Has your cat been trying to steal some of your delicious chicken broth while it’s simmering? Felines are carnivores, so they are obsessed with the smell of anything meat-related. Seeing your furry friend place its nose next to the stove is so cute, so your first thought probably is whether you can prepare the chicken broth for cats.
But as a dedicated pet parent, you also probably want to know it is safe for felines to eat. So today, I’ll talk about my favorite broth, its benefits for cats, and how you should prepare it. Although this broth is perfectly safe for your kitties, you should keep a few things in mind before you rush to the store to buy a commercially-prepared chicken broth.
Start reading to find the easiest broth recipe, learn how to feed your cat chicken broth, the ways you can serve it, and much more. Your cat will love it, and it requires minimal effort from you – win, win!
Can Cats Have Chicken Broth?
Yes, cats can have chicken broth! Chicken broth is a liquid is made by simmering chicken bones in water. The bones release the nutrients in the water as it cooks, and the final result is a broth rich in collagen, marrow, and cartilage. All these substances are perfectly safe for cats and even carry many health benefits.
With that said, there are a few things to be aware of:
1. Always Remove the Bones
The fact that chicken broth is safe for cats confuses some owners… Aren’t chicken bones a choking hazard? Or can cats eat cooked chicken bones? Well, you are right! Cats should never eat cooked chicken bones because they can be very dangerous and get stuck in your cat’s throat.
When felines eat cooked bones, they break them down with their teeth. Since these bones have been exposed to heat, they break into pieces with sharp edges when cats chew them. The pieces can get lodged into parts of the digestive system, cause obstruction, lacerations, and more. In many cases, the situation becomes life-threatening.
However, these bones are always removed from the chicken broth before serving, meaning it is safe for your furry friend to drink. In fact, drinking the broth means your cat can enjoy the nutritious benefits without taking on any of the associated health risks.
2. Never Use Store-Bought Broth
You should also avoid all store-bought chicken broth for cats, which is often unsafe. These products usually contain high salt levels. High levels of salt shift the electrolyte balance in the body, causing dehydration. This stimulates your cat to drink a lot of water and leads to excessive urinating, diarrhea, vomiting, tiredness, and appetite loss.
The issue will become even more severe if the cat is exposed to high salt levels for a long time. The salt builds up in the body and can cause severe dehydration. This makes your cat extremely weak and sleepy, and it can be fatal in some severe cases as cells and organs need water to function.
Another common issue for store-bought bone broths is that many of them contain onions or garlic to add flavor. Unfortunately, these foods aren’t safe for cats because it can damage the red blood cells in the blood and cause hemolytic anemia. Many also contain lead, which is very dangerous for cats, even when present at very low levels.
Preparing a broth at home gives you control over what ingredients your cat eats. The broth you prepare should only contain the basic ingredients of water and chicken bones, without salt, onions, or garlic that can have adverse effects.
3. Never Feed Hot Chicken Broth
You should never serve chicken broth hot because your furry friend can burn her mouth. Unfortunately, cats aren’t always aware of the hot food, so they’ll rush to try the delicious broth and suffer the consequences. You have to let the chicken broth cool down and then serve it to the cats. Otherwise, you’ll have another issue to deal with.
Is Chicken Broth Good for Cats?
This won’t come as a surprise after the previous section, but yes, chicken broth is great for your feline. Bones are packed full of nutrients that your cat needs for good health. As cats can’t eat chicken bones, feeding your cat broth is a great way to give them this strong nutrient dosage without taking on any health risks.
1. Added Proteins & Amino Acids
Cats are carnivores and need protein and amino acids to survive. One of the most significant benefits of this broth is that your cat will get more collagen, glycine, and conjugated linoleic acid. These are a selection of proteins and amino acids, all of which all essential nutrients that will boost its health.
- Glycine: Glycine is a nutrient essential for proper digestion as it stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid. This acid aids your cat in breaking down the food and makes the entire process much easier. Glycine also promotes joint health, which is particularly beneficial for adult and elderly cats with joint issues. Moreover, this substance is connected to promoting liver health, meaning that it’s a multi-tasking ingredient every cat should have.
- Collagen: Collagen is as vital for felines as it is for people. It’s a part of many tissues, including muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons. It is also the primary protein in the membrane of every cell in your cat’s body! Therefore, collagen has wide-ranging benefits and promotes muscle, skin, fur, digestive, and joint health.
