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Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones? (Are Bones Safe for Cats?)

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: July 17, 2022 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: July 17, 2022  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi

Adopting a little fur buddy for yourself can be fun, but you also have to be very cautious about your little one’s diet.

If you are a new cat parent, you must also have a lot of questions. 

One of the most critical questions is can cats eat chicken bones?

The answer to this question is strangely a “Yes” and “No” at the same time.

Can cats eat chicken bones

Can I Feed my Cat Chicken Bones?

While most cats find it to be a super tasty treat and there is a lot of nutritional benefits in raw bones there are also some serious health hazards associated with eating them. The biggest one being, that once a chicken has been cooked, they become soft and brittle. This makes them dangerous for your cats to eat.

Can Cats Have Chicken Bones? Benefits?

Cats are obligate carnivores and this means that they need a source of animal protein to survive and maintain good health.

Raw meat and chicken bones are a great source of various nutrients, and minerals, especially calcium, for your cat. 

Calcium is an essential mineral to introduce into your cat’s diet, making your little buddy’s bones stronger and their fur healthier. 

But chicken bones can or cannot be beneficial for your feline at the same time.

I can relate to my own experience here. When I adopted my first cat, I had no idea what to feed her. I thought that milk, meat, and bones were the best substitutes for cat foods. 

But unfortunately, I was wrong to some extent.

After simple research, I found out that cats are usually lactose intolerant, so I should never give my buddy cow’s milk

Also with it, I found out that chicken bones are beneficial for cats only if they are given raw.

Cooked Chicken Bones vs. Raw Chicken Bones

There is a considerable difference between cooked and raw chicken bones when it comes to cat food. You cannot give any type of bone to your little friend. After all, it is your cat baby so you need to be extra careful.

Cats evolved from an ancient line of obligate carnivores, which means that they need meat or other meat products in their diet. 

As cats got domesticated, their natural hunting instinct got affected much. But surely your little fur buddy needs meat in their diet even if it’s not obtained by hunting!

Cooked chicken bones can prove to be a super tasty treat for your cat, but it is hazardous for your little tiger at the same time.

This is the reason that to jump into the details, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of both cooked and raw bones below.

Can cats eat cooked chicken bones

Raw Chicken Bones

Raw chicken bones are very beneficial for your pet cat’s health when given in the right amount.

However, excessive use of anything is bad, and even drinking water can cause water intoxication! 

This means that including a large number of chicken bones in your little buddy’s diet can cause obesity and other health problems.

  • Source of various minerals: Chicken bones are a great source of natural minerals that your fur friend needs! Some of the major minerals found in bones are potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
  • Major Source of Calcium: The most abundant mineral found in the bones is calcium. Calcium is very beneficial for your friend’s health as it will strengthen your cat's bones and help make your friend's fur healthier. Calcium deficiency can lead to coat and skin problems, broken bones, arthritis, weakness, heart issues and more.
  • Improvement in Oral Health: Chewing on the raw bones proves to be much beneficial for your cat's oral health. As stated earlier, cats come from a great line of hunters, and chewing on the bones will satisfy your buddy’s hunting needs while keeping the cat's teeth safe from plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Bio-Availability of Other Vitamins: Calcium intake from chicken bones increases the bio-availability of various other minerals and vitamins like copper, zinc, and Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and E. These vitamins are further essential for better muscle bone, brain, and organ health.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Chicken Bones?

Feeding your little buddy cooked chicken bones can be the worse decision. I can tell from my personal experience. When I adopted little Leslie, I accidentally gave her some cooked bones without having the proper knowledge. 

Can cats have chicken bones

This resulted in severe vomiting and diarrhea, which led me to run down to emergency for my little angels’ checkup. Luckily the vet prescribed some medicines, and my kitty was back to normal.

  • Cooked Chicken Bones are Brittle: Cooking makes bones soft and brittle, which is the reason that they might break and get choked up in your cat’s throat. Even if your cat successfully eats the cooked bones, they can further cause diarrhea, vomiting, bloody stool, bloating, gas, or even bone shards in the stool.
  • Toxic Ingredients: While cooking chicken for ourselves, we always season it to enhance the taste. But what’s good for us is not always suitable for our little buddies. These seasonings can prove to be much toxic for your feline friend and can end up in you running to the ER, just as it happened to me.
  • Comparatively Sturdy: When cooking the chicken bones, they become less flexible and might splinter and end up being stuck in your cat’s mouth, throat causing suffocation, or the rest of the digestive system.
  • Bio-Availability of Other Vitamins: Calcium intake from chicken bones increases the bio-availability of various other minerals and vitamins like copper, zinc, and Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and E. These vitamins are further essential for better muscle bone, brain, and organ health.

Here are some symptoms that you should watch for.

  • Vomiting
  • Disinterest in food
  • Gas
  • Bone shards in stool
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Breathing issues
  • Excessive drinking
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool

If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian ASAP.

The biggest risk to your cat from eating a splinteres chicken bone is that they gets a blockage or a tear in his gastrointestinal tract (gut). 

This would potentially require your cat to have major surgery! Not nice.

How to Incorporate Raw Bones in the Diet?

Not every raw chicken bone can be the right fit for your cat’s diet. Smaller bones are always better for your cats as they can chew on them easily.

Moreover, you need to ensure that the bones are fresh and the meat bits on it have not gone rancid. 

Therefore, the best option for you is to feed your little buddy with chicken wing bones or a homemade bone broth, which are perfect in proportion.

With this, you must not give chicken bones to your cat every day.

A bone once in a while can prove beneficial, while incorporating bones in everyday meals can also cause unwanted side effects. 

If you are feeding your cat a raw food diet including raw chicken bones, you must observe your friend for some days afterward to ensure proper digestion.

Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones: Summary

So, the answer to whether you can feed your cat chicken bones or not is a big fat YES! But you have to keep in mind all of the information stated above to avoid any unsolicited situation that can cause harm to your little fur buddy. 

Never feed your cat cooked chicken bones, and even if they eat some accidentally, make sure to observe for any side effects for a few days.

The biggest risk to your cat from eating a chicken bone is that he gets a blockage or a tear in his gastrointestinal tract (gut).

Either of these would require your cat to have major surgery and this can be very risky

About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.