Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on our links.

I’m a sucker for chicken nuggets, whether they’re from McDonalds or made freshly at home. And I’ve lost count of how many times my cat rushes into the kitchen to try and steal one when I’m not looking. 

In fact, he tried it just the other day! And it got me wondering can cats eat chicken nuggets?

Read on to find out why giving chicken nuggets to your cat may not be the wisest move. Plus, you’ll learn which ones are the safest and why.

Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets?

While cats love chicken nuggets, most are bad news for cats. You should avoid giving them to your cat. But a small bite or a whole chicken nugget isn’t going to cause them severe problems. Just don’t mistake them as a regular cat treat.

Chicken nuggets contain processed meats that offer little to no nutritional value to cats. And to make things worse, they’re breaded and fried in a batter high in fat and salt.

But does this mean you should never feed them chicken nuggets? If it’s life or death and your cat is starving, they’ll be able to have a small bite. Or if they manage to get a hold of a whole one, it’s not the end of the world.

The Dangers of Chicken Nuggets

If cats eat chicken nuggets consistently, they can experience several health issues. The chicken meat itself is fine for cats. But the preparation and other ingredients in chicken nuggets make them dangerous for their health.

Let’s explore some of the common risks associated with chicken nuggets.


It’s well known that chicken is a common allergen for cats. However, the high amounts of soy and wheat used to make the batter on chicken nuggets are also a common cause of food allergies.

Most commercial cat food uses chicken as a primary source of protein. So it’s pretty common for cats to be allergic to chicken.

Allergic reactions can be relatively minor. However, they can lead to severe conditions such as arthritis too. Some common signs of food allergies include:

  • Gassiness
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Skin rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Ear infection
  • Vomiting

If you’re concerned your cat is suffering an allergic reaction to food, consult your vet immediately and take them to a vet clinic.


Cats are prone to developing diabetes if they frequently eat chicken nuggets. Chicken nuggets contain high concentrations of fat and calories, leading to weight gain and obesity. And obesity can eventually lead to diabetes.

Early on, your cat may demonstrate symptoms such as dehydration, weight loss, excessive thirst, and urination, or increased appetite. But, these can often be signs of other underlying health issues too. So if you notice any of these signs, take your cat to a vet for examination.

If diabetes is left untreated, it can develop into severe symptoms like kidney failure, urinary tract infections, cataracts, seizures, and even blindness.

Digestion Problems

Due to the high-fat content in chicken nuggets, it can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. Chicken nuggets have corn, salt, soy, wheat, white flour, and various artificial ingredients. Each one of these can be harmful to your cat. Plus, they can cause other digestive problems and health concerns.

For example, McDonald’s chicken nuggets contain lemon juice. This can lead to irritation, damage to the central nervous system, and severe stomach aches in cats.

Watch out for loose stool or rumbling in your cat’s stomach after eating chicken nuggets. If you notice this, it’s best to avoid giving your cat this food in the future.

High Sodium

This is one of the main issues with chicken nuggets. It contains high amounts of sodium from the batter. And unfortunately, high quantities of salt cause high blood pressure that eventually causes sodium ion toxicity.

Salt poisoning causes various symptoms, including:

  • Abnormal body temperatures
  • Blood in the urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Depression
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

You must observe your cat’s daily salt intake. Too much salt can quickly lead to sodium toxicity which causes organ failure, coma, and even death.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Cats are obligate carnivores. And while chicken nuggets contain the meat itself, it still doesn’t provide the same level of nutrients they need to perform essential bodily functions.

Simply, chicken nuggets have little to no nutritional value. What’s more, fast foods are packed with empty calories and saturated fats.

If they’re given to your furry friend more often, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies that cause:

  • Depression
  • Changes stools
  • Skin disorders
  • Coat disorders
  • Lack of energy


Any food containing high amounts of fat is likely to lead to pancreatitis. Chicken nuggets are the same.

Pancreatitis is extremely painful for cats. And it’s a fast-moving condition that can leave long-lasting effects, sometimes even life-long. Chicken nuggets are made using vegetable oils. And vegetable oils can cause diabetes in cats, as well as pancreatitis.

