I am an Affilate!

I hope you enjoy any product or service that I recommend. :) Just so you understand, I may take a share of any sales or other compensation from the links on this page. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks if you use my links, I really appreciate your support.

Can Cats Have Canned Chicken? (Or Not?)

If you are looking for other food options for your cat, you may have wondered if canned chicken could be an option…

Can cats eat canned chicken?

Yes, cats can eat canned chicken. However, it should only be considered in moderation. Meaning too much is not good for your cat. This is mainly because of the lack of nutritional benefits for the cat and the lack of hydration.

So, now you know. But, what are the potential issues with it? Are there any benefits? What is the nutritional breakdown of this food? Keep reading for these answers, and much more… 

Why does canned chicken smell nice?

Cooked Chicken bones.

Cooked Chicken bones.

Canned chicken is made cleverly to smell appealing and even look tasty. However, it can never compare to fresh, free-range chicken, from a nutritional perspective. Although it smells nice, it does not mean it is of high quality.

What is canned chicken?

SWEET SUE Chunk White Chicken in Water, High Protein Food, Keto Food and Snacks, Gluten Free Food, High Protein Snacks, Bulk Canned Food, 5 Ounce Cans (Pack of 24)

Click here for the price on Amazon #Ad

Canned chicken is processed and sterilized to help preserve it, and to avoid bacterial growth. That is why it can last long in the can. As opposed to fresh chicken which is farmed, then sold to a grocery store, and then cooked at home.

Depending on where you buy it, truthfully speaking, even fresh chicken has issues in how it’s prepared. But, if compared to canned chicken it is better quality. 

What are the potential issues with too much canned chicken?

The potential issues with canned food, for cats, is the lack of hydration it offers, when compared to other foods, such as wet cat food. This lack of hydration can lead to other problems, such as kidney health issues if sustained over a long period.

Also, if overfed, it can contribute to your cat becoming overweight, or becoming obese in the long term.

What other food options are available instead of canned chicken?

Instead of canned chicken, there are other foods such as the following:

01. Dry cat food

Dry cat food is a popular choice for cat owners. This is mainly because of its cost and convenience. With regards to the cost, that is straight forward.

However, regarding convenience, it’s ideal for cat owners that lead busy working lives. For example, working 9-5 two hours away from home.

With this food, it can be left out all day leaving the cat to feed itself.

Wet cat food

A cat eating from its bowl and lickings its mouth.

A cat eating from its bowl and lickings its mouth.

Arguably the most popular food option for cats is wet food. This is mainly because of the way cats love it, and the hydration it offers. Regarding hydration, it is great for this. Why? Because some cats get the majority of their daily water intake from it.

And, if you have a cat, you will probably know already, they are not big drinkers.

Semi-moist (In nuggets)

This type of food, as the name suggests, offers more hydration than dry food. Specifically, approximately 60% moisture.

However, it is known to contain a lot of sugar and salts. So, the ingredients need to be read to be sure if it’s right for your cat.

What is the best food for cats (In an ideal world)?

In an ideal world cats will have freshly cooked food from home. Mainly meat, because they are obligate carnivores. However, if that’s not possible, a quality wet food from the store is the next best option.

The reality is most cat owners won’t have the time, or budget to afford a completely freshly cooked diet for their cats. So, that’s why I use the term, ‘in an ideal word’. But, practically speaking, and quality wet food will serve most cat owners. 

What are the nutrients of canned chicken?

In this section I will share with you the nutrients from one example canned chicken product:

Source: Tyson.com * per serving



Total Fat






Total Carbohydrates




Are there any benefits of canned chicken?

Canned chicken does have some benefits. Its main benefit is protein, which is required for us humans, as well as cats. But, it also has vitamins, such as vitamin B & D. As well as calcium, iron, etc.

However, with that being said, it does not mean it’s the best choice for us humans, or cats. This is because there are better ways to get these same nutrients, and more. Such as eating fresh, free range chicken, that is home cooked.

Why are people tempted to offer their cats canned chicken? 

People are tempted to offer their cats food, such as canned chicken for convenience. It is easy to open a can, fire up the microwave and offer the food in minutes. As opposed to cooking the chicken at home, from raw ingredients.

And, as busy professionals, this can be even more tempting. But, even though it is tempting, it is better to offer your cat canned quality wet food instead of this. But, if quality is your main focus, and time is not an issue, then freshly cooked chicken is better than canned.

Do you have to cook canned chicken?

No. Most canned chicken is cooked and ready to serve. You may have to heat the chicken up first, but that is because it is preferred that way rather than being mandatory. However, there are a few that offer raw or partially cooked variations.

It’s best to look at the directions on your particular brand, to make sure. Because, as I said, some could come partly-cooked, and the instructions are your best guide. 

What different types of canned chicken are there?

There are various different types of canned chicken available, this included the following:

  • Cooked
  • Raw
  • Partially cooked
  • Gluten free


This is one of the popular choices and just needs to be heated. However, you need to check the ingredients for things such as seasoning that your cat cannot have.


As the name suggests it is raw and stored in a can to preserve it. This will, obviously, need some cooking and you can add what you want to it.

Partially cooked

This is, as the name suggests, partly-cooked chicken. The idea is it will speed up the cooking process, rather than starting from scratch, with raw ingredients.

Gluten free

This is another option for those owners that have issues with gluten, or prefer not to have their pet consume it. The chances are it will cost a bit more for this, so it depends on how important it is to you.

Can kittens eat canned chicken?

Depending on your kitten’s age, canned chicken is fine for them. However, with that being said, you need to only consider it in moderation because of its sodium content and lack of hydration.

Also, kittens are in their growing stages, so although this is an option, it’s not ideal for their long term diet and growth.

Can cats eat canned chicken broth?

Yes. Cats can eat canned chicken broth. But, the ingredients do need to be checked first. Why? Because it could be high in sodium, contain garlic or even onions.

All of which need to be avoided. So, don’t just assume any can is fine for your cat. And, even if it passes this test, it’s still not an ideal food long term, it’s more of an occasional treat.

Can cats eat chicken breast?

Yes. Cats can eat chicken breast. But, it is important that it does not contain seasoning, garlic, or onions. The chicken should be cooked plain for them. As cats are obligate carnivores they will appreciate it and they will benefit from the protein.

However, chicken, like any other meat, should never be offered raw. It has to be cooked, or you risk making your cat very sick, or worse.

Lindsey Browlingdon