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We adopted a stray cat about four years ago. She’s a beautiful little thing, but in the beginning, she wasn’t in the best health, so we’ve always looked for ways to improve her diet. We adopted her from a friend who fosters stray, ill and injured cats, and we have to admit we were naïve about what cats were supposed to eat (versus what advertisers told us), especially as she needed a little TLC to get her well. We expanded on this in a previous post asking if cats can drink oat milk?
The short of it is that we now feed our cat high-meat foods. We fell down the internet rabbit hole when it came to nutrition after realising how nutritionally poor some of the most popular cat food brands were. As a vegetarian, I have barely any experience of meat or organ meats, but I was interested in looking at chicken liver for cats. Is it worth supplementing a pet’s diet, and is there anything we should be concerned about?
Can Cats Eat Liver?
Yes, cats can eat liver. But the liver also contains a high percentage of vitamin A, which, whilst excellent for a cat’s health, can lead to vitamin toxicity, which can be fatal in high doses.
Is Chicken Liver Good for Cats?
Chicken liver is good for cats. It contains various vitamins and minerals that support a cat’s health. It contains vitamins A and B, copper, niacin, folate, phosphorus, protein, taurine, and zinc, but sometimes there’s a fine line between what’s good for a cat and what’s potentially dangerous. Liver is a good source of vitamin A, which is vital for growth, coat, skin and reproduction, but too much can cause hypervitaminosis A.
Owners should also think about where the chicken comes from. The liver stores toxins, so meat from poorly reared or badly treated animals may not be a healthy food choice for our pets. Whilst this is worth considering, on the PetMD website, Dr Jennifer Cox still says that organ meats offer a good source of nutritional value.
How Much Liver Can I Give My Cat?
General advice suggests that liver should account for no more than 5% of a cat’s diet. Owners should also consider that liver is already often added to cat foods, so it’s worth checking the ingredients, especially if you’re feeding your pet a raw or a high-meat content diet. Vitamin A toxicity isn’t generally that easy to achieve, not unless you’re providing raw liver every day or letting the cat glut itself on liver whenever it likes. If you’re in any doubt, speak to your veterinarian. Toxicity won’t be immediately apparent and can build up over time. The damage may already have been done by the time an owner notices.
Chicken Liver for Cats Raw or Cooked?
Cats can eat both raw and cooked liver. Preference may depend on what the cat is willing to eat or what the owner is willing to prepare. There’s something about the smell of liver (both raw and cooked) that turns my stomach, for sure!
Some cats may not like the texture or the taste of raw liver especially if they’re not used to it. Try offering it raw and then seeing if they’ll take it. If they won’t, then give them cooked. There’s considerable debate between those who think cats should have an exclusively raw diet and those who believe cat food should be pre-cooked. Whatever you’re trying out, make sure the meat has come from a trusted sauce. If you are giving cats raw liver, make sure it’s been washed thoroughly first, as cats can get ill from contaminated meats. If you’d prefer to cook the liver, it can be boiled or baked. Ensure the liver is plain and prepared without garlic or herbs. There have been reports of younger cats throwing up the liver afterwards; it may help to mix a little bit of liver with another meat.
Beef Liver vs Chicken Liver for Cats
Both beef and chicken liver are suitable for cats (and pork, too). Beef liver is richer, though, which may affect how comfortably it sits in your cat’s stomach. Beef liver also contains copper, so, like chicken liver, it should be given in small amounts. Cats are susceptible to vitamin A toxicity from a beef liver as much as chicken or pork liver, so alternating between all three is fine, but be careful that you’re not giving your cat too much of it.
How Do I Cook Chicken Liver for My Cat?
You should remove any excess fat on the meat. Some owners boil the liver in a pan of water on the stove for around 10 minutes. Others prefer to bake it in the oven. Some owners will also cut the liver up into small pieces after cooking because it makes it easier for their pet to eat or helps to mix it into a dish with other meat.
Can Cats Eat Chicken Liver?
Cats can eat chicken liver (and beef and pork liver too). In the wild, cats would eat the liver of any prey they’d killed, so there’s no reason to be worried about adding it to your cat’s diet. However, the liver is high in vitamin A and iron, and while these are vital in supporting the healthy function of our cats, too much can cause health issues. It’s recommended that you feed your cat only around 5% of its diet as liver. If you’re looking to start them on a raw food diet, please make sure you’ve done your research. It can be very beneficial to health, but only when an owner knows the required nutrition. Sometimes too much of a good thing can become potentially fatal, and vitamin A toxicity is a well-known effect of too much vitamin A in the diet.