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Can Cats Eat Canned Chicken? What You Need to Know

Everyone knows that cats are obligate carnivores. In other words, they evolved to eat meat entirely. They don’t typically eat anything else, though they can stomach some other foods. For this reason, giving them canned chicken may seem like a good option. After all, it is entirely chicken.

However, just because something is meat doesn’t mean you should feed it to your feline. Multiple types of meat aren’t necessarily an optimal choice for our felines.

Luckily, canned chicken is a typically okay option. Your cat shouldn’t live off of canned chicken, but you can use it to supplement their diet when used correctly. Many felines love the smell of canned chicken. In some cases, they may like it a little too much, which can cause some particular problems.

Keep reading below for everything you need to know about feeding your feline canned chicken.


Is canned chicken terrible for cats?

Cat eating chicken
Image Credit By: Mcability, pixabay

Generally, canned chicken isn’t going to harm your cat if they only eat it occasionally. Of course, it does depend on what is in the canned chicken. Many canned chickens are full of other substances as well – some of which may not be appropriate for your felines. Read the ingredient label to figure out precisely what is in the canned chicken.

When it comes to canned chicken, sodium content is the main thing we are worried about. Many canned foods contain a lot of sodium, which helps keep them fresh. However, too much sodium is not suitable for your felines in the least. It can cause significant kidney problems if eaten for an extended period.

Again, though, this is only a problem if fed for an extended period. Shorter periods are typically nothing to be worried about. If you run out of cat food, canned chicken can be a safe alternative.

If your cat already has kidney problems, you should avoid canned chicken. You do not want to give them much sodium at all, so we highly recommend avoiding canned chicken that contains a lot of sodium (which is most canned chicken, sadly).

Can cats eat canned chicken without cooking?

You do not have to cook canned chicken before feeding it to your felines. The large majority of canned chicken has already been cooked or at least slightly cooked. It is usually put in a boiling water bath to kill the bacteria and seal the lid. Because of this, it is safe to eat right out of a can.

Most canned chicken is even safe for people to eat straight out of a can. This is because it is all cooked at least a little bit.

Should I rinse canned chicken?

When feeding canned chicken to your cat, we do recommend rinsing it first. This will wash away some of the sodium, which will make it healthier for your cat in general. Of course, this will not get rid of all the sodium, but some will be washed down the drain.

We also recommend rinsing the can off before you open it. This prevents contaminants on the outside of the can from falling onto the chicken when you open it. While the chance of this is relatively low, it can happen, so it is best to avoid it by rinsing the can.

How long is canned chicken good for?

Expiration date_shutterstock_Feng Yu
Image Credit By: Feng Yu, shutterstock

After opening, canned chicken can be kept in a separate container in the fridge for about a week. Your cat may not eat all the canned chicken at once, especially if you’re supplementing with it. Just be sure to feed it to them within a week, as bacteria can start growing after this point.

Before it is opened, you should follow the best by the date listed on the can. Typically, canned chicken can last for years if it has not been opened. The exact length will vary, though. It depends on the additives and sodium level in the canned chicken. The environment might matter as well, though most homes are perfectly suitable for storing cans. Just don’t leave it out in the desert or something of that sort!

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Canned chicken and obesity

Canned chicken can cause obesity. Of course, you could say this about literally any cat food out there. However, canned chicken can be a particular problem because it smells delicious. This can make cats indulge a little too much, which can cause obesity.

You should not allow your feline to gorge themselves on canned chicken. Not all cats will have this problem, but many food-driven felines will. You should always feed them the amount they need to meet their nutritional needs and no more. When using it as a treat or supplement, be sure to take their other foods into account as well.

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Canned Chicken: A Great Supplement

Canned chicken can be a fantastic supplement for many cats. It can be a bit high in sodium, so you should purchase the option that is the lowest in sodium. You should not feed it to your cats as their only source of food, though. It is not nutritionally complete, so your feline will need to eat other things as well.

For many cats, canned chicken can be a great occasional treat. Many people give them to their cat on their birthday or similar occasions. This is an appropriate use of canned chicken.

Cats with significant kidney problems should avoid canned chicken altogether, as the excess sodium can make their problem worse.

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Featured Image Credit By: stockphotofan1, shutterstock