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Raw food Bones and chocking on raw bones

ValerieE

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Oct 28, 2021
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20
I have been giving my cat raw chicken drumsticks for a month and a half every few days. They come from the store. I have that fear of chocking on bones so I did what I have done for my kids when they were little, I removed the POINTY very thin bone attached to the main bone (fibula). Is that necessary as this is a lot of work? In the same way when I gave her split chicken wings, I removed the bone she was chewing on as soon as it was less than an each long, by fear of it being stuck somewhere down. Is this a concern? I also understand that once cooked, bones are not digestible by cats anymore. Is that correct?
 

Dr. Jean

Veterinarian
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
127
I don't recommend long bones (legs, wings) at all. It's much safer to give chicken necks because those bones cannot splinter. Any long bone can splinter, even when they're raw. There are plenty of horror stories from vets out there even with raw bones.

I like to pound the chicken neck with a mallet, then cut it into cat-sized chunks. Bones are best given as "dessert," so there is food in the tummy to further cushion them. Once or twice a week, as you are doing, provides great benefits.
 

ValerieE

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Oct 28, 2021
Messages
20
I agree, the wing bones did splinter so I stopped giving them. The drumstick bones, my small cat only gets the meat around it then eats the cartilage and skin at one end and chews a bit at the other end. I suspect she gets a bit of blood from the inside of the bone. I never noticed any splinters but I will be careful. Two things I liked are that the cat did a very good job at getting all the meat from the bone and it takes her quite some times, and she did not regurgitate anything after her meal, which she may do after pureed food followed by a jump or going downstairs. But that vs a splinted bone is not worth it.
I have a few frozen duck neck, I will try your method as the first one I served was left untouched.

One more question though, when outdoor cats feed on little preys, I guess the bones are smaller and splinters are less of an issue?
 

Dr. Jean

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Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
127
A chicken leg bone *would* be hard for a cat to shatter, but kitties can be pretty determined! As long as you are keeping a close eye (and an ear or two) on her it's probably okay, and she can certainly benefit from the cartilage, but just as a rule of thumb I don't recommend them. The whole structure of long bones makes them likely to split on longitudinal lines. The ends of long bones as well as vertebrae are made of "spongy" bone; it's less dense and there are no straight lines for fractures to form along.

Cooking bones dries them out and breaks down the collagen that holds the matrix together. It makes them brittle and far more likely to splinter. Acidity increases that process, which is why you add a splash of vinegar when making bone broth--it helps pull out the collagen. (And it tastes pretty good too!)

You're right about mouse bones being tiny, but more than that, cats that eat mostly prey have usually done so since kittenhood. They develop very strong jaws able to really pulverize bones, and super strong stomach acid to dissolve them (or at least soften potential sharp edges). Small bones can be completely digested; or else in their travels through the GI tract, they get wrapped up in the prey's skin/fur, so that any undigested fragments are safely escorted out the other end. Pretty cool system, don't you think?
 

Dr. Jeff

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Feb 23, 2017
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3,484
Yes, very cool Dr. Jean!

And regarding raw chicken bones, I guess I'm super cavalier about giving them to Aviva (Archie only gets ground or recreational as he won't eat frozen/thawed duck necks.

I think that chances of a potential trigger (like a raw bone) being a problem is related to the susceptibility of the individual.

That's part of why we adopted our Bengal cat Aviva. To be able to observe a little more of the difference (she's a wild child but also super sweet):


 

Dr. Jean

Veterinarian
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Messages
127
A Bengal is closer to the wild and has heftier jaw muscles than your average couch cat. You're probably okay as long as you follow my "Bone Rules"--only spongy bones (e.g., vertebrae or the ends of long bones, not the shafts), feed last as "dessert," discard when dried out or at the end of day, and always supervise. :cool2:
 

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