Is Chicken Broth Good for Cats?

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of broths in your own diet, but could chicken broth be good for your cat as well?

Bone broths are chockful of vitamins and minerals, making them a great nutritional supplement with many health benefits for your cats.  

So is chicken broth good for cats? Chicken bone broth is a nutrient-rich, low-calorie treat that offers many health benefits, such as helping with your cat’s water intake, joint health, appetite and all while being gentle on the stomach.

Simply put, cooking a bone broth leeches the nutrients from the bones, releasing them into the water by means of heat, time, and acid and making them immediately available to absorb.

Bone broth, created by simmering bones for an extended period of time until the bones disintegrate, is a nutritious powerhouse that’s long been recognized for its nourishing properties.

is chicken broth good for cats

Because the broth contains all parts of the bone including:

  • marrow
  • cartilage
  • collagen

It delivers a powerful health punch!

We’ve done some research to find out if chicken broth should be on the menu for your cat!  In this article, we’ll learn about what makes any broth so healthy and why it’s so good for your cat. 

We’ll also include some tips and recipes for making bone broth at home. 

What Are The Benefits Of Bone Broth For Cats?

I’ve already mentioned that bone broth offers a ton of healthy, wholesome benefits to your cat.

But what exactly are those benefits?

Here is a closer look at 13 nutritional benefits of bone broth for your cat:

  1. Detoxifies Liver – Glycine is the amino acid used by the liver to clear toxins from the body.  Your cat can get a lot of glycine from chicken broth, and it will enhance your cat’s liver function.
  2. Boosts Digestion – The collagen and gelatin in chicken broth help strengthen the lining of your cat’s intestines.  This keeps bacteria from undigested food from finding its way into the bloodstream. Collagen and gelatin also repair a leaky gut and aid digestion naturally.
  3. Strengthens Immunity – Cats have a lot of great qualities but communicating certainly isn’t one of them.  So on the odd occasion that your cat gets sick, you’re left scratching your head as to what could be wrong.  Your cat’s immunity can be boosted with the bone marrow content in chicken broth, and a stronger immune system means your cat will be better able to battle illness.
  4. Helps Joints – Bone broth is created by simmering bones until they disintegrate so the broth is chockful of minerals from the bones.  Two of these minerals in particular – magnesium and glucosamine – help strengthen joints and are also easily absorbed by the body.  Older cats with arthritis and cats prone to bone fractures and sprains will greatly benefit from eating chicken broth.
  5. Keeps Bones Healthy – Chicken broth is also rich in calcium and phosphorus, which are wonderful for your cat’s bones and teeth.  Your cat’s energy levels are also boosted by these minerals.
  6. Boosts Nutrition – Chicken broth is great for cats that are food-sensitive, feeling under the weather or just picky eaters.  Because it’s tasty, cats will eat more and absorb more key nutrients. Chicken broth is also easy to digest.
  7. Helps with Hydration – Cats typically do not drink enough water, and dehydration can be a serious health concern.  Adding a flavorful broth to your cat’s diet will help it stay hydrated and healthy.
  8. Thicker, Healthier Fur
  9. Smoother Skin
  10. Better Vision
  11. Prevents Allergies
  12. Aids in Weight Loss
  13. Decreases Risk of UTI and Kidney Stones (as long as it is low sodium or sodium-free)

How do you add bone broth into your cat’s diet?

Now that you’re sold on the wonderful benefits of bone broth, you’re ready to start incorporating it into your cat’s diet.

But start slow!

As a general guideline, you can add bone broth to your cat’s diet by giving approximately 1 teaspoon of bone broth twice daily.

However, the bigger the cat, the more broth they can enjoy!

If you have other pets, you can make enough broth to share.

Here are some basic feeding instructions for your four-legged friends to get you started:

If your cat enjoys it on its own, just let them drink a small amount of it daily or every other day.

A good measurement would be 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup.

Depending on the ingredients, it can have a lot of salt so the more salt there is, the more it should be limited.

The bigger your cat, the more they can enjoy.

Do not feed to kittens until they are 6 months old as the gelatin can cause diarrhea.

You can feed broth during regular feedings or at non-meal times. Another smart tip is to feed bone broth about 30 minutes prior to a meal to aid with digestion.

If you decide to add broth directly on top of the cat food, use caution!

Don’t add bone broth to LARGE portions of dry pet food.

The dry food soaks up the flavor, and your cat will find it irresistible … cats love it so much they will gobble down too much food (and we all know what happens when our furry friends overeat!).

Keep this in mind to avoid puking.

One important note: if your cat has a history of pancreatitis or other serious medical condition, consult your veterinarian before changing its diet.

Want to make your own bone broth?

Making bone broth at home is inexpensive and easy, anyone can do it!

 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

You can make bone broth from a variety of different bones:

  • poultry
  • fish
  • beef
  • lamb
  • rabbit

Poultry tends to be easier to digest than beef. Test this with your cats and only give them their favorites!

Many bone broth recipes call for:

  • garlic
  • onions
  • and occasionally, chives.

If your recipe includes these ingredients, don’t include them!

These alliums (onion species) can be toxic to your cat and may cause Heinz Body Anemia.

