Fried chicken’s crispy and satisfying crunch makes a popular American dinner. Cat owners eat this delicious food while their cats press their paws on their legs.
Your cat might be trying to convince you to give them a bite of your food, but are fried foods safe for them to eat?
Fried foods are not entirely safe for cats. Fried chicken skin contains high amounts of oil, salt, and grease that are harmful to a cat’s digestive system. Other fried foods, such as French fries and potato chips contain high amounts of sodium and unhealthy fats.
Don’t worry, this does not mean cats have to strictly eat kibble for the rest of their lives.
We don’t feed our cats any form of fried foods but on very rare occasions we may give them a small amount as a treat.
There are a few reasons why they shouldn’t foods. Let’s talk about their digestive systems and what other foods you can feed to keep them healthy and strong.
Can I Feed My Cat Fried Food?
Cats (and humans) have recommended dietary guidelines that help us lead healthier and longer lives.
According to National Academic Press, adult cats should eat no more than 42mg a day. There are 1000 milligrams in a gram—that is a very small amount of salt! Most animals don’t nearly as much salt as humans.
The same resource states that adult cats (who in this case, weigh 9 pounds) should only contain 5.5 grams of fat per day. These measurements could vary depending on the weight, age or dietary needs.
Fried foods are not only high in fat, but they are cooked in a lot of oil that is hard for cats to digest.
Cooking oil is not a healthy or beneficial fat. Fried foods contain an unnatural amount of salt that a cat is not used to eating. They can develop kidney stones and other digestive issues that would need veterinary attention.
However, an occasional treat or nibble of fried food is not enough to harm your feline friend—just keep them rare and appropriate.
Can Fat And Sodium Be Good for Cats? Feline Nutrition 101
Now that you know a little more about how bad fats and sodium can harm your cat, let’s talk a little more about sodium, fat, and how you can help them keep a healthy diet.
Fats and salts are important for different reasons. If they are eaten at the recommended amount, positive results in seen both inside and out.
Positive Fats Help The Digestive System
When some people read the word ‘fats’ on a nutrition label, they run the other way. This shouldn’t be the case! Fats are important for a healthy and balanced diet. Both you and your cat need them for energy.
Fats are important to our diet, but they are even more so important for cats. According to National Academies Press, fats contain twice as much energy than protein and carbs. Cats need this energy for naps and for looking after their beloved humans.
Sodium is another essential nutrient for your cat’s digestive system, so don’t think that cats don’t need it just because they only need a small amount.
In fact, sodium is required for many, many different reactions within their body (and ours!). Most noticeably in the digestive system, sodium helps your cat’s small intestine and kidneys absorb minerals and nutrients.
Healthy Fats Are Essential For Healthy Coats
Fats are also responsible for a cats’ shiny and beautiful coat.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 are some of the most common fatty acids that are known to replenish skin and fur. Omega 3 improves and strengthens hair follicles. Stronger follicles = less shedding.
Less shedding and shiny and healthy fur? Sounds like a great deal. Did you know? There can be up to 130,000 hairs per square inch on your cat? That’s a lot of fur!
Salt Is Crucial For Your Cat’s Muscles
Sodium is responsible for regulating the cell’s environment and allows muscles to move and contract. Have you ever seen your cat spring upwards into their favorite cat tree or onto your lap?
Any time your cat moves, they use sodium in the process. Besides helping your cat climb cat trees and catch cloth mice, sodium helps cells digest food and convert it to energy.
The problem with fried foods is that, if given regularly or in large amounts, they contain so much salt and fat that they could seriously injure or even kill your feline friend.
Even if you stop feeding your cat salty, fatty foods, the illnesses they contract might follow them forever.
That being said, as obligate carnivores, most cats adore fried meat or other fried things, and if given responsibly they can be a tasty treat. Let’s talk about how to do so.
How Can I Responsibly Feed My Cat Fried Food?
Here are a few things to do before you share your favorite fried treat with your cat
- Take off any skin- This is especially important if you want to treat your cat to a piece of fried chicken. The crispy skin contains the most oils and fats that can disrupt your cat’s digestive system. Nobody likes a stomachache!
- Remove any bones or cartilage- Bones are dangerous to cats and dogs, but cooked bones especially hazardous to animals. When cooked, bones become easier to crunch down on, creating pointy splinters. These can damage your cats’ mouth, teeth, and create blockages in their digestive system.
- Break it down- Breaking down the fried foods into smaller prices helps prevent your cat from choking.
By breaking it down, we don’t mean that it’s ok for your cat to eat an entire piece of fried chicken if you chop it up for them. We mean that you should take a small piece of chicken and break it into pieces about the size of your cat’s kibble.
Only give about an oz or so of any fried food, maximum.
What Other Foods Can I Share With My Cat?
If you like the idea of sharing snacks with your cats, there are actually many alternatives to fried foods that are healthy for you and them!
Here are a few delicious and nutritious foods your cat can have:
- Fish: Packed with healthy fats and flavor, this is sure to be one of your cats’ favorite foods! Remember that any fish given to your cat should be cooked or canned. These fatty acids prevent arthritis and heart conditions.
- Eggs: These are a great source of protein! Only feed your cat cooked eggs because raw egg can have dangerous bacteria (such as Salmonella)
- Bananas: These fruits contain vitamin C and have lots of potassium. Bananas could be offered as a sweet treat. They are high in sugar, which could be harmful If eating too many.
- Watermelon: This fruit is a popular summer fruit. Cool and hydrating, cats can benefit from vitamin A, C and B-12.
These are only a few examples of what foods you can give to your cat in accompaniment to their dried kibble or canned foods.
Foods Never To Feed Your Cat
On the other hand, there are also some things you should never feed your cat, in any amounts:
- Milk: In Saturday morning cartoons, milk was a frequent drink of choice for some kitties. As a matter of fact, their digestive system cannot process lactose.
- Chocolate: This food is poisonous to both dogs and cats. It contains theobromine, a chemical that can lead to heart failure.
- Onion, Garlic, and Chives: These foods are dangerous in any kind of form, such as raw, powdered, or cooked. These foods break down red blood cells.
- Grapes: Grapes are known to cause kidney failure in cats and dogs, though the cause is unknown—meaning there is also no antidote.
Cats And Fried Food
The problem with fried foods is that they lack nutrients that cats need. Fried foods contain too much unhealthy sodium and fats.
Feed your cat the foods that have a healthy amount of these things, like their kibble or wet food. Healthy fats and salts help the digestive, muscular, and nervous system of your cat, so you shouldn’t be afraid of sodium and fat.
Just remember that fried foods should be given as sparingly to your cat. Think of it is as tasty, occasional treat. There are healthier options to give your cat, such as fruits and eggs.