Cat Food

Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones

can cats eat chicken bones

Can cats eat chicken bones? Cats need minerals that are in the animal bones like chicken bones. Thus, cats can eat chicken bones as part of their healthy diet. Chewing a bone can be a form of dental exercise to them. They can also be used to clean your cats’ teeth as chewing cause scraping on their teeth. Furthermore, this dental exercise can aid in massaging their gums and removing plaque.

Dental exercise cannot only be achieved by chewing bones. Your pets can chew hard products like the pig’s ears and Dentabones.

If you are wondering what type of bones you can feed to your cats, you should speak to your veterinarian.

can cats eat chicken bones

Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones That Are Cooked?

You can safely feed bones to your cats, but you should not feed cooked chicken bones. If you must feed chicken bones to your cat, the kitties must be fed raw bones that are unseasoned and free from choking hazards.  You may not offer bones that have been cooked as cooked version can splinter and injure their stomach and cause intestinal damage.  Chicken bones that have split or are with slivers not only injure the stomach, but can puncture the stomach, digestive lining, and esophagus of your cat, leading to death.

Bones offer nutritional value to your pets. Raw bones contain calcium phosphate. The ratio of calcium and phosphorus is important in your pet’s diet. This is true for large breed cats as they require unique requirements.

You should only feed edible bones to your cat, typically chicken wings and necks. Chewing on these types of bones is good for cats because the side and back teeth are used to break down the bone.  Cats do not have the ability to clean their teeth. Therefore chewing chicken bones with their side and back teeth will allow your cat to clean their own teeth, naturally.  Chewing in this manner also cleans the cat’s gum line, stretches the jaw, and stimulates their instincts.

If you do not feel comfortable offering a chicken neck bone to your cat, or if your cat has a sensitive mouth, you can grind the bone into a softer material and/or powder and offer this way. As the bones are soft and pliable, they are easily crushed. Even if you grind them, they still contain trace minerals, calcium and phosphorus.  Serving your cat chicken bones can be done in a number of ways, depending upon the needs and preferences of your cat.

Calcium is important to your cats’ health. Cats are often associated with drinking milk, but this is an out of date assumption. Cats do not often drink milk and are advised to avoid anything containing lactose.  Without milk, cats may not receive all of the calcium they need for strong teeth and bones.  Signs of calcium deficiency will include stiffness, weakness, muscle tremors and increase sensitivity to touch and sound. Arthritis, coat problems and broken bones are also signs that your cats are not consuming enough calcium.

Veterinarians recommend giving enough calcium to cats through a domestic raw diet. One good example could be chicken bones.  Cats in the wild hunt and eat small animals and rodents for survival.  Chewing bones is natural for cats, and consuming the bones of other mammals helps to transfer calcium and other important vitamins into the cat that has eaten it.  If your cat is not a hunter, and does not chew bones, you may wish to offer a calcium supplement recommended by your veterinarian.

Cats are natural carnivores. Wild cats survived through hunting and eating prey. But this is not the same with domesticated cats. Domestic cats hunt and eat for enjoyment rather than necessity.  Nevertheless, their behavior still remains. That is, they still have the ability to hunt and eat their prey. This means that their stomach can easily handle raw bones.

Will Chicken Bones Chip Cats’ Teeth?

Just because chicken bone is safe for your cat, that does not mean that you can easily feed raw chicken bones to them. If your cats are aggressive chewers, you should ask your veterinarian about what sort of bones they could eat to avoid chipping or fracturing their teeth.  Chicken bones that splinter may puncture the gum line or chip a cat’s tooth if the cat is not careful.  In this instance, an infection may develop.

You should not feed your cats chicken bones with marrow. This is especially true if your pet has pancreatitis. Chicken bones contain marrow which can add calories to your cats’ daily calorie intake.  Adding calories to the diet of your cat is not recommended because the cat will probably gain weight.  Unless a cat is underweight, or incredibly active, their diet should be low calorie to prevent obesity.

Another reason to avoid chicken bones with marrow is that marrow in bones can cause bout of diarrhea, especially for cats with sensitive stomachs. If you cannot avoid feeding chicken bones to your cats containing marrow, you should scoop out the marrow first before giving them to your pets. Do this until your cat’s GI tract has already adapted to the fat content of the marrow.

However, if your cats are having weight problems, you should permanently avoid giving them bones with marrow.  Your vet can offer advice on how to discern the different types of bones and decide with type is best for your particular cat.

Significance of Calcium to Cats’ Health

If you are not feeding bones to your cats, giving them calcium supplements will provide their bodies with the amount of calcium that they need. However, this is not the first choice. Veterinarians still advise to get the real bones as they contain more calcium than supplements.  Vitamins are supposed to come from food, and whole, natural sources.  Supplementing vitamins with a capsule form may not be as beneficial.

Furthermore, the trace minerals in the cartilage, which is connected to the bone, can add to the nutrients raw bones can provide.

When you do feed chicken bones to your cats, they must be fresh and warm. The reason for this is that most cats cannot tolerate eating cold foods. Thus, defrost the chicken bones first by placing them in a Ziploc bag and allow the bag with the bones to sit in a bowl of tepid warm water for a few minutes.

You must avoid putting the bag in a bowl of hot water as it may cook the bones.

It is also important to remember not to defrost the chicken bones in a microwave. Defrosting it this way can cook the bones causing them to brittle and may injure your cats’ stomach.

Watch This Video Why Cats Should Not Eat Cooked Chicken Bones

Harmful Bacteria

One of the risks of feeding chicken bones to cats is that they may contain harmful bacteria. Harmful organisms can exist in raw foods, including chicken bones. Thus, if you are not ready to feed the chicken bones yet to your cats then keep them frozen. You should only leave them out for a short period of time to avoid bacteria from growing.

 

References:

http://kb.rspca.org.au/what-should-i-feed-my-cat_262.html

http://feline-nutrition.org/answers/answers-raw-diets-and-cats-what-about-eating-bones

http://www.vetwest.com.au/pet-library/feeding-your-pet-bones

 

About the author

David Strickland

I love pets and I love animals. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats and it's not enough for me.

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