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Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones?

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

Let’s say you just finished a few crispy pieces of chicken, and you have nothing but the bones left. Perhaps your feline friend looks with expectancy as they want you to share the wealth.

Can cats eat chicken bones? The answer is yes, but with stipulations. There are only certain kinds of bones that you can offer your cat, and you should be aware of the risks. Keep reading to learn more about how to give your cat chicken bones.

What to Do if Your Cat Ate Chicken Bones?

Cats Eat Chicken Bones
Can cats Eat Chicken Bones?

In the instance that your cat has no problems with eating and digesting the bones, be careful how you offer them for future reference. Never let them eat the bones without monitoring.

Other cats may have a different reaction and experience a subtle stomach ache for a few days after consumption. Remember, if they experience a blockage and have to get surgery, they might not survive it. Their chances of making it through the operation are higher the earlier you get the blockage diagnosed.

Can cats have chicken bones if you watch them closely? What if you watch then but the bone still gets stuck?

If your cat happens to eat a chicken bone then it’s likely that your veterinarian will want to perform a test to rule out harmful effects. The course of action will most likely involve x-rays of your cat’s stomach.

If the situation doesn’t seem too serious then the veterinarian will likely suggest that your cat simply needs to be monitored. However, if the cat shows signs of illness then taking him to the hospital to be monitored might be in his best interest.

Just be sure to do exactly what your veterinarian advises you to do, and be certain that you are aware of the signs. 

In more severe cases your vet may suspect that there’s a tear or even a blockage in your cat’s gastrointestinal tract. This situation requires major surgery to remove any blockages and repair any damage if necessary.

The cat will be hospitalized for several days afterward and it will take up to a few weeks for your cat to recover completely. In a worst-case scenario, a cat may not recover from injuries sustained after eating a chicken bone.

What Happens if a Cat Eats Chicken Bones?

The types of bones that cats can eat are the raw bones from chicken and lamb. The drum sticks, wings, and legs are suitable bones to give your cat, as well as the lamb shanks. Never give your cat cooked bones.

Cooked bones are softer and more prone to splintering. If your cat was to get pieces of the bone stuck in their throat or stomach it could cause a blockage or internal damage such as a tear. Also, keep in mind that too many raw bones can cause constipation.

Here are common digestive complications with cats eating chicken bones:

A Tear or Blockage:

One of the most significant risks that come with a cat eating chicken bones is a tear or blockage in the gastrointestinal tract. Both issues would require major surgery to correct. The shards of cooked bones may also puncture a vital organ should your cat decide to continue eating them as they break apart.

So, can cats eat raw chicken bones then?

Though they are the safer option, raw chicken bones still lose a threat. The odds of a blockage or tear are less likely, but still possible.

Choking Hazard:

Depending on the size of the bones, your cat could choke on the small fragments while trying to gnaw on them. If it gets stuck in their esophagus and they can’t shake their heads enough to dislodge it, they can suffocate while struggling to breathe.

Always remember to call the vet immediately if you see this happening.

Bacterial Infections That Cause Illness:

Salmonella is still an issue that could make your cat ill. Since this type of bacteria is transmittable from animals to humans, you must be cautious with family members in close contact.

If your cat is infected, the poisoning can get transferred via saliva and feces for months after the fact. Senior citizens and children are particularly vulnerable to bacterial illnesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning cat’s eating chicken bones:

1. What are the signs to look out for if my cat eats chicken bones?

You should always contact a veterinarian to be on the safe side, but if you see the following signs, give them a call:

1. A bloated belly
2. No bowel movements
3. Vomiting
4. Discomfort or pain such as growling when you rub their belly
5. Decrease in eating and drinking
6. Being lethargic

2. How long does it take for a cat to pass a chicken bone?

A bone that becomes lodged in the digestive process can be uncomfortable and be extremely dangerous. If you become aware that your cat has ingested something dangerous, contact your veterinarian right away.

After your cat has ingested something it can take anywhere from 10-24 hours to travel the entirety of the digestive tract.

3. Can cats chew on bones as toys?

Cat’s can indeed chew on bones, it’s not only something that dogs can enjoy. Moreover, chewing on bones can provide significant benefits for cats, this includes being a source and entertainment for the cat and cleaning their teeth all at the same time.

4. Can I add raw chicken bones to my cat’s diet?

If you wish to start your cat on a raw diet, using raw bones from small animals such as birds is ideal.
In the wild, cats have been hunting prey and surviving long before they became domesticated. That means that your domesticated cat can chew and eat bones too.

Choose small birds such as chickens and turkeys because consuming them decreases the chances of gastrointestinal problems and even suffocation if it becomes stuck.

5. What are some alternatives to giving cat chicken bones?

Bone broth is indeed a tasty alternative for cats in place of chicken bones. It has a great assortment of healthy nutrients and is harmless all at the same time. Be sure to use homemade bone broth to avoid any unwanted additives.

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About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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