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid: CLA or conjugated linoleic acid can boost the cat’s immune system and help it fight off different conditions. This doesn’t mean your cat will never get sick again, but it does reduce the risk and make it easier for your cat to recover from illness. CLA is particularly beneficial for cats with weakened immune systems.
2. Promotes Healthy Bones & Joints
I have already mentioned how collagen and glycine are both found in chicken broth and promote healthy bones and joints. However, there are plenty of other nutrients found in chicken broth that help these proteins and amino acids with their bone-boosting benefits.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two amino sugars that promote healthier joints for your cat. They are both naturally present in cartilage, which explains why they are in chicken broth. These substances protect cells called chondrocytes and help maintain strong cartilage throughout life.
This is particularly useful for older cats. Unfortunately, many adults and older cats suffer from arthritis which is a degenerative joint disease caused by the wearing down of the cartilage between the joints. As such, ingredients in bone broth can strengthen the joints, ease the symptoms of these felines, or delay the onset of disease in susceptible felines.
Chicken broth contains calcium and phosphorus that promote bone health as well. These two substances work together to build bones and are useful for any cat with bone breaks or fractures. This is also a huge benefit for young kittens who are growing and developing the bones in their bodies. Both the calcium and phosphorus can ensure your kittens grow into strong healthy adults.
3. Increased Water Consumption
Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water, and the pet parents of picky cats know how difficult it is to make their cats have water. If you have the same problem with your kitty, I might have a solution in mind. You guessed it, chicken broth!
Chicken bone broth is a great way to get a cat to drink water as it smells of meat. Felines are carnivores, so they’re obsessed with meat and anything that smells like it. Most cats cannot resist the meaty taste and smell of this broth and happily lap it up.
As chicken broth is predominantly made from water, this is a great trick to ensure your cat is properly hydrated. Hydration is essential for cats because they eat a lot of protein. Their kidneys need liquid to process the toxins and remove them from the body through urine. If there isn’t enough liquid, your cat will struggle with peeing.
With that said, keep in mind that chicken broth that contains a lot of salt has the opposite effect. The salt draws water out of cells and causes dehydration. However, as long as your feed your kitty homemade broth with no added salt, you can reap these hydration rewards.
4. Provides Nutrients for Sick Cats
Is your cat not eating or drinking for three days due to sickness? Try preparing bone broth and see if it likes it. While cats might turn their nose up at their water bowl and refuse to eat cat food, chicken broth is a temptation most cats cannot resist – even if they are sick. This magical liquid can stimulate your feline to start drinking again because it smells so good.
Whenever my cat has diarrhea but seems fine, I always feed her chicken broth. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, so I use broth to increase my cat’s water intake until she is better. At the same time, it also provides nutrients she isn’t currently getting through her diet. Plus, the nutrients I mentioned have a positive effect on the digestive system and can help ease my cat’s symptoms.
Another suspect to serve bone broth to is an older cat not eating but drinking. If you’ve been struggling to make your older cat eat, you can add some bone broth to the dry or wet food. Your cat might enjoy the smell and decide to try the food. This can help add nutrients to the diet that they are currently lacking due to their loss of appetite.
What if your cat has stopped eating dry food but eats treats? That’s right – chicken broth can help! Some cats won’t eat dry food as they have dental conditions or oral injuries. However, as chicken broth is a liquid, it is easy to drink and packed full of necessary nutrients.
How to Feed Your Cat Chicken Broth
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to feeding your cat chicken broth. So how do you serve chicken broth? Should you just pour it into the bowl and wait for the cat to drink it? Or is there another way to get this delicious liquid down your cat’s throat?
Considerations for Serving Chicken Broth
In general, you simply pour chicken broth into your cat’s water bowl to serve. It really is as simple as that! Alternatively, you can mix a little broth with dry kibble to make soft dry cat food that is easier for some cats to eat.
Whichever way you choose you should be careful with the limits. One to two tablespoons per day is enough for young cats and kittens, whereas adult cats can have more.
There are also a few other considerations to bear in mind:
- Temperature: I have already discussed that cats could get a tongue burn if you serve them hot broth, so you have to wait for the broth to cool down before serving it. The best thing about this nutritious liquid is that you can cook large amounts and freeze it. This means you won’t have to wait for the chicken broth to cool down each time. Simply take some chicken broth ice cubes from the freezer, put them in your cat’s water bowl, and let them melt.
- Kittens: Young kittens nursing on their mom shouldn’t be fed chicken broth. But when do kittens start eating food and drinking water? This happens around four weeks of age, but you should hold off feeding your kitten chicken broth until it is properly weaned. You can also call your vet and find out when it’s safe to treat your kitten to your homemade broth.
