owner should be aware of before allowing their kitty to partake. Let’s take a look at a step-by-step guide for how to cook chicken for cats, things you should know, and even a recipe you can try out.

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Before You Get Started

Before you decide to give your cat cooked chicken, you should be aware that although it is a protein and can be fed as a meal or treat, it does not contain every nutrient your cat needs. Yes, it can be used as a meal replacement or treat from time to time, but your cat needs a complete and balanced diet in the long term.  You may also wonder how long to boil chicken for cats. Times may vary depending on your stove and temperature settings but the internal temperature should reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit or have no pink visible.

When selecting your chicken, we also suggest that you choose boneless. Yes, it is possible to debone chicken, but you must make sure that you never give a cooked chicken bone to your cat. To completely ensure that your cat is free from the dangers involved with bone and splintered bits of bone, we recommend removing the bones beforehand.

Boiling chicken breast in a saucepan on a gas stove
Image Credit: FrimuFilms, Shutterstock

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How to Cook Chicken for Cats

1. Gather Your Materials & Ingredients

Making a meal for your kitty is no different than making one for the family. Before you get started it is best to gather all the materials you’ll need. This reduces the chance of clambering around your kitchen looking for a tool while your chicken is waiting. Here’s a list of your basic needs when cooking plain chicken for your kitty. If you tackle recipes with additional ingredients, you may need more.

  • Medium pot
  • Boneless chicken
  • Chicken broth or water (enough to cover the chicken in the pot)
  • Meat thermometer
  • 2 forks
  • Cutting board
  • Dish for serving

2. Starting at the Right Temp

The next step is to set your stove’s temperature. You want to cook the chicken on medium heat. Place the pot on the stove, add the chicken, then add the liquid you’ve chosen. You want the liquid to completely cover the chicken while it cooks. How long to boil chicken for cats? At least 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

pieces of white chicken meat are boiled in a saucepan
Image Credit: Alex Boc, Shutterstock

3. Check the Internal Temperature

For your kitty’s safety, you want to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Use your meat thermometer to check. The recommended temperature should be 170 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also make sure there is no pink left in the chicken.


4. Shredding

Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove it from the pot and place it on a cutting board. When the chicken has cooled, use the two forks to carefully shred the chicken into pieces that are small enough for your kitty to eat. Make sure you don’t give your cat overly large pieces as they can choke. If you choose chicken with bone (which we don’t recommend), remove any bone bits as these too can cause choking and are considered toxic food for your cat.

chicken for cats
image credit: Rosamar, Shutterstock

5. Serve It Up

When the chicken is shredded, you can now serve it to your cat. Place it in your cat’s dish and then take it to the area where your cat normally eats. You don’t want to feed the chicken to your cat at the table or other areas of the home as they may begin to associate that with mealtimes.

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Important Tips

If you decide to make chicken for your cat, you may be tempted to spruce things up a bit. However, that isn’t a good thing for a kitty. Seasonings can be dangerous, especially avoid onions and garlic which are toxic to cats. Instead, stick with plain chicken and avoid giving your kitty any fat trimmings.

You’ll also want to ensure you never give your cat raw chicken. Yes, cats in the wild eat their food raw, but your house cat doesn’t have the stomach for that. Salmonella,  Campylobacter, Clostridium, and E. Coli, which can be found in raw chicken, can leave your cat very ill. Always ensure chicken is cooked thoroughly before it is given to them.

cat eating cooked chicken
Image Credit: Forewer, Shutterstock

Simple Chicken & Quinoa Recipe

If you want your kitty to have a bit of chicken but want to spruce things up, here’s a simple chicken and quinoa recipe you can try. Quinoa is safe for your kitty to enjoy.

Note: This recipe has been approved by a veterinarian because it includes only cat-friendly ingredients. However, this recipe is not a complete and balanced diet to feed your cat on a daily basis. Instead, it is a great add-on to your cat’s diet. It is only meant to be fed on occasion and not as a regular diet. Please consult your veterinarian to help you decide on the best diet for your cat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup cooked and pureed chopped vegetables (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fish oil
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

Directions:

  1. Place chicken into a large pot then cover completely with water.
  2. Bring chicken to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer.
  3. Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit and no pink is visible.
  4. Drain, rinse, and cool then cut into bite-size pieces.
  5. Return chicken to the pot then add the cooked quinoa, hard-boiled eggs, veggies if you choose, fish oil, and vitamin E oil and stir well to combine.
  6. Divide into mealtime portions. This recipe is safe inside the fridge for up to 3 days or can be frozen before that time has passed.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, a bit of chicken is a good treat for your cat to enjoy. However, you should always ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly with no dangerous seasonings added, such as onions and garlic. This will allow you to make something special for your kitty without the worries of harming them or going against a healthy diet.


Featured Image Credit: Rimdeika, Shutterstock



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