When you decide on making broth for you and your cat, set aside a good amount BEFORE adding any allium for yourself.

Also, try to avoid recipes that may be too salty, as this can affect your cat’s electrolyte balance.

There are some spices that are on the “approved” list of spices for cats: Always Consult A Vet First!

The main goal in making bone broth is to pull the minerals (the good stuff!) out of the bones and into the water.

Adding vinegar to your broth while cooking helps extract minerals from the bones.

Use about a teaspoon of vinegar per gallon of water.

A popular choice is raw apple cider vinegar, but you can use whatever vinegar you have on hand.  

It’s very important to strain your broth to remove any leftover bone fragments that may cause choking.

Do NOT feed any bones to your cat!

Bone broth can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen and stored for several months.

You can freeze the broth in silicone molds or ice cube trays to make broth “popsicles”.

Once they are set (usually within a couple of hours), transfer them to a freezer bag and toss in the freezer.

These make a perfect quick and healthy treat for your cat!

See this cute video below of a cat sniffing the chicken broth out:

 

Bone Broth Recipe For Cats

I think you’re ready to get cooking!

Here is a simple bone broth recipe for your cat to try at home:

  1. Put two chicken legs (or your choice of other bones) in a stock pot with bone and skin.
  2. Fill your pot with approximately two cups of water per pound of bones, the water should just cover the bones.
  3. Add your choice of vinegar (as previously noted, about one teaspoon per gallon of water).
  4. Bring water to a boil, and then let your pot simmer for 90 minutes or until the bones have fully dissolved. NOTE: Cook time will vary depending on how many bones you use in your recipe.
  5. You should now have a gentle broth.
  6. Skim off the separated fat and strain your broth using a mesh strainer.

And there you have it…

A nice, golden bone broth!

For best results, let cool before storing.

See my tip above for creative ways to store and freeze your broth into perfect kitty treats.

TIP: You could add carrots (not too much), celery, parsley, or thyme to your broth recipe. These are all safe ingredients for cats. As mentioned before, turmeric and ginger are cat-friendly spices that you can use to enhance the flavor. Another option is to add ½ teaspoon of brewer’s yeast, ascorbic acid crystals, or digestive enzymes to “speed things up”.

There are many variations on making bone broth!

You can find more simple and quick broth recipes here or check out this easy how-to video for making chicken bone broth.

Another tip if you’re a busy cat parent, try using your slow cooker for a super easy homemade broth.

What about canned broth for your cats?

Feeding canned broth to cats is fine as long as it has the right ingredients.

It can be a quick, easy option if you’re short on time, but be careful choosing broths with too many added ingredients.

Some may be dangerous for your cat!

Here’s the lowdown:

You can feed your cat chicken broth as long as it does not contain any other added ingredients.

This means that commercial chicken broth is out of the question.

It usually contains:

  • onions
  • garlic
  • too much sodium
  • other ingredients that may be toxic for your cat.  

Ready-made chicken broth can also be really salty.

Since cats are not big drinkers, feeding them salty food can disrupt the electrolyte balance in their bodies.

This can be especially dangerous for cats with kidney disease.

When buying canned chicken broth, search for a chicken broth that is low sodium or sodium-free.

There are also pre-made broths available that are designed especially for cats with pet-friendly ingredients.

Here are a few pre-made broth products that you can check out from Amazon:

What is the difference between stock and broth?

While most people (including me!) use the terms stock and broth interchangeably, they are technically different.

homemade bone broth for cats

There are three main factors that differentiate stock and broth:

  • ingredients
  • cook time
  • seasoning (or lack thereof)

What is broth?

Broth is made by simmering meat (with or without the bones), mirepoix (a mixture of celery carrots, and onion), and aromatics in water.

So the main ingredient with broth is MEAT, with or without bones.

Broth requires a shorter cooking time:

Typically less than two hours.

Lastly, broth usually includes seasonings so it’s full of flavor and can be sipped all on its own.

What is stock?

A stock is made by simmering animal bones (but not necessarily meat), mirepoix, and aromatics in water.

The main ingredient with stock is BONES.

Stock requires a longer cooking time:

Anywhere from two to six hours.

The stock is not typically seasoned.

Related Questions:

Can I feed bone broth to kittens?

No, do not feed broth to your kitties until they are at least six months old.

The gelatin can cause diarrhea, which can be fatal for kittens.

Can my senior cat have bone broth?

Senior cats can have bone broth as its great to help with poor appetite or sensitive stomach.

If your senior cat takes medication, bone broth can serve as a savory disguise to help get those meds down.

Is bone broth a complete meal?

Cats cannot live solely on a bone broth diet.

It’s important to add bone broth as a supplement to a high-quality cat food.

Is broth good for cats with kidney disease?

Bone broth is a great appetite stimulant for cats with a declining appetite caused by kidney disease.

Bone broth will beef up (yes, pun intended) your cat’s meals and entice them to eat a healthy, kidney-friendly diet.

It also helps your cat stay hydrated, which is important for good kidney health.

Of course, always consult with a vet if your cat has any health concerns, and please comment below or post on Facebook if you have any questions.

I’d also love to hear about how you’ve improved your pet’s health with bone broth!

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