Sniffles, sneezes and coughs announce the arrival of flu season, and giving your cat chicken broth might pop in your head.
Flu season is a miserable snot-encrusted affair for everyone, including those that remain healthy. There is a bright side, however, and not only those seen during high-fever delirium. It is also a time where the sick get cared for by their loved ones.
A care that starts with the comfort of hot chicken broth. Cats are spared from catching our colds, but they have their own versions of the cold to deal with. In that case you may want to care for your furry friend with a nice bowl of chicken broth.
Can I Give My Cat Chicken Broth? Answer: Occasionally.
Even cats can appreciate a warm bowl of chicken broth, so long as it does not contain anything else. The best would be homemade chicken broth, not only because it shows you really care but also because most of the commercially available kinds contain large quantities of sodium. Salt is a great flavor enhancer to us, but a danger to cats’ delicate electrolyte balance.
The average chicken broth purchased at the supermarket may also contain vegetables and spices that may be toxic to cats, such as garlic and onion. Cooking up broth for them is easy and much safer. Just boil the chicken meat, pick out the bones, and leave them the tasty broth.
Just Plain Chicken Flavor
There are many foods that are tasty and health for us that can be problematic for cats. Chicken broth is usually extremely salty, so beware of this when purchasing it ready-made at the supermarket. Cats are not big drinkers so they are particularly vulnerable to salt which disrupts their electrolyte balance. Common additions to chicken broth, such as onions, garlic, and related vegetables are actually poisonous to cats so should be avoided at all costs. Vegetables as a whole can pretty much be ignored in a cat’s diet since they are pure carnivores.
They normally get the necessary vegetable nutrients from the internal contents of their kills. Cats lack the enzymes necessary to break down dairy products like milk and cheese, so don’t add these to your broth because it won’t make them feel better. Other foods that are considered dangerous to cats, but unlike to be in your chicken broth are raisins, grapes, chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts, and avocados. Avoid mushrooms too, just to be safe.
An irritated stomach and the resulting vomiting and diarrhea is not immediately life-threatening to a cat. Nevertheless, the loss of fluid they experience can lead to dehydration. Chicken broth can ensure that a cat remains well-hydrated when their stomach is upset. It has the added advantage that chicken is extremely gentle on the feline stomach and will provide nourishment without further upsetting it.
Providing wet food can also reduce the chances of a cat becoming dehydrated. They also love drinking flowing water, so run a tap or get them a little pet fountain to encourage them to keep drinking. Proper hydration is very important. It is one of the reasons chicken broth helps us recover from illness as well.
The Veterinarian is Better Than Chicken Soup
Humans can’t catch a cold from their cat, so when your feline friend starts displaying symptoms at least you don’t have to worry about the whole household getting sick. Unless, of course, you have more cats. In that case it might be a good idea to quarantine the sick one, because cat colds are highly contagious. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and wheezing. Some might have teary eyes and difficulty breathing.
With a bit of care (and if they are lucky some chicken broth) cats will recover from the infection in about a week. However, complications may arise if the infection spreads to the lungs so it is best to bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as the first symptoms appear. A veterinarian is always better than chicken broth, although your cat will probably disagree, violently.
Chicken Broth is OK for Cats
Provided the chicken broth is pure, cats can consume it without any difficulty. In fact, it may encourage them to drink some more and prevent dehydration. Consult a veterinarian as soon as possible if you recognize that your cat is sick. Chicken broth may be helpful, but professional care is always better.