Cats love eating meat and 99% of your cat’s diet should be from a good meat source. Through the process of domestication, many cat owners have been feeding their cats human food as a treat or part of their diet.
One common food item that many cat parents have been feeding their cats is cooked chicken bones.
But how safe it is for our cats when it comes to eating cooked chicken bones?
You should not be feeding your cat any form of cooked chicken bones as it can harm your cat. Cooked chicken bones are very brittle and can splinter when chewed on by your cat. The splintered parts can injure your cats when swallowed.
The article will further dive into the dangers of eating cooked chicken bones for your pets and what are the safe alternatives.
Can Cats Digest Chicken Bones?
Before the invention of cat food and treats, cats were pretty much in charge of their own food. They were kept as pets for their superior hunting skills and their food source was mainly the rodents and small critters which they caught.
The cats will eat up the entire prey including the organs, meat, skin and bones.
Being obligate carnivores, cats have the ability to digest bones from animals. Even though a full-grown chicken might not be on a cat’s menu due to its size, a younger chick is game for the cat.
So when feeding your cat bones, always make sure that it is raw bones and not cooked bones. And secondly, smaller bones might work better for your cat.
There are a couple of risks to your cat’s health if it consumes cooked chicken bones on a regular basis.
Cooked Bones Are Brittle And Dangerous
As humans, eating cooked bones can be a delicacy for some. But when it comes to cats, it definitely isn’t. When eating cooked bones, we go for the marrow and cartilage while discarding the main bone.
Cats on the other hand will attempt to eat the cooked chicken bones because it regards it as food and part of their diet.
They won’t able to realize that cooked chicken bones pose a danger to their health.
Cooked bones are very brittle that can break and splinter very easily into small sharp pieces. These small pieces can piece and cut into your cat’s mouth and throat when it tries to swallow the cooked bones.
This can cause serious internal damage and bleeding to your poor cat.
Cooked Bones Are An Obstructive Hazard
Cooked chicken bones are less flexible than raw chicken bones and can become a choking hazard.
This can happen if your cat has a large bone fragment that is stuck in its mouth and has problems dislodging it.
Another more serious scenario is for the cooked bones to be stuck in your cat’s throat which can lead to choking and suffocating.
When cats eat chicken bones that are cooked, there is a very high risk of choking to death.
Cooked Bones Can Contain Harmful Ingredients
It is not very often that we eat our cooked food natural and without any flavoring. We usually tend to season our food with herbs, salt, pepper and a whole load of other ingredients.
Even though these ingredients can be perfectly fine for human consumption, there are many common ingredients that are toxic to our feline friends.
If you have used ingredients like garlic, onion, scallions, shallots or anything related, these are highly toxic to cats.
Cooking food in alcohol is also a common method but can be poisonous to cats when consumed.
What To Do If Your Cat Has Eaten A Cooked Bone?
Most cats will be fine if they happen to consume a small amount of cooked bones out of curiosity.
But to be on the safe side, make sure to closely observe your cat for the next 24-48 hours to make sure that there is no impact on your cat’s health.
Look out for symptoms like nausea, lack of appetite, bleeding, loose stools or stomach bloating. Rush your cat to the vet if it does show any of these symptoms.
To be on the same safe, I would strongly recommend that you bring your cat to the vet if it does consume any cooked chicken bones.
Your vet can do an x-ray to make sure there no damage has been done.
What Type Of Bones Can Cats Eat?
The most important thing to remember when feeding your cat chicken bones or any bone is that it has to be raw!
Raw chicken bones are fine for cats as they do not splinter which can cause internal damage or become a choking hazard for your cat.
There are a few other important points to note when feeding your cat raw bones.
Speak To Your Vet First
If this is your first time attempting to feed raw bones to your cat, it is a good idea to speak to a vet who understands the benefits of feeding raw meat or bones to cats.
I have personally encountered many vets who will always discourage raw feeding even though it is one of the best diets for cats. So speak to one who is more well rounded when it comes to feline diet and nutrition.
