Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones?

The British cat, shot in an indoor
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Chicken bones may be the most common type of bone found in households across the U.S. With such a strong presence, it is important to know if chicken bones are safe to share with cats who would enjoy eating them.

Can cats eat chicken bones?

As obligate carnivores, cats need to include meat in their diets. Chicken bones can be an enjoyable and beneficial addition but these chicken bones should be raw, never cooked!

Why are cooked chicken bones bad for cats?

Cooked chicken bones pose a threat as they can easily become brittle and break, causing your cat great harm. A splintered chicken bone can rupture your cat's throat while he swallows, damage his stomach and intestines, and possibly lead to his death. Cooked poultry bones are a general no-no for both dogs and cats.

young cat after eating food from kitchen plate
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Can chicken bones ever be safe for cats?

If you're going to feed your cat chicken bones, make sure the bones are raw. Raw bones will not splinter, eliminating the possibilities of internal, digestive harm. With an ancestral history of hunting prey, a cat's stomach will instinctively be able to handle a raw bone. The chewing is also beneficial for your cat's dental health, both cleaning the teeth and strengthening the jaw.

Gnawing on raw chicken bones is not only enjoyable but quite beneficial for your feline friend. These raw bones are packed with essential vitamins that are healthy for cats. Chicken bones themselves contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals, while the bone marrow provides cats with healthy doses of iron.

Warnings about raw chicken bones.

When feeding your cat raw chicken bones, make sure the bones are small enough for your cat to chew. Raw chicken wing bones are a perfect size.

Before adding anything new to your cat's diet, including raw bones, first consult your veterinarian. Once raw bones are introduced, monitor your cat's digestive behavior for the next few days. If there is any blood or bone shards in the stool, indigestion, vomiting, bloating or gas, you may need to reduce the amount of raw bones you are feeding your cat. A veterinarian can recommend an appropriate amount of raw bones to begin with.

Chicken Wing on white background
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What should I do if my cat eats a cooked chicken bone?

With any luck, you will catch your cat in the act of attempting to eat a cooked chicken bone. If this is the case, remain calm, approach him slowly and gently remove the bone from his mouth.

If your furry friend has already ingested a portion or a whole cooked bone, monitor his behavior over the next couple of days. The bone may make its way through the digestive system without issues. If it is stuck or is causing other digestive issues, you may notice bloating, vomiting, or a general disinterest in food. If any of these symptoms arise, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Conclusion

Although chicken bones are a staple in many human diets, pet owners must be diligent about keeping cooked chicken bones away from their cats (and dogs).

Raw chicken bones can be fed to cats as long as the bones are small enough for the cat to chew and properly digest. Raw bones are a healthy and enjoyable addition to the feline diet. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on how much raw bone can be fed to your cat or if your cat accidentally ingests a cooked chicken bone.

Would you like to learn more about your cat's diet? Learn about the rules of serving your kitty turkey, and then learn about the do's and don'ts of pumpkin.