Most owners know that the primary element of their cat’s diet should be protein derived from meat as this is how they derive their essential nutrition. And while chicken, beef, and fish are common ingredients in shop-bought food, is home-cooked chicken a nutritionally balanced meal for a Maine Coon?
Maine Coons can eat unseasoned, cooked chicken: it is an excellent source of protein. But on its own, it’s not nutritionally complete cat food. You can transform cooked chicken into a balanced Maine Coon meal by adding cat supplements. To ensure your Maine Coon’s safety, ensure you remove all chicken bones before serving.
How to make chicken a complete meal for Maine Coons
Like all cats, Maine Coons are obligate carnivores meaning they must eat meat-based protein for optimum. Nutrients only sourced by eating animals are crucial for their survival.
It’s easy to think chicken is a perfect Maine Coon food and though it is a great source of protein, it lacks certain nutrients.
Imagine a cat in the wild eating a chicken. It would eat more than just the flesh. It may sound unsavory, but eyes, organs, bones, and some feathers would also be devoured.
Each of these components of the bird contains unique vitamins and minerals which make a balanced diet. When a cat’s diet is created the aim is to replicate as closely as possible what it would eat naturally.
It’s not an exact science but cat vets and cat food manufacturers have undertaken years of testing and trialing to create the best possible balanced diets for our cats.
In order to transform a piece of cooked chicken into a complete, balanced meal for a Maine Coon you should ideally add some organ meat, such as heart, and ground bone. It is very important not to serve whole pieces of cooked chicken bone.
If you can’t face adding organs and ground bones to your Maine Coon’s chicken, a multi-nutrient supplement that contains taurine is ideal.
Life Extension Cat Mix is an advanced multi-nutrient that will ensure your cat gets a balanced diet when mixed with chicken. It’s conveniently available on Amazon – follow this link for more information.
Why Maine Coons should not eat cooked chicken bones
Never feed a Maine Coon (or any cat) cooked bones from chicken or any other meat. Cooking makes bones brittle. They can easily splinter causing a cat to choke and can also damage its intestines.
It is also easy for bones or bone splinters to cause a blockage in a cat’s digestive tract.
It is paramount to carefully remove every bone from chicken before serving it to a cat, and particularly look for tiny slivers that can easily be missed.
You can stew the bones up to make a tasty broth to add to your Maine Coon’s chicken dinner, just ensure you strain it carefully first.
How much cooked chicken should a Maine Coon eat?
The amount of chicken you feed your cat depends upon its life stage. For instance, Maine Coon kittens are best free-fed as they require lots of food whilst they are growing.
Once a Maine Coon has finished growing, if it is not over or underweight, it should be fed the right amount according to its body weight in order to maintain a healthy weight.
The rule of thumb for a cat is 30 calories per pound (450g) of body weight. A more active or an underweight cat will need more and a lazy, senior or inactive cat a little less.
Based on cooked chicken breast yielding approximately 165 calories per 3.5 ounces (100g), we’ve created this handy table to show the amount to feed the average Maine Coon.
This data assumes you are feeding your cat only chicken mixed with the necessary supplements.
|Maine Coon’s weight (lbs / kg)||Daily calories required||Amount of chicken per day (ounces / grams)|
|12 / 5.4||360||7.6 / 218|
|13 / 5.9||390||8.3 / 236|
|14 / 6.4||420||9 / 254|
|15 / 6.8||450||9.6 / 272|
|16 / 7.3||480||10.2 / 290|
|17 / 7.7||510||10.9 / 309|
|18 / 8.2||540||11.5 / 327|
|19 / 8.6||570||12.2 / 345|
|20 / 9.1||600||12.8 / 363|
Is chicken liver safe for Maine Coons?
Small amounts of chicken liver will not harm a Maine Coon. However, liver is rich in vitamin A and eating too much can lead to vitamin A toxicity in cats.
This is a serious condition that can result in deformed bones, bone growth in unwanted areas, and osteoporosis.
If you feed a Maine Coon chicken liver, err on the side of caution and don’t offer it every day. Though it is considered a superfood because it is nutrient-dense, it is easy to overfeed liver to a cat.
Can Maine Coons eat raw chicken?
Maine Coons can eat raw chicken but there are several things to be aware of. Chicken is prone to carrying bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli.
Both are destroyed by the cooking process. If you feed a Maine Coon raw chicken, there is a chance of bacterial infection occurring.
Raw meat of any kind can also harbor parasites. Again, these are destroyed by cooking.
If chicken is frozen for a minimum of three days, parasites are destroyed. This makes frozen chicken that’s then defrosted, a safer option as a raw food for cats. However, bacteria are not destroyed by freezing.
Assuming human-grade raw chicken is safe for Maine Coons is a common misconception because we always cook chicken before eating it.
Therefore, the ideal raw chicken for a Maine Coon is bought fresh from a trusted, clean source, frozen for three days, and then served as soon as it is defrosted.
Defrosted, frozen chicken wings are a great treat for a Maine Coon, or any cat. The bones are fine because they are raw not cooked. This is a great way to naturally care for a Maine Coon’s teeth.
Feeding Maine Coons day old chicks
Not everyone cherishes the thought of giving a Maine Coon day-old chicks and many people are not even sure what they are. Don’t feel bad if you can’t face giving these to your Maine Coon – we don’t give them to ours!
Day-old chicks come from certified hatcheries that breed chickens to provide the egg-laying industry. Obviously, male chicks are of no use for egg production. They are not of use for the meat industry either.
However, day-old chicks are a perfect food source for many animals, cats included. Once eggs are hatched, males are separated and humanely put to sleep. Only those of the best quality are processed and frozen.
Day-old chicks are a trusted food source because strict regulations and stringent health checks ensure the hens producing these eggs are extremely healthy and free from bacteria and parasites.
These chicks can be purchased online or at pet food stores and served to Maine Coons as part of their daily diet. Being whole, they are extremely nutritious. Some cats only play with them at first, but they usually eat them in the end.
For obvious reasons, day-old chicks are best served outdoors or in an area that can be easily cleaned afterward.
Can Maine Coons eat cooked chicken? Conclusion
Roasted, grilled, boiled or fried, Maine Coons will happily eat cooked chicken. They’ll even eat it raw. Serve it alongside other complete cat food or add supplements to convert it into a balanced meal.
Raw chicken wings make a great treat with the bonus of helping to clean your Maine Coon’s teeth. Day-old chicks are something to consider offering a Maine Coon – if you can stomach the idea.
Whatever you choose to feed your Maine Coon, ensure it has a diet that contains all the nutrition it needs to remain fit and healthy. Cooked chicken is definitely a food a Maine Coon will enjoy.