Toxicity & Poisoning

Chicken nuggets contain several dangerous ingredients. Some are loaded with spices that can harm the cat’s digestive system. While other ingredients have no right to be in food and can be life-threatening.

Generally, poisoning will cause the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Low blood sugar
  • Coughing up blood
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive heart speed
  • Fainting
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

And unfortunately, out of this list, four are life-threatening to cats. These are coughing up blood, low blood sugar, fainting, and lethargy. If you notice these symptoms, take your cat to a vet immediately.

But chicken nuggets can also cause other symptoms if they contain onion or garlic. They may experience:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Pale or discolored gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Oral irritation

Again, if you see any of these symptoms, take your cat to a vet, or if you can, a vet clinic immediately.

High Yeast Ingestion

I was shocked to find out McDonald’s chicken nuggets contain yeast extract! Yeast is mainly used to make the dough rise but can severely impact cats.

Can cats eat chicken nuggets containing yeast? Yes, but it’s really harmful. In fact, it is downright dangerous for cats.

Yeast ingestion symptoms vary a lot depending on how much is consumed. Typically, it’ll cause flatulence, gassiness, and discomfort.

But symptoms can become severe and cause your cat’s stomach and intestines to rupture.

But symptoms can become severe, and cause your cat’s stomach and intestines to rupture.

If cats eat chicken nuggets with high concentrations of yeast extract, it can lead to alcohol poisoning. Usually, symptoms occur after 30 to 60 minutes and include:

  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Mood swings
  • Fainting
  • Strange pH levels in the blood

Take your dog immediately to a vet clinic if you observe any of the above symptoms.

Are All Chicken Nuggets Harmful to Cats?

No. Not all chicken nuggets are made the same way, so they’re not all bad for them. If you avoid letting your cat eat chicken nuggets, it’s unlikely to cause them harm. But it’s important to remember that fast food shouldn’t be used to replace a complete, balanced cat diet.

Here are some well-known brands and whether you can feed them their chicken nuggets.

Can Cats Eat McDonalds Chicken Nuggets?

No. Cats should avoid McDonald’s chicken nuggets. They’re made with heavily processed meats, battered, and fried.

The batter made for these nuggets contains tons of trans and saturated fats from vegetable oil. This oil is likely to cause diabetes and obesity in cats.

What’s more, the batter can cause your cat’s arteries to become blocked or raise cholesterol.

Each serving of six McDonald’s chicken nuggets contains 287 calories. For the average cat, it nearly makes up their entire daily calorie allowance. Too many calories can cause weight gain and eventually obesity in cats.

That’s not all, though! McDonald’s chicken nuggets are rich in salt, sugar, and carbs, which simply have no place in a cat’s diet. But if you’re adamant about giving them to your cat, take off the batter as this is where most of the calories are.

Diabetic cats should avoid these chicken nuggets at all costs. They can cause diabetic cats heart problems because of the excessive sugar and salt content.

That being said, a small amount of McDonald’s nuggets won’t harm most cats. But sodium and fried batter carry severe consequences to your cat’s health. 

Can Cats Eat Burger King Chicken Nuggets?

Burger King chicken nuggets are the same as Mcdonald’s chicken nuggets. They’re battered, fried, and packed with harmful preservatives, salt, and fat.

Salt is the main issue with these chicken nuggets. It can cause a whole host of health problems for cats. In fact, salt poisoning is that dangerous; it can cause coma and organ failure.

Can Cats Eat Frozen Chicken Nuggets?

Generally, it’s best to read the ingredients to ensure it doesn’t contain any onion or garlic. Remove the batter first before giving them to your feline friend. And avoid deep drying them.

In moderation, frozen chicken nuggets are safe for cats to eat. But they still add no real nutritional value to your cat’s daily diet.

Generally, it’s best to prepare the chicken nuggets yourself and then watch for any symptoms like allergies or stomach upset.

Can Cats Eat Vegan Chicken Nuggets?

Unfortunately, vegan meats contain substitutes that aren’t meant for cat consumption. They can have added spices, onion, salt, and garlic to enhance the flavor.

