Chicken wing bones can be very appealing to cats. Are they in danger if they eat one? What should you do if your cat ate a chicken bone?
If your cat ate a chicken wing bone, call your veterinarian right away. Check whether your cat is breathing and acting normally and prevent them from eating any more chicken bones. Make sure to tell your vet whether the bone was raw or cooked, how many you think your cat ate, and how long ago they ate them. Do not try to induce vomiting in your cat to get rid of the bone.
A chicken wing bone can be very dangerous to your cat. In the worst cases, cats have died from eating chicken bones. In the rest of this article, I will go over the risks of your cat eating chicken bones, both cooked and raw, as well as treatment and prevention.
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Risks of Cooked Chicken Wing Bones
The reason why you’ll need to tell your vet whether the chicken bone was raw or cooked is because cooked chicken bones present a much greater danger to your cat than raw ones. The heating process involved in cooking makes a chicken’s bones more brittle. If your cat eats a cooked chicken bone, it’s more likely to shatter inside their digestive tract. This can cause tearing in that delicate tissue.
A chicken bone might also get stuck in your cat’s digestive tract. If your cat gets a digestive blockage, you might see symptoms like these:
- Refusal to eat
- Seemingly unprovoked or new aggression
- Hunching or growling when you try to touch their belly
- A lack of energy
If you need more information about gastrointestinal blockages in cats, read information from Pet MD here.
In addition, cooked chicken bones often have toxic ingredients on them as part of the cooking process. While garlic and onion make chicken taste delicious to you, they are poisonous for your feline friend. Look for symptoms of garlic and onion poisoning, including anemia, digestive trouble, and lethargy.
A bone can also get stuck in your cat’s throat or the top of your cat’s mouth. If you see them struggling to breathe, or violently shaking their head to get rid of the bone, make sure to tell the vet.
Risks of Raw Chicken Wing Bones
While a raw chicken bone is less likely than a cooked bone to cause tearing or blockage in the digestive tract, these are still risks. You should check for symptoms of blockage, as well as choking. Raw chicken bones can also have harmful bacteria on them. These can include salmonella and campylobacter. The CDC estimates salmonella in chicken causes over a million infections in the United States each year.
Your cat might get through eating a raw chicken bone with minimal issues. However, you’ll still want to take care around their feces. Salmonella and campylobacter can stick around in your cat’s waste for weeks. They are particularly harmful to the elderly, immunocompromised, and children. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after taking care of your cat’s litterbox.
What Will the Vet Do?
Your vet’s recommendations and treatments will depend on your cat’s circumstances, symptoms, and behavior. They will want to run some tests, most likely abdominal x-rays. If you’re not seeing any behavioral changes or worrying symptoms, they might just recommend monitoring the situation. This can happen either in an animal hospital or at home.
If your cat is ok to monitor at home, you’ll want to pay extra attention to their eating and pooping habits. This might be gross, but it’s important to make sure they fully digest the chicken bone without problems. Look for bone fragments in the feces. If they stop producing feces, or produce less than normal, call your vet. Always provide fresh drinking water for your cat to keep them hydrated.
If your cat has symptoms of a digestive blockage or tearing, they will need major surgery to remove the chicken bone and fix any damage. They will then need to be in intensive care at your vet’s office or animal hospital for the next few days. It may take them a few weeks to recover. However, the worst-case scenario is that your cat will not recover from eating a chicken bone.
Keep in mind that the earlier your cat gets veterinary attention, the easier it will be to address any problems. Hopefully, this means your cat will recover from their chicken bone misadventure. Always listen to and follow the recommendations of your veterinarian.
Can Cats Digest Bones?
If your housecat was left to their own devices outdoors, they’d be hunting small animals. These would include small rodents and birds. Unlike us, cats can’t cut the bones out of their food. Therefore, they would digest the whole animal, bones, fur, and feathers included.
Theoretically, then, this would mean they could digest a chicken bone. However, most chicken bones are much bigger than bones you could find in smaller birds or mammals. This makes the risk of blockage much more likely.
The best outcome of your cat eating a chicken bone would be that they digest it completely, with no blockages, choking, or tearing. Digesting something as unusual as a chicken bone might still cause some diarrhea and stomach upset. Your vet might prescribe a canned gastrointestinal food to help your cat pass the bone.
How Do I Keep My Cat from Eating Chicken Wing Bones?
The best way to stop your cat from eating chicken wing bones is to make sure they are disposed of properly. This particularly applies to cooked chicken bones, as they tend to be more appealing to cats than raw bones. If your cat likes going in the garbage can, make sure to secure the lid. Take care of any chicken leftovers as quickly as possible.
Considering you risk your cat being seriously injured or dying when you leave a chicken bone out for them to eat, it’s super important to take a few extra minutes to prevent them from having access in the first place.
Chicken bones, both raw and cooked, present serious health risks to your cat. While cats can digest bone, chicken bones are more likely to cause blockages and intestinal tearing than other animal bones. While your cat might make it through with no problems, there is a legitimate risk that they might die from eating a chicken bone. Therefore, it’s best to keep chicken bones where your cat can’t get to them.