Cats love to eat chicken, which can be a healthy part of their diets. But what about chicken bones? Can cats eat them?
A chicken bone can be a temptation for your pet that is difficult to resist. So, the answer is yes, cats can eat them, and they can be quite healthy for your feline friend, but make sure to feed them only raw bones.
These bones can be a good source of minerals. However, whether raw or cooked chicken bones, there are some risks related to feeding chicken bones to cats.
If you want to know more about these risks and what to do if your cat ate a chicken bone, then you are in the right place. So, let’s begin.
Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones?
As you know that cats are obligate carnivores. With that being said, they eat the meat as well as the bones of the animals that they catch. By nature, they mainly depend on a raw food diet and don’t cook meat or meat by-products. Raw food provides more benefits to felines compared to cooked food.
Although your kitty can consume cooked chicken, don’t let her eat cooked chicken bones. As not all chicken bones are safe for your feline friend to ingest. Cooked bones might seem tasty, but they can be pretty dangerous.
Raw Chicken Bones
In the case of felines, raw chicken bones are safe, rich in nutrients, and easy to digest compared to cooked ones. If you are confused about how raw chicken bones will help your cat, you can ask your vet.
He will guide you completely in this regard and also how to introduce them to your cat’s diet. You will notice a clear difference in her health after doing so.
Well, let’s look at how these raw bones benefit your cat.
Benefits of Raw Chicken Bones For Cats
Raw chicken bones provide numerous health benefits to your cats. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Some of the benefits of these raw chicken bones include:
Great Source of Calcium
Calcium is found in high amounts in raw bones and bone meals. It is essential to strengthen your cat’s bones and teeth and keep them healthy. On top of that, calcium also enhances the bio-availability of other nutrients like copper, zinc, vitamin A, D, and E.
More specifically, calcium in raw chicken bones helps your cat’s body to use other essential nutrients effectively. These nutrients are necessary for a healthy brain, bones, muscles, and organ health.
Further, calcium deficiency causes arthritis, coat and skin problems, broken bones, heart arrhythmias, and weakness. Feeding raw bones to your cat occasionally can help her with calcium intake.
Improved Oral Health
These raw chicken bones offer internal benefits to cats and keep your cat’s mouth healthy. Along with satisfying her chewing instinct, they will naturally clean her teeth of tartar and plaque buildup. This healthy chewing will also strengthen your cat’s teeth and tooth enamel.
Along with the benefits, raw chicken bones also pose some risks to your felines. They contain dangerous bacteria like salmonella or campylobacter that can make your cat unwell. These bacteria are also called “zoonoses,” as they can be transferred from animals to humans.
These food poisoning bacteria can pass through your pet’s saliva or feces to humans once she gets infected. Children, young as well as immunosuppressed people, are at higher risk in this case. However, these bacteria can also cause illness in your young or healthy adult cat.
Types of Raw Bones
For cats, the best bones are usually the neck, drumsticks, and wing bones. While chicken rib bones are pretty thin and it’s like chewing needles. For cats, bones should be large enough to chew without swallowing.
Large bones can damage your cat’s teeth; therefore, go for medium-sized. Raw bones are usually best, but they should be fed without garlic or onions as they are bad for your cat’s health. While cats chew bones, cat owners need to supervise them.
Precautions About Raw Chicken Bones
Unlike cooked chicken bones, raw bones are not so brittle. In the case of wild felines, they consume their prey raw and nibble on bones. However, these bones should be fresh and free of preservatives that might cause fatal vitamin deficiency.
Salmonella found in raw bones is toxic to cats, similar to humans. If your cat chokes a chicken bone, try to pull her tongue to remove it. If it does not work, she shakes her head upside down by her back legs. Another thing you can do is compress your palms under the ribs in a kitty version of the Heimlich Maneuver.
Cooked Chicken Bones
Different vets have different opinions about giving raw chicken bones to cats. However, they all agree that cooked bones are a big no for felines. There are certain health risks in case your cats eat cooked chicken bones.
Blockage in the Gut
The significant health risk when cats eat chicken bones is that they might get a gastrointestinal blockage. Consequently, your cat must undergo major surgery, which can be risky.
However, a cooked bone is more harmful to felines than a raw bone. That’s because the heating process makes them brittle; as a result, there are more chances to splinter into sharp shards if your pet decides to chew one.
This not only makes your cat’s gut tear but also causes damage to the cat’s internal organs by making them puncture.
Even if the risk is lower, raw chicken bones still have a chance to cause blockage in the gastrointestinal tract.
While your pet is trying to eat this treat, a bone might accidentally be lodged in your cat’s throat. It leads to difficulty in breathing, and she could even suffocate. Small bones can also get stuck in her mouth and are difficult to remove.
