When you look online or hear people speaking about their pets, there is a lot of controversy about being able to eat certain foods. Recently, I’ve heard two of my friends debating whether cats are or aren’t able to eat chicken bones.
Because there is a lot of conflicting information about what is good or not good for your fluffy friend, this article will cover the topic and any other relevant information, giving you well researched advice on the benefits and potential disadvantages of chicken bones.
Feeding Your Cat Raw Chicken
As we are all aware, cats are carnivores, and that comes from a historic and innate predisposition they have. In the wild, cats chase and kill smaller and bigger prey (i.e. mice, rabbits, insects, fish), either for food or simply for play.
Most owners who feed their cats raw meats are trying to mimic the natural environment cats would be exposed to without our intervention. For example, if we were to see this in the wild, we would probably also witness how cats eat everything, including hair, flesh, bones, entrails, all those nasty stuff you don’t want to be thinking about right now.
Disturbing or not, this is the way that nature works, ensuring that cats get all the nutrient and minerals they need from their food. However, what you also need to be aware of is the fact that raw chicken can sometimes have bacterial contaminants which can cause illnesses and digestive symptoms, whereas chicken bones could splinter inside the cat’s digestive tract.
The reality is that cooking is known for degrading a lot of nutrients from meat (i.e. vitamins, minerals and amino acids). Raw chicken is usually considered safe for cats to consume, as from an evolutionary point of view, their stomach acid makes child’s-play out of the usual diseases which we humans fall prey to (i.e. salmonella).
What Do Chicken Bones Contain?
Bones provide a variety of minerals and nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, and they are present in a perfect, balanced way.
Surprisingly, raw chicken bones do not possess the same dangers that cooked bones do, because they do not splinter in the same way. Nature intended for cats to chew on raw chicken bones, and that does have quite a bit to do with the dental benefits bones have. More specifically, the bone marrow contained within the bone makes for a nutritious and healthy survival option (because of red blood cells and iron).
Should You Cook Chicken Bones?
Bones come in a variety of shapes and sizes, because of the different parts of the body you can choose from. Due to the extensive benefits of consuming bones, owners sometimes resort to making bone broth in order to rip all the benefits.
However, I can’t stress enough the importance of not giving your cat cooked bones. If you might be wondering why, the answer is quite simple: the cooking process causes bones to break and splinter, meaning that they can become sharp objects capable of puncturing your cat’s internal digestive system.
In these cases, cats can experience symptoms such as constipation, digestive pain, and even rectal or internal bleeding. Thus, avoid this at all costs, as even if you cut the chicken into small pieces by using a meat cleaver, the bone can still easily splinter, despite it being relatively smaller.
What To Do If Your Cat Has Eaten Cooked Chicken Bones
The problem is that sometimes a bone may go through the digestive system without a problem, but in the event that it does get stuck, you might not see the aftermath for another couple of days.
In some cases, your veterinarian will likely recommend surgery in order to correct the blockage. Needless to say that if your cat frequently vomits, has little to no interest in food, or your cat’s stomach appears unusually swollen, then you should immediately call your vet.
To sum up, there are surely benefits to feeding your cat chicken bones, ranging from the abundant minerals to the numerous dental benefits. It’s obviously important to ease your cat or kitten into any diet, so if you have the opportunity, start feeding your little one bones from early on.
Remember though, you need to watch out for the size of the bones you give your cat, and as mentioned earlier, don’t cook bones because they might splinter and cause internal damage. Whatever bones you choose (wings, neck, ribs), consult with your veterinarian and observe your cat when and after they eat them, just in case of potential blockage.
All in all, bones are not only full of good nutrients; they also give your cat good dental hygiene, helping prevent tartar and plaque build-up. The last “ingredient” you have to look for is the attention that a cat needs in order for you to identify any tell-tale signs of anything having gone wrong.