Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets?

Picture of a cat begging for food

Chicken nuggets might be a staple on many people’s lunch or dinner tables, but are they OK to feed to cats? Do they contain any nutrition whatsoever, or should your pet rather do without them?

We’re answering these questions and several more in today’s article, so keep on reading!

What’s in a Chicken Nugget?

The answer to this question can vary depending on which nugget we are addressing.

Homemade chicken nuggets are somewhat healthier for cats than those you can get from fast-food chains. The reason for that is that you actually know what you put in them, and if you create a recipe that has no dangerous ingredients, you might be able to give a piece to your feline friend.

As for the fast-food chicken nuggets that you can get at any drive-in — that’s an entirely different business. Unfortunately, those are loaded with chemicals, and while they might come frozen at every chain, they still contain monosodium glutamate or other substances that can enhance the flavor of the nuggets.

There really is no sense in you putting your pet’s health at risk by exposing them to additives and preservatives.

And while for the chicken nuggets you prepare at home, you have the option of cooking them in the oven or air fryer, the ones you purchase pre-made are deep-fried, so they can’t make a healthy option for cats.

Why Are Chicken Nuggets Bad for Cats?

Sodium

A lot of salt is bad for pets, and this is something most pet parents are aware of. Dogs and cats simply can’t handle the same amount of sodium that people have every day.

Chicken nuggets contain massive amounts of salt, and while you might not be able to tell, they actually come from other substances, not just the flavor itself. Monosodium glutamate is, after all, a type of sodium, so while it might be a flavor enhancer, it can severely affect your cat.

Cats that are given salty foods time and again are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular pathologies.

Too Much Fat

Deep-fried nuggets are the worst, and that’s because the batter retains all of the oil. If your cat is already suffering from diabetes or is borderline obese, this is not the type of food that they are supposed to have.

But excess fat can also lead to various health conditions, such as fat deposits on the inside of your cat’s blood vessels and also pancreatitis. If you didn’t know, pancreatitis is virtually impossible to treat, so we strongly advise you to steer clear of fatty foods when considering cat diet options.

Too Many Calories

At the end of the day, chicken nuggets are not light on the calories. Even if you were to give your cat a small piece every day, you would still be adding unnecessary calories to their daily intake, therefore predisposing them to obesity.

The last thing you might want to deal with would have to try and make your cat lose weight. Some cats are very food-oriented, and it can be challenging to get them to shed a pound or two.

How Often Can I Give My Cat Chicken Nuggets?

It would be great if you were to never give your cat any nuggets unless you have made them yourself.

But why do some cats seem to like chicken nuggets anyway? Aren’t they only supposed to like their diets? Well, no. Cats are just as curious as dogs sometimes, and while they do not have the same sense of taste like people, they do enjoy certain things.

For example, they can’t taste sweet or sour, but they like the consistency of some foods, especially fat. That’s why some cats will drink milk even if they are lactose-intolerant or why some cats might want to eat all the ice cream you give them.

Some cats like the crunchiness in chicken nuggets, and once they bite into it and realize that they’re also greasy, they become hooked on them.

However, the majority of cats are not going to show any interest whatsoever in chicken nuggets other than perhaps being curious about the smell of this new food. You should try to keep nuggets away from your cat just to be on the safe side of things.

What Type of Chicken Nuggets Are Safe for Cats?

If there’s really no way of going about things and your cat really is crazy about chicken nuggets, you can cook your own at home. First of all, you should avoid deep-frying them just to avoid making them fatty and rich in calories.

You should steer clear of ingredients such as onion or garlic powder or anything else that you know might be toxic for cats.

Just using the chicken ground meat and some shredded carrots will be enough. Don’t add any seasonings, spices, or condiments to the recipe if you want to feed the nuggets to your cat.

These meatballs/nuggets can be added to flavored sauces and turned into scrumptious meals for yourself and your family, but you should always serve them separately to your cat.

Final Thoughts

So, can cats eat chicken nuggets? No. Commercial chicken nuggets are awful for cats, and they can cause a variety of symptoms, mostly related to mild digestive distress.

If you don’t want your pet to wake up in the middle of the night and start retching and having diarrhea, and consequently, if you don’t want to take a nighttime trip to the emergency veterinary clinic, do not give them any chicken nuggets.

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