As a result, your pet starts showing discomfort. Also, it can lead to injury of soft tissues in your cat’s mouth. Not only this, but your pet becomes unable to close his mouth entirely or shake her head forcibly to get rid of the bone. If this situation happens, it’s best to take veterinary advice to avoid more complications.
They Can Be Toxic
You probably add spices, herbs, and other ingredients to cooked chicken to enhance its flavor. Doing so has adverse effects on your furry friend as these added ingredients harm them.
These herbs and spices that humans can consume are toxic to cats. The high amounts of onion and garlic powder can make your cat sick and lethal. Such ingredients get absorbed in the bones when you marinate or cook chicken.
Moreover, cooked bones have fewer nutrients compared to raw ones. The reason is that calcium and other minerals become leeched out while cooking.
What Happens If My Cat Eats Chicken Bones?
Cats are curious creatures, and with that being said, they sometimes ingest things that shouldn’t. If your cat ate some cooked chicken bones, keep a close eye on her for the next few days.
If your cat ingests some bone shards, the first thing you need to do is to call your veterinarian immediately. Let him know the whole situation of your pet. That’s because the next few days after can be critical for her.
Being a good cat owner, observe your pet closely to make sure that bone shards are not causing any harm to her digestive system while passing. Sometimes, signs and symptoms of internal blockage might appear. These include:
- Bloody stools
- Bone shards in stool
In case of any of these symptoms, get your cat checked by a vet without delaying any further time. Treatment is necessary as severe harm or even death can occur in a critical situation. In case of gastrointestinal blockage in cats, emergency surgery is essential to correct the problem.
Mostly, when ingesting raw bones, your pet will recover on her own, but that’s not the case every time. Letting her check as soon as possible is quite important.
In short, avoid giving cooked bones to your cat. If you had a turkey leg or some chicken wings in your dinner, make sure to dispose of these wing bones properly. Don’t let your cats chew, mainly cooked ones, regardless of how cute they look while begging for it.
Tips To Follow While Giving Your Cat Chicken Bones
Many cat parents want to give this treat to their pets. If your cat loves to eat raw chicken bones, you must be cautious while giving them to your pet.
Here are a few simple things that need to be considered when cats eat chicken bones:
- Always take your vet’s permission before feeding your cat raw bones
- Keep an eye on your pet while offering her some of them
- Make sure that you are giving them the correct size.
- Consider these bones from birds such as chickens, turkeys, and Cornish hens.
- Feeding your cat raw bones while she is still a young kitten is a good idea. Doing this will help her figure out how to chem them safely at an early stage.
If you still want to feed some to your pet, it’s better to supplement her food with a homemade bone broth. According to the pet parent’s choice, broths are rich in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients and are free from preservatives, additives, and other junk. Avoid adding garlic and onions to the homemade broth.
Ways To Treat Your Cat That Ate A Chicken Bone
If your cat ate chicken bones, your vet would take her tummy’s x-ray to know the bone size and how much it is problematic. He might ask you to monitor your pet at home.
Some general advice for home monitoring of cats eating chicken bones include:
- Feed your cat a bland food that helps digest the bone and its sharp edges that might pass through her gut.
- Provide your pet plenty of fresh water to prevent her from getting dehydrated.
- Observe your cat’s stool carefully to check whether these fragments of a bone are present in feces. If not, it might be a sign of blockage.
If required, your vet will do surgery to remove the blockage. In the worst-case scenario, recovering your pet after ingesting cooked bones might not be possible.
To summarize the above discussion, eating bones is suitable for cats, but only if they are raw. Such bones are rich in minerals like calcium and vitamins. They help in maintaining oral health in felines.
However, on the other hand, cooked chicken bones are toxic to cats and might cause blockage in your cat’s gut. If your cat consumes some of them, keep an eye on her for any symptoms.
If the situation gets worst, call your vet immediately. If you want to give them some raw bones, ensure they have the right size to avoid complications.
FAQs About Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones?
What Are Safe Alternatives To Cats?
Instead of eating cooked chicken bones, let your cat eat raw bones. Another safe option for cats is poultry bones, particularly if you want to feed them wing, toe, or wingtip bones.
Instead of giving them whole bones, feed them ground-up. Visit any meat department at a local grocery store and ask about “meat sawdust,” dust that arises when a butcher cuts meat into pieces. You can mix it into dry kibble or wet food so your pet can get essential vitamins and bone minerals.
Can Eating A Chicken Bone Kill Cats?
Certain vets might feel different when cats eat raw chicken bones. However, animal experts agree that feeding your cat-cooked bones is not good. It might cause serious harm to the cat’s entire body or, in some cases, cause death.