Waste Not, Want Not

C&O with chicken treatsWhen mom first started making us raw food*, she left all the skin on the chicken. After a few months of eating this delicious concoction, we all started getting a little fluffy, as mom called it. A review of the website that the recipe came from said to remove some of the skin from the chicken if that happened.

Back then, mom was making 30+ pounds of food at a time. So by the time she removed about a third of the skin, that was a lot of skin. She hated to see it go to waste but didn’t know what she could do with it. She thought about the dogs she had as pet sitting clients and wondered if she could make a dog treat out of it, like jerky. She baked it in the oven until it was dry and crispy. It made a pretty good treat but it smelled up the house and left a tray full of fat. Now she had all that fat to dispose of. So for the next couple of years, all that skin just went in the trash.

Fast forward to our new house, where she has to store the trash for a few weeks and then take it to the dump herself. Once again, the idea of all that skin, even though there is less now, sitting in the trash just didn’t appeal to her and she wondered what could be done about it.

Somewhere along the line, probably while looking at recipes and trying to decide what to fix herself for dinner, she ran across the idea of schmaltz. Brilliant, she thought. It would use both the skin and the fat if she liked the results.

She was a little skeptical at first, but because she wanted to use up that skin, she decided to give it a try. She removed the skin from eight thighs and popped it in the freezer for a while to make it easier to chop up. Once chopped, it goes in a pan with some water. As the water heats up, it renders the fat from the skin. When the water evaporates, the skin starts to fry and brown in the rendered fat. In traditional schmaltz, when this starts happening you add a chopped onion, which mom did the first time she made it. The schmaltz is done when the skin and onion are brown and crispy-chewy but the oil is still clear and golden. The skin and onion can be used like croutons to top a salad or soup and mom says the oil makes killer fried potatoes, among other things.

How to Make Chicken Cat Treats from Chicken Skin

So, you know how one thing leads to another for humans. She decided not to put onion in it the second time she made it so she could try making treats for us again from the skin. (Once the fat is rendered, the connective tissue that’s left is pure protein.) She forgot to cut it up that time but decided that actually was better for treats. It’s easier to break it into pieces after it’s cooked crispy enough than it is to cut the raw skin. If it comes out less than crispy, just cut or tear it into pieces. We won’t mind either way!

Making chicken cat treats from chicken skin

Put skin in a large pan with water

Making chicken cat treats from chicken skin

Once the water evaporates, the skin will brown


Cool the fat then pour it into a container to store in the refrigerator

Drain the skin

Drain the skin

Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator

Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator

Now you may not make your own cat food, but you may buy skinless chicken for yourself. Next time, consider buying chicken with the skin on, removing it yourself and making some cat treats. Your kitties will thank you for it, especially if they love bacon. It’s almost as tasty and much better for us.

Mom also had a brainstorm about what to do with the oil rather than using it for cooking — but that’s a story for another post.

cat taking treat from hand

Happy nomming,

Christy Paws

* Since mom wrote this post, catinfo.org has slightly changed their recipe and instructions. Please check out catinfo.org if you are considering making raw/homemade cat food.


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23 Responses to Waste Not, Want Not

  1. ASH Green says:

    One of the best articles that I’ve read in a very long time! I Took notes and surely gonna implement and test bunch of stuff you talked about.
    You’re a beast! Cheers, Ash

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  4. Mom eats Low Carb and chicken chips are one of the suggested snacks!! Maybe we’ll talk her into making some.

    The Florida Furkids

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  9. Penelope says:

    Wowwzers that sounds great! My hairy slobbery sister Cinnamon LOVES chicken snacks and those sound purrfect! Too bad she is in BC and wes in Calgary.

  10. Deziz World says:

    Wow dat’s so cool. We wish mommy kuld afford to feed us da raw diet. We fink dat wuld make sis Lexi happy and purrawlly eat.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  11. Noodle says:


    Noodle and crew

  12. Your mom is a very good cook ! Purrs

  13. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    whoa…christy…yur mom used de B werd….A LOT in thiz post

    { burd }


  14. Oh yum yum, nom!! I might decide to move in with you!!

  15. Raven says:

    That’s a good way to use the skin and not have it go to waste.

  16. Oh yes, schmaltz is a big deal in our culture! Our mom’s M-I-L used to cook with it ALL the TIME but our mom makes homemade matzo ball soup from beef bones, not chicken, no no schmaltz at our house. We’re SO bummed…

  17. Your mom is so creative! We’re lucky if we can get our mom to open a can of food for us (though seriously, she does feed us good canned foods).

  18. Summer says:

    Wow, that sounds SOOOO tasty! Yum! I have to pass this recipe along to my human!

  19. Waht a furabuluss idea…mee LadyMum iss Jewish-Mewish an shee said Shmaltz iss nommie good….so now mee hass to talk her into makin sum fur mee to try 😉
    Yur furend, Siddhartha =^..^=

  20. Sandi says:

    I’ll definitely have to try this one!

  21. Ellen Pilch says:

    You sure are lucky your mom does all that work for you. Imake some chicken breast for Lucy every week and once in a while try to make a treat, but that is it.

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