Chicken is one of the favorite meals of cats and this meat is commonly found in cat food. Cats are obligate carnivores, and meat is an essential part of their diet. Besides, cats are curious creatures who are always up for a good meal. It’s no wonder that they are fascinated with meat and bones!
Chicken can deliver numerous health benefits for your feline, but what about the bones? Can cats eat cooked chicken bones? Or are raw bones better for them? Today, I’m going to give you the answers to all of your chicken bone-related questions.
Let’s start with the fact that cats should never be consuming cooked chicken bones.
There are several reasons why, and you can find out more about those reasons and dangers below in the text. But what about raw bones? Are they as bad as cooked bones? Well, no! Raw chicken bones can be beneficial if you learn how to feed them to your furry friend adequately.
In this article, I will run through all the do’s and don’t of feeding your cat chicken bones, alongside what you should do if your cat eats cooked bones to ensure they are safe, happy, and healthy!
Can a Cat Eat Cooked Chicken Bones?
The short and sweet answer is no: cooked chicken bones are a huge no for felines! Cooked chicken bones are brittle, not flexible at all, and can fall apart into smaller sharp pieces that can hurt your cat or cause them to choke. These features mean these bones pose a danger to their health, so you should stay away from them.
But, if you’re wondering what exactly can happen and why these bones are so dangerous, let’s get more into detail.
1. Cooked Bones Are Sharp and Brittle
Although most people are under the impression that cats are fine when they eat bones, no matter if cooked or raw, that’s not true. Unlike raw chicken bones that are slightly flexible, cooked bones are extremely brittle. When your cat starts eating these bones, they will break into small, sharp pieces. Imagine how dangerous these sharp pieces can be!
The sharp shards can easily hurt their mouth, gums, get stuck in their throat, between their teeth, and cause cuts in the mouth. In a worse scenario, the shards can lead to cuts in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. The cuts will result in pain, bleeding and are a possibly life-threatening condition that requires medical help. Also, holes that happen due to a bone shard are a source of bacterial infections.
2. Cooked Bones Can Cause Obstruction
Cooked bones are also less likely to break or bend than raw bones. This means that if your cat eats a large chunk, it could get stuck somewhere along its digestive system.
If they get stuck in your cat’s mouth, it could force their jaw to stay open and make them extremely uncomfortable. In a worse scenario, they could also get lodged in your feline’s throat, which could lead to choking, suffocation, and death. Blockages further down their gastrointestinal tract such as in the intestines could result in severe stomach cramps and the inability to go to the bathroom properly.
3. Can Contain Toxic Ingredients
If you cooked chicken for lunch, and now you want to feed your cat with the leftover bones, stop what you’re doing.
When people cook chicken, they tend to add herbs and spices so that the meal tastes better. However, these seasonings can have a toxic effect on your furry friend. That’s why there are special foods for cats that should always be your only choice! Garlic and onion are the two seasonings that cats have to stay away from which can lead to severe poisoning and, in worst cases, death.
What to Do If Your Cat Eats Cooked Chicken Bones
If your cat has managed to get its paws on cooked chicken bones, you have to act fast. When you catch your cat with a bone in its mouth, try to take away the bone right away. Use a gentle approach so that you don’t scare your furry friend and ease the bone from its grip.
In some cases, you won’t get there quick enough to take the bone away from them. In the best scenario, the bone will work its way through your cat’s digestive system without causing any problems.
However, if you know that your feline has eaten cooked bones, you have to watch it for the next few days and make sure there aren’t any strange, concerning symptoms, which include:
- Losing interest in eating
- Bone shards in stool
- Bloating in the abdominal area
- Bloody stool
- Stomach pain
If any of these symptoms appear, it’s time to call the vet. This is an emergency situation, so don’t hesitate to call. Also, if your cat has no symptoms but you don’t see the bone come out after a few days, that’s another reason to be concerned and to ask for professional help. If there’s a cut with bleeding or a lodged bone, the cat will probably require surgery. The faster you act, the better.
To help reduce the risk of this happening again in the future, you must know how to properly dispose of cooked chicken bones in the garbage. Ensure that the bones are disposed of in a garbage bag that’s tied, thrown in a bin, away from the reach of your cat. All these precaution matters will help you feel secure from unwanted medical emergencies.
Can a Cat Eat Raw Chicken Bones?
Raw chicken bones are a whole different story.
It’s in a cat’s nature to want to eat bones, and it’s in their genes that their stomach knows how to digest them. Raw bones are flexible and don’t fall apart into sharp fragments. Therefore, they are not a health risk and are not likely to cause internal injuries, bleeding, obstruction, and more.
