is chicken meal in cat food bad

Chicken by-products are not necessarily bad for a cat, but they are often used as cheap filler in the foods. Cats are obligate carnivores and need the taurine in red meat and a large amount of protein in cat food derived from chicken, poultry, beef, lamb, fish, or liver.

Chicken Meal vs. Human Grade Chicken

Although chicken meal and other meat meals aren’t always bad for pets, there are healthier options available, such as real chicken of human grade.

It is preferable to feed your pet human-grade chicken as the primary ingredient if you want to provide them with the same high-quality chicken that you would find at your neighborhood grocery store. Every step of the production process is carried out using high-quality, human-edible ingredients to create pet food fit for consumption.

When used in pet food, human grade chicken is more carefully sourced and offers better nutrition than chicken meal. This is due to the fact that fresh chicken dehydrates slightly at lower temperatures, which increases its water content, protein content, and fat content. Chicken meal is more concentrated with 65% protein, 12% fat, and only 2010% water due to its high-temperature rendering.

Though fresh chicken may have lower protein content than chicken meal, it’s crucial to keep in mind that not all protein is created equal. The most important thing is digestible protein, and sadly, chicken meal lacks the highly digestible proteins and amino acids that cats and dogs require to maintain their health and wellbeing. Fresh, real chicken should be the primary ingredient in your pet’s diet if you want them to receive the maximum nutritional benefits.

You can be sure that the food you feed your pet is made with human-grade ingredients and processed in a human-grade kitchen because you’re giving them only high-quality ingredients that you would personally enjoy. Similarly, you can be sure that your pet will receive their suggested protein source from natural, fresh sources (like cage free chicken)

Pros and Cons of Foods With Chicken Meal


  • More budget-friendly
  • Packed with protein


  • The source of the protein may be of low quality (not all chicken meat is created equal).
  • Potential for inconsistencies in safety/quality standards among pet food companies
  • May contain 4D meats that arent fit for human consumption
  • Less nutritionally complete than chicken that has been rendered at a high temperature.

What Does Chicken Meal Consist Of?

There are some compromises in exchange for this great convenience and low cost. Typically, feed grade chicken—meats not fit for human consumption—is used to make chicken meal. This includes “4D meats,” which come from animals that are sick, dying, or disabled.

There’s no assurance that the meat meal in your pet’s food originates from 4D meats, but there’s also no assurance that it doesn’t. When purchasing pet food, many pet owners don’t value this sense of mystery. Rather, they would rather be certain of what they are giving their pets.

*The term “disabled” in the industry describes an animal’s abrupt incapacity to walk normally. This frequently indicates a condition similar to mad cow disease, rendering it unfit for the chain of human food.


Is chicken meal bad for your cat?

The seasonings and high salt content can lead to food poisoning, liver toxicity, salmonellosis, and pancreatitis. Instead, feed your cat plain cooked chicken, turkey, boiled meat, fish, cheese, or eggs in moderation. Consult with a veterinarian for any concerns or questions about your cat’s diet.

What does it mean when cat food says chicken meal?

Named meat meals, such as “Chicken Meal” or “Lamb Meal,” are used in pet food because they provide a concentrated and high-quality source of meat protein in dry foods. These meals are made by rendering and grinding whole meats like chicken or lamb into a fine “meal” consistency.

What is the difference between chicken and chicken meal?

Chicken and Chicken meal are the same product. They come in different forms, meaning chicken is in its natural form including water. Chicken meal is that same chicken, but has essentially been dehydrated and ground to a powder. For the purpose of kibble, we prefer to see chicken meal.

What is chicken meat meal in cat food?

Chicken meal is ground up chicken meat that has been carefully dried to a moisture level of 10%. The protein content is 65% and the fat level is 12%. Regular chicken contains about 70% water with 18% protein and 5% fat. To create chicken meal, ingredients are placed into large vats and cooked.