Most cats can handle eating raw bones but if your cat has an existing dental or health condition then your vet might advise against it.
Make Sure The Bone Is From A Poultry Source
Even though cats are fine eating beef and lamb, the bones from these animals aren’t part of a cat’s natural diet.
You won’t find a stray or domestic cat trying to take down a cow in the wild and start chewing on its thigh bone.
It would be best to feed your cat bones from birds like turkey, chicken, ducks, goose and cornish hen.
Do not feed your fat raw fish bones as it is very sharp and pointed even when raw. This can cause serious harm to your cat. Furthermore raw fish contains an enzyme called Thiaminase that can hinder the absorption of vitamin B in your cat and cause a deficiency.
Make Sure That The Bone Is The Right Size
Depending on how old your cat is, the size of the bone matters. Even though eating raw bones are much safer for cats, you want to give your cat a bone size that is manageable. Bones from the ribs or wings are usually more suitable for cats or all ages.
Start Your Cat On Raw Bones When Young
If you plan to feed your cat raw chicken bones, it would be best to do it when it is still a kitten or a young adult.
This gives them more time to figure out how to eat and chew on bones. Don’t give your kitten bones when it is still on milk formula. Wait until it is comfortable with eating solid food before doing so.
And for young cats, ensure that the bone size is small enough for them to chew on.
Benefits Of Feeding Raw Chicken Bones
Raw chicken bones or animal bones have some health benefits for your cat. Chewing on raw bones will help keep your cat’s teeth clean and give its jaw a good workout.
Please note that eating dry cat food or kibbles does not have the same effect as raw bones even though it is ‘hard’. Dry food has been known to be unhealthy for cats in the long run.
Raw bones are filled with good nutrients and minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. All important nutrients to help support a healthy cat.
Warnings About Feeding Raw Bones
Just because it is healthy to feed your cat raw chicken bones or animals bones does not mean that it should be fed in large quantities.
Bones are high in calcium and phosphorus which are important nutrients for your cat. But too much of it can cause bone issues and impact cats with kidney problems.
A good rule of thumb is to make raw bones 7-10% of your cat’s daily diet. This will be a sufficient amount for most cats and meet their calcium requirements.
Feeding Your Cat A Raw Meat Diet
If you are already feeding your cat raw bones or plan to, then it would make more sense to switch your cat to a raw meat diet if it isn’t already so.
Cats are pure carnivores which means that they only need meat protein to survive. Cats have evolved to not require any need carbs in their diet which is commonly found in dry cat food.
By feeding your cat a raw meat diet, you are giving your cat its most natural diet which is very healthy for them.
It does take some trial and error to get the details right but in the long run, it is beneficial for your cat.
Can I Feed My Cat Cooked Chicken Neck?
No, you should never be feeding your cat cooked chicken neck based on the health risk that cooked chicken bones pose to cats.
Some vets don’t recommend feeding raw chicken necks to cats due to the shape and size of the bones that are found in the neck of birds. But if you do wish to feed your cat raw or cooked chicken meat on a daily basis, that is fine for your cat.
Can Cats Eat Chicken Wing Bones?
Raw chicken wing bones are usually the best type of raw bones that you can feed your cat. The bones from the chicken wings are usually a lot smaller and thinner than from the thigh. This makes chicken wing bones perfect for young cats or cats who don’t have much experience when it comes to eating bones.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Chicken Cartilage?
Even though cooked chicken cartilage isn’t as brittle or dangerous as cooked chicken bone, I would still strongly recommend giving your cat raw chicken cartilage as it is more tender. Cartilage is good for your cat as it helps clean out your cat’s teeth and gums.
Always remember not to feed your cat any form of cooked bones as it is dangerous for them. If your cat has a soft spot for animal bones, make sure to dispose of your cooked bones properly to prevent your cat from getting to them.
If you have yet to try feeding your cat raw bones, it might be a good time to try. Your cat will find it interesting and fun to have something different to snack on.