Vegan chicken nuggets can be highly toxic for cats. And if they eat any, it can cause them to suffer from salt poisoning, onion toxicity, and digestion issues.

Finally, vegan chicken nuggets contain soy, a highly toxic ingredient that poses significant health risks to cats.

Can Cats Eat Fried Chicken?

Besides how it looks, fried chicken isn’t much different from chicken nuggets. It doesn’t matter if it’s frozen, deep-fried, or homemade. All of them contain rich levels of fats and salt. Fatty foods cause obesity or diabetes in cats, while excessive salt intake is likely to cause sodium toxicity.

Fried chicken can result in cats suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and heart problems.

What Do I Do If My Cat Eats Chicken Nuggets?

If you’ve decided you’re going to let your cat eat chicken nuggets, there are some steps you can take to protect their health.

Ensure They Get Regular Exercise

Chicken nuggets are full of calories. So making sure they get regular exercise will help burn off extra energy. If your cat is an outdoors cat, ensure they are getting out of the house regularly. Whereas, if your cat stays indoors, purchase some toys designed to exercise cats and stimulate them.

That being said, indoor cats should avoid chicken nuggets at all costs because of their less active lifestyle.

Check Ingredients 

This applies to any new food you introduce to your cat. Whenever you do give them new food, always check the ingredients.

Generally, it’s best to have a list of toxic or dangerous ingredients such as soy, onions, garlic, sugar, and artificial ingredients. Luckily, if you don’t have the time, you can try our complete list of human foods toxic for cats.

While a small bite of a chicken nugget is unlikely to cause your cat serious harm, they do contain other toxic and harmful ingredients.

Healthy Substitute Snacks

If your cat is as determined as my cat Milo to find new foods, try to find them a healthy and safe alternative. Your cat will love the introduction of new flavors and smells, and they won’t know the difference either!

Safe Alternatives to Chicken Nuggets

As you can probably tell by now, it’s best cats avoid chicken nuggets. Luckily, there is a wide variety of healthy and tasty alternative treats you can give them.

These include fruits and vegetables like:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Pumpkin
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Green Beans
  • Celery

Meats are a cat’s primary source of amino acids, protein, and nutrients. Some excellent alternative human foods you can give them include:

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Ham
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Plain bacon

If you want to try making homemade chicken nuggets for your cat, don’t fry them or add seasoning. Cooking them from scratch is perfect for them. You can offer them plenty of protein in plain boiled chicken, the best option by far!

Don’t Count Your Chickens

Can cats eat chicken nuggets? While they’re full of chicken meat, they’re not safe or nutritional for your cat to eat. Chicken nuggets are full of salt, fat, sugar, and other toxic ingredients.

That being said, a small bite is unlikely to harm them. But eating nuggets regularly or in large amounts can be dangerous for cats.

As a cat owner, I understand how you want to introduce new flavors and foods into your feline friend’s diet. After all, we love them like family. But, when it comes to chicken nuggets, there are much better and safer alternatives to choose from. And as cat parents, we must put their health first.


Can Cats Eat Mcdonalds Fries?

Yes. Cats can eat Mcdonald’s fries. But, they’re not recommended to. French fries can often contain high amounts of salt, leading to sodium poisoning and other serious health problems.

Can Cats Die From Eating Chicken Nuggets?

Yes, your cat could die from eating chicken nuggets in large quantities. Chicken nuggets are rich in fat, salt, sugar, and artificial ingredients, which can be dangerous for cats.

But a small bite or one every now and then is unlikely to harm your cat.

Was this post useful?

Click on a heart to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

James Fuller and Mollie

James Fuller

Founder & Chief Content Creator

I’ve owned a pet most of my life. In fact, I currently have both a cat, Milo, and a Jack Russel, Mollie! I’m the founder of Honest Whiskers. And my mission is to deliver a reliable, trusted website that only uses evidence-based information.

Dogs and Cat
Looking for pet food?

Save 30% on your next order

We have partnered with to give you the best deals on top brands of pet food. Simply click the button below and we’ll take you to their exclusive discount page!

Looking for pet food?

Save 30% on your next order

We have partnered with to give you the best deals on top brands of pet food. Simply click the button below and we’ll take you to their exclusive discount page!