Ragdoll cats can be a little more sensitive than other breeds when it comes to their diet.
As large, purebred, indoor animals – with bigger frames that require more food than most other felines – ragdolls need a mix of canned whole-meat-based wet food, dry food and sometimes dental biscuits to keep them happy and healthy.
But one of the questions sometimes asked by ragdoll cat owners is: can these gentle giants eat raw chicken?
Yes, ragdoll cats can eat raw meat, including chicken, but it comes with risks. Raw meat is a high-quality source of protein containing essential vitamins and minerals, however it can also contain harmful bacteria, parasites and other pathogens that cause illness. To be safe, it’s recommended you only feed your ragdoll cooked chicken.
Advocates of a raw food diet for ragdolls, and other cat breeds, believe cooking the chicken removes some of the best nutrients.
But for all the perceived advantages of feeding ragdoll cats raw chicken, there are far more disadvantages – that being, it could make your cat extremely sick.
Another potential danger associated with raw chicken is if the meat is not properly handled or stored, it can also put you as the owner at risk of infection if you accidentally ingest it when preparing it (I’ve had salmonella poisoning before and I can tell you, it is truly awful).
Additionally, a diet consisting solely of raw meat may not provide your cat with all the essential nutrients they need, leading to deficiencies and other possible health problems.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about feeding ragdoll cats raw chicken, and why it’s usually not a good idea to do so.
Can ragdoll cats eat chicken?
Yes! Cooked chicken is a common ingredient in many commercial cat foods and a good source of high-quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals. When cooked and stored properly, chicken is an excellent wet food meat option to include in your ragdoll’s diet.
The only real time chicken can become an issue is when it’s raw (unless, of course, it’s cooked but has gone off).
Some of the nutritional benefits of chicken for ragdoll cats include:
- High-quality protein: Chicken is an excellent source of complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that ragdolls need to maintain good health.
- Vitamin B12: Chicken contains Vitamin B12, which is needed for a well-functioning nervous system and red blood cells in your ragdoll.
- Taurine: Chicken is also a good source of taurine, an essential amino acid that is crucial for the proper function of your ragdoll’s heart and eyes.
- Iron: Chicken has plenty of iron, which helps to maintain a healthy blood supply in your ragdoll.
- Fatty acids: Chicken contains a small amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are important for healthy skin and coat. This is essentially for ragdolls, given they are long-haired cats.
While chicken can be a good source of nutrition for cats, it’s not the only ingredient your ragdoll needs in its diet – it should also have a mix of carbohydrates, which can be sourced through dry food, and plenty of water.
Seafood or mince are two meat alternatives you can turn to should your ragdoll not like chicken (just like ours).
Is raw food good for ragdoll cats?
Raw food, including raw chicken, has the potential to provide ragdoll cats several health benefits, including improved skin and coat condition. However, there are few resources that support the claim that raw meat has any more benefits than cooked meat. This is why it’s safer to feed domestic cats, including ragdolls, cooked meat.
If raw food is not prepared and handled correctly, it can put your cat at risk of illness and infection.
Contamination with bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens is a serious danger when feeding cats raw food, and it’s important to take steps to minimize this risk if you are determined to weave it into your ragdoll’s diet.
Here’s some steps you can take to reduce the chances of contaminating raw chicken:
- Wash your hands: Before handling raw chicken, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Prepare a clean workspace: Clean the countertop and any utensils you’ll use to prepare the chicken with hot soapy water or a sanitizing solution.
- Remove packaging: Remove the raw chicken from its packaging and place it on a clean plate or cutting board.
- Rinse the chicken: Rinse the chicken under running water, making sure to get into all crevices and remove any visible debris.
- Avoid cross-contamination: Use a separate cutting board and knife for raw chicken to avoid cross-contaminating other foods. If you only have one cutting board, wash it thoroughly with hot soapy water before using it for another food item.
Personally, the effort required to properly prepare raw chicken for consumption for your ragdoll – coupled with the risks associated with it – simply doesn’t make it worthwhile.
It’s far easier and safer to feed your cat cooked chicken instead, straight out of the can.
Is it healthy for ragdoll cats to eat raw chicken?
It’s generally not advised to feed ragdoll cats raw chicken. While cats are obligate carnivores – meaning they can eat meat to survive – ragdolls have evolved to be largely domesticated. Because of this, they’re used to eating processed, cooked meats – including chicken – not raw meats.
Mixed breed cats that have been living in the wild eating anything they can get their paws on have likely built up a greater tolerance to eating raw meat in order to survive.
Ragdolls, on the other hand, have for generations been purebred house cats who have had their meals provided to them by their owners – and as a result haven’t built up the natural immunity to the nasty parasites or bacteria that can be found on raw chicken.
For this reason, it’s not usually healthy for ragdoll cats to eat raw chicken.
Can ragdoll cats get sick from raw chicken?
Yes, ragdoll cats can get extremely sick from eating raw chicken if it’s contaminated with bacteria or parasites. Raw chicken can contain salmonella, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite in ragdoll cats. This can be serious and even life-threatening in severe cases.
For these reasons, it’s not recommended to feed your ragdoll raw chicken if you want them to have a long and healthy life.
What can ragdoll cats not eat?
In addition to raw chicken, there are several other foods that ragdoll cats should avoid. Some of these include foods that are toxic to cats, such as chocolate, grapes, and onions. Foods that are difficult for cats to digest, like bones, should also be avoided – as should foods that can cause digestive upset in cats, like dairy products.
While giving your ragdoll milk in small doses can be OK, you should monitor their reaction to make sure they can tolerate it.
I’ve written an article on feeding your ragdoll milk that will explain some of the signs you should look for.
While ragdoll cats can technically eat raw chicken, you shouldn’t feed it to them without first considering the potential risks associated with doing so – including contamination with bacteria or parasites.
Before introducing raw chicken to your cat’s diet, you should always seek veterinary advice and to handle the chicken safely to minimize the risk of contamination.
In almost all cases, ragdolls will do perfectly well by sticking to a balanced mix of cooked wet food, including chicken, and dry food that will be more than enough to meet their nutritional needs.