In fact, according to most professionals, they are not only safe, but they can be beneficial for cats in several ways. Although not all experts agree on this subject, the majority will approve of giving raw bones to felines as long as you go by specific rules. Here are all the great benefits of feeding your cat raw chicken bones.
1. Great Source of Calcium
Raw chicken bones are rich in calcium. It’s a mineral that supports cats’ health in numerous ways. First of all, calcium helps the ingestion and proper use of other nutrients, including zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, copper, and more. Calcium also promotes the good health of numerous systems and organs such as the heart, brain, muscles, bones.
In fact, a lack of calcium in the body can cause a range of conditions, especially bone issues such as broken bones, arthritis, and weak joints. However, a lack of calcium has also been linked with heart issues, skin conditions, problems with their coat, weakness, muscle spasms, weak and brittle nails, depression, irritability, tremors, vomiting, seizures, and more! Adding raw bones from time to time can help your feline friend get extra calcium in their diet.
2. Great Source of Other Nutrients
Some of the other nutrients that raw bones can deliver are potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron, which are all also beneficial to your cat and required for the normal functioning of its body. With the proper guide on how to give raw bones and approval from your vet, you’ll be able to boost your cat’s diet with vitamins and minerals.
3. Promote Gum and Teeth Health
Cats don’t brush their teeth, so they need all the help they can get regarding oral hygiene. Raw bones are a great way to help with just that! Chewing and eating on a bone will clean any food residue that has accumulated on a cat’s teeth and remove existing plaque. Preventing plaque accumulation will further prevent caries, gum disease, bad breath.
Additionally, the chewing motion has a massaging effect, similar to the one toothbrush has on your gums. This motion can also help to strengthen the teeth and gums. You might even end up saving on vet costs because your pet’s teeth and gums will be in better health.
How to Feed a Cat Raw Chicken Bones
Although raw chicken bones bring certain benefits to the table, you should know how often and how many to give to your feline. Feeding a cat with bones every single day is not a great idea. Also, not all chicken bones are the same, so you have to be picky and know exactly what you’re supposed to give and what not.
1. Choose the Right Chicken Bones
The raw bones shouldn’t be too small, but they shouldn’t be too big either. If there’s a chance that the cat can swallow the bone, then it’s too small. Small bones are more likely to get stuck and cause a range of problems, even if it’s raw. The best size is one of chicken wings, drumsticks, or necks. Large marrow bones are also a no as they can harm the cat’s teeth or even break them.
The bones should also be fresh and free of preservatives. Continuous ingestion of preservatives can cause vitamin deficiency and lead to more severe problems. Also, be sure that there was no seasoning or spices added to the chicken, which could be toxic to your cat.
The raw bones that you’ll feed your cat should also be stripped of meat. Raw meat can be a source of salmonella, and that’s a dangerous bacteria for both humans and pets. You don’t want your cat ending up with an infection at the emergency vet.
2. Don’t Feed Them Bones Every Day
A cat’s digestive system will take time to digest the bones fully, and so feeding them with bones a few days in a row can lead to constipation. Therefore, make sure that the meals are a few days apart, and never give your furry friend raw bones two days in a row. Giving cats bones once or twice per week is more than enough.
3. Watch as They Eat
Supervision is a must! Yes, it sounds weird, but you should watch your cat while it is eating bones. This is the best way to ensure that it bites and chews on the bones rather than swallowing the entire thing. The best way to teach your cat how to eat bones properly is while it’s still a kitten. If you start them young, they will learn how to chew on bones safely.
4. Talk to Your Vet
Everything that you give your cat as a part of the diet should be vet-approved. Before deciding whether raw chicken bones are acceptable or not, talk to your vet. It’s always best to get professional advice. This is even more important if your feline has certain medical conditions.
Can cats eat cooked chicken bones? No, they can’t, and they shouldn’t. They are brittle and break into small pieces, as well as being inflexible. This can result in many health problems which can easily turn into life-threatening conditions that require medical help. So, giving cooked bones is not worth the risk.
If your cat ever eats cooked chicken bones, you should keep a close eye out for symptoms such as vomiting, bloody stools, abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, or increased lethargy. After noticing any of these, or if your cat doesn’t pass the bone in a few days you should consult a veterinarian.
Raw chicken bones, on the other hand, are much safer. They can even be beneficial to your cat’s health by providing calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins and improve their oral hygiene. Now that you know all this new information about cooked and raw chicken bones, will you ever decide to give your furry friend bones? If your answer is yes, don’t forget to talk to your vet and stick only to raw bones!
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