Are you looking to improve the nutrition of your cat’s diet? Are you curious as to whether you can use chicken heart to do so? Is this offal safe? How much can you feed, if at all? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know.
So, can cats eat chicken hearts? Cats can eat chicken hearts as a part of a balanced diet. Chicken hearts are a great source of the essential amino acid taurine, among a host of other vitamins (A, B6, and B12) and nutrients (Niacin, Iron), all of which can help support your cat’s health. Chicken hearts are a positive addition to a cat’s regular meals or to serve as treats on occasion.
Chicken hearts definitely can, and perhaps even should have a place in your cat’s diet.
Let’s now look at why you would want to do further, among with how to get the balance right (and how to serve it most effectively).
Why You Should Feed Your Cat Chicken Heart
Chicken heart holds a wide range of benefits for cats that is nearly impossible to find in any other meat type.
Take a look at some of the reasons chicken heart fits so well into a cat’s diet.
The Essential Amino Acid Taurine
Taurine is an essential amino acid that cats need in order to maintain the health of their own heart muscle, vision, immune system, digestion, and reproductive health.
While a cat must have taurine to be fully healthy, their bodies are not capable of making it on their own.
As a result, cats are required to get their taurine needs to be met through the food they eat.
Chicken heart is high in taurine and is the perfect food item for helping cats get this essential amino acid on a regular basis.
Cats who do not get enough taurine in their diets can become quite ill, so adding in extra through eating chicken heart is a great idea.
Vitamins A, B6, and B12
Chicken hearts are a source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, which each play a role in helping maintain your cat’s health.
Vitamin A helps to maintain your feline’s keen night vision and gives your cat healthy skin.
Too much vitamin A can be harmful to cats, but you would have to feed a large number of chicken hearts to experience this problem in most cats.
Vitamin B6 supports your cat’s immune system. It also helps red blood cells to function at their best by breaking down food particles to create energy that is then used to spread oxygen through the red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 is a key vitamin in keeping your cat’s nervous system and digestive systems healthy.
Cats cannot produce these vitamins on their own and must get them by eating vitamin-rich foods.
Chicken heart has the perfect quantities of these vitamins to help a cat reach their daily needs.
The Nutrients Niacin and Iron
The third big piece of nutrition for cats in chicken hearts is niacin and ir6804on. Both of these minerals are part of healthy nutrition for cats and can be obtained by eating chicken hearts.
Just as humans need iron to prevent illnesses such as anemia, cats do too. Chicken hearts are one of the most densely packed meats when it comes to iron content.
Niacin is a mineral that helps to control the digestive system by regulating the production of stomach bile and other digestive acids.
A cat that doesn’t receive enough niacin can experience weight loss and other digestive difficulties.
Chicken hearts provide a good dose of this necessary nutrient.
How Much Chicken Heart Can Cats Eat?
The amount of chicken hearts that are safe for a cat to eat depends largely on your cat’s size. Most cats can safely eat 2-3 hearts per day, with smaller cats eating 1-2 per day and some very large breeds able to eat 3-4 per day when fully grown.
If you regularly feed too many chicken hearts, you could end up giving your kitty too much of a good thing.
This is especially true for vitamin A, which can become toxic if your cat continually eats too much over a long period of time.
It is also important to remember that chicken hearts should be a part of a well-rounded diet, not the only item a cat eats.
If you are feeding your cat large amounts of heart and they lose interest in other food items, you may need to scale back to only 1 per day.
How To Feed Your Cat Chicken Hearts
Chicken hearts can be served raw, cooked, or even freeze-dried as treats or as a topping for regular kitty kibble or food.
Those who choose to serve chicken hearts raw focus on the wide range of nutrients that can only be guaranteed if the chicken’s heart has not been processed through heating or freezing.
Wild cats regularly eat animal organs raw and have the ability to safely eat raw chicken, even though humans should not.
Raw food is very rich and should be introduced slowly to prevent upsetting your cat’s stomach.
Cooked chicken hearts make some owners feel better about lowering the potential presence of bacteria in the meat and make the heart seem more appealing to some owners and their cats.
The most common method for cooking chicken hearts is to boil them in hot water for around 5-7 minutes.
Some people also saute their chicken hearts in a healthy oil such as olive oil for a crispier finish that many cats enjoy.
Do not add salt, butter, or other flavorings to chicken hearts, as the added fat and sodium is not best for most cats.
Raw or cooked chicken hearts can be chopped, sliced, or given to most cats whole.
Chopping or slicing chicken hearts allows you to easily mix them in with other food ingredients. Served whole, chicken hearts make a good snack.
Occasionally you may come across freeze-dried hearts for sale in specialty pet stores and online.
While the processing of chicken hearts does lower the overall nutrition levels, freeze-dried hearts are shelf stable and still a healthier snack than many options on the market.
When To Feed Your Cat Chicken Hearts
Any time that you want to increase your cat’s vitamin A, B6, or B12 levels, taurine intake, or dietary protein, chicken hearts make a good choice for feeding.
As long as your veterinarian has ruled out other medical concerns, chicken hearts are a perfect supplemental food item for these vitamins and minerals.
Chicken hearts are rather high in fat and calories compared to many other food choices, which makes them great for cats who need to gain weight or are pregnant or nursing.
The added calories can support a mother cat’s milk production and add much-needed fat to a thin cat’s frame.
Chicken hearts can also be used to tempt a picky-eating cat or a cat that is getting older and more reluctant to eat its usual meals back into eating.
If a cat refuses to eat over an extended period of time, talk with your veterinarian.
Last, chicken hearts are simply a great treat to reward your cat for being wonderful.
If you are training your cat to do a trick or simply want to make sure you are giving healthy snacks to your sweet pet, chicken hearts are a perfect choice.
Other Considerations When Feeding Your Cat Chicken Hearts
Keep An Eye On Calories
Chicken hearts are loaded with healthy nutrients for your cat, but they also are rich in calories.
For most cats, this won’t be a problem when hearts are served in moderation.
However, owners that are watching their cat’s weight will want to pay extra attention to the number of hearts they serve their furry friend.
Balance Chicken Heart Meat With Other Foods
A cat cannot thrive by eating only one type of meat. If your cat is receiving an entirely raw diet, you will want to include other organ and muscle meats into their nutrition plan to help meet all of your cat’s needs.
If heart is being served as a treat or supplement to store-bought kibble, make sure to invest in quality kibble and that your cat doesn’t skip over the kibble to simply indulge in chicken hearts.
Store Fresh Chicken Hearts In The Refrigerator
Raw, unprocessed chicken hearts should be stored in the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling.
Chicken hearts can last 3-4 days in a refrigerator if properly stored in airtight bags or containers.
To keep chicken hearts longer, you will want to wrap and freeze them. They can be stored in a
Introduce Chicken Hearts Slowly
Cats can have sensitive digestive systems, and therefore any changes to their diet need to be made slowly.
Try offering your cat a few small pieces of heart with their regular meals to let them try out this new food.
If your cat
likes its first few tastes of chicken heart, you can then slowly increase the amount given each day until you reach your desired daily amount.
Introducing chicken hearts slowly can save you the stress of cleaning up a mess caused by a cat with an upset stomach.
Chicken hearts are a perfectly sized way to provide many essential nutrients to your cat.
They can be purchased at many local meat markets, butchers, and even online.
Considering serving other offal to your cat? then my other guides may be of interest:
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.