How to Cook Chicken Broth
I have already highlighted the importance of only feeding your cat homemade chicken broth instead of store-bought chicken broth for cats. Unfortunately, bone broth takes a while to prepare. Thankfully, you’re a dedicated pet parent, and you’ll do anything beneficial for your cat!
So here are the steps to preparing a safe, homemade, feline-approved broth for your cat to enjoy. Remember, chicken broth can be frozen and won’t lose any of its nutritional value! If you have space in your freezer, I recommend cooking a huge batch of chicken broth and freezing it in ice cube trays.
This means you will only have to repeat this cooking process every few months:
- Get a large pot and fill it with clean drinking water.
- Add raw or cooked chicken bones to the pot of water and turn the stove on. Alternatively, you can opt for beef or turkey bones; they’re all beneficial for the cat. You can also leave the meat on the bones or even boil an entire chicken.
- Make sure that the water covered the bones completely. If it doesn’t, add more water to the pot until the bones and meat are fully submerged in the liquid.
- Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water to the pot. This ingredient will break the bones down and make them release even more nutrients. You can also use lemon juice. Thankfully, the cats won’t even notice the smell or taste of the vinegar once the broth is done, and both these ingredients are safe for cats.
- Turn the stove on medium heat, cover the pot with the lid, and wait for the water to start boiling. When the water starts boiling, lower the temperature to a gentle simmer.
- Let the bone and water mixture simmer for at least six hours. You can let it simmer for longer, which will be even better. The longer you leave it, the better the flavor will be and the more nutrients there will be in the broth.
- You can remove the pot when the time is up and set the pot on the side.
- Get a strainer and start straining the liquid. Remove all the bones and place them on the side. You have to be sure that there aren’t any bones in the broth before giving it to the cats as these can act as a choking hazard. Check and check again!
- Wait for the broth to cool down entirely before serving. You can serve it once it’s cold or freeze it and give it to your cats whenever you want. Some people freeze it in ice cube trays and only take out as much as needed.
As I already mentioned, you shouldn’t include garlic, onion, or herbs in the broth because they can be harmful to cats. Stick to a simple recipe and don’t experiment with additional ingredients.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
Homemade chicken broth is excellent for your cat. If your felines are obsessed with the smell of broth while it’s simmering on the stove, you can prepare some for them to eat. Ensure that you don’t add any salt, onions, garlic, or herbs to the mix because they can be harmful to your furry friend.
However, as long as you prepare the broth correctly, it carries several health benefits. Chicken broth is an excellent water substitute for cats who don’t want to drink water. This liquid also promotes better joint, bone, liver, and digestive health, delivers many great nutrients, and strengthens the immune system. Next time you prepare a broth, follow my recipe and give your cat a well-deserved treat!
Clifford Lewis says
Thank you for the great article on chicken broth for cats. My cat has hyperthyroidism, and can’t take the meds. Unfortunately, I am having controversy with the vet. She insists that is not possible. I am starting my cat on a raw diet, doing more lightly cooked meat. I also make chicken broth with Turkey necks, chicken feet, and beef bones. It becomes a gelatinous liquid that my cat is going crazy over. She is starting to gain weight. Question, can she as a 7yr old, with the hyperthyroidism, drink to much broth. Thank you for any help, it’s getting brutal out here, trying to get real answers.
Breu Roman says
I’ve tried this recipe more than 3 times… my cats WON’T even touch it! I even tried to “taste” it and it truly tastes like NOTHING. I’m obviously doing something very wrong in the process, but can’t figure out WHAT. Yes, I’ve read all the labels of commercial “cat broth” and all say SALT among the ingredients. My vet recommends them! I’ve tasted the pet store-bought broth and they have some flavor, but they are NOT salty. They even smell wonderful, to be honest! Who should I believe? Why my cats don’t like this homemade broth recipe?! I’m heartbroken!
I have the same issue. I saw other recipes on how to prepare the chicken soup on YouTube and they said to add celery, carrot and parsley as well. I didn’t add celery since I didn’t have one but everything else I did same, I even added a pinch of salt on a huge pot of finished soup and the same – it tastes like nothing and has a weak smell of chicken. My cats are usually picky eaters but they were not even considering this soup by a long haul. I tried mixing it with dry food and they’re still not interested. When I give them store-bought one they go crazy for it and lap it up but then vomit it all around the house…
Suzan D Green says
Don’t use necks, there is often the thyroid in the neck.