My Cat Ate Chicken Bones: Should I Worry?

As a pet owner, it’s important to be aware of the dangers that your pet can come across. Ingesting chicken bones is one such danger – but should you worry if your cat eats them? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Quick Facts:

  • Over 320,000 pets in the US were exposed to something poisonous or dangerous in 2021 and called the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline for help. That’s over 876 per day (source).
  • Over 120,000 dogs and 20,400 cats were poisoned last year and admitted to the vet in the UK (source)
  • If you think your pet has eaten something dangerous call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

Check For These Signs

One of the major issues that your cat may experience after consuming chicken bones is rips or scrapes in their intestines. You need to be able to recognize the signs that this has occurred.

One of those signs is lethargy. In order to be energetic, cats require a healthy digestive system. It breaks down food into energy and waste. If your cat is lethargic, then it might mean its digestive system is having problems.

This indicates that the chicken bone is either clogging their intestine or has caused damage to it.

They may also be lethargic because they are in pain or they are experiencing discomfort.

Another sign to watch for is excessive vomiting. This happens when the intestines try to purge themselves of a clog. The problem is that if the chicken bone has splintered, then it may tear up their intestines or stomach.

You’ll want to see if your cat vomits a lot. You’ll also need to check the vomit for signs of the chicken bone and blood. If blood is present, then their intestines have either been scratched or perforated.

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Diarrhea is another sign to watch for. Another way that the intestines try to flush themselves out is through diarrhea. If your cat has a lot of diarrhea, then this a sign that their digestion system is under stress.

You’ll also want to look for blood. This can indicate that their digestive system has been damaged. If you see blood, then you need to take your cat in for medical care immediately.

It’s also a good idea to watch for diarrhea because it can make cats extremely thirsty. You need to ensure their water bowl is always filled.

One last sign to look for is a sore or painful stomach. If you run your hand gently along their stomach, do they make sounds of distress? Do they suddenly jump away as if they’re in pain? If so, then it may be due to a blockage.

Painful abdomens indicate that there is either a blockage in their intestines or that their digestive system is injured.

Potential Problems

Here are a few problems your cat may experience if they eat a chicken bone.

  • Choking
  • Ruptured intestines
  • Scratched intestines
  • Perforated intestines
  • Injured stomach
  • Perforated stomach
  • Injured throat
  • Excessive diarrhea

What To Do

One of the first things you should do is ensure your cat isn’t choking. Because chicken bones can splinter, it’s possible that a small shard may be stuck in their throat. If your cat doesn’t seem to be choking, then you need to encourage them to poop the bone out, if possible.

A method to do that is to feed them a piece of bread between their meals. You should also replace their dry food with wet food. This may give the body enough force to push the chicken bone through entirely without it splintering and causing damage.

Another thing to do is to closely examine your cat’s vomit or poop. Signs of blood mean that the chicken bone is causing damage to them. You’ll want to take your cat to the vet.

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Otherwise, observe your cat and take the next step based on how their behavior changes or doesn’t change.

Do I Need To See The Vet Or Go To The Emergency Animal Hospital?

If your cat is choking on the chicken bone, then it’s advised that you take it to the animal hospital. Learning how to give your cat a Heimlich can save its life, but you should go to the hospital all the same.

If your cat is not choking, then you can probably get by with just visiting your vet. They can help you determine whether or not the chicken bone is a threat to your cat.

In most cases, your cat should be well enough to not even need to visit the vet.

However, if the bones were large or cooked, then there’s a good chance that they’ll splinter or clog their intestines. Seeing your vet can save your cat’s life.

Safe Alternatives To Eat

Bones are healthy for animals to eat. They contain minerals like calcium and others that can strengthen your cat’s bones and keep their teeth healthy. However, not every bone is safe to give your cat.

You should never feed your cat cooked bones. They sometimes carry bacteria and they’re brittle. It’s because of their brittleness that they splinter easily inside of a cat’s stomach.

Instead, a safer alternative is raw bones. These are tougher than cooked bones and don’t splinter as easily.

The size of the bone is also important. It needs to be small. Poultry bones are the best options for cats. In particular, you want to feed them wing bones, toe bones, or even wingtip bones.

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You should always supervise your cat when they’re eating the bone to ensure they don’t choke.

Another option is MCHA. This is a bone powder that is made primarily from bison. There’s more calcium in MCHA than typical bone powder. It’s also uncooked. The bone powder can be sprinkled over their meals to give them the same benefits they’d receive from eating a bone without the hazard.

Other bone meal variants are also better than cooked bones. However, they’re cooked as well and don’t always have a high amount of calcium in them. It is, however, cheaper than MCHA.

Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones?

Cats can eat chicken bones to an extent. Chicken bones are not harmful to them in terms of toxicity. However, it can be dangerous for cats to eat cooked chicken bones. Should the bone splinter in their bodies, it could kill your cat.

To feed your cats chicken bones safely, you need to feed them uncooked, or raw, chicken bones that are considerably small. Determine the size of your cat and its throat. Then choose a type of bone that can easily slide down their throats without becoming stuck.

From there, you’ll want to supervise them to see if they have any problems passing that size of chicken bone. If so, then it’s safe for your cat to eat that bone.