Popeye's cat
August 17, 2020 9:03 AM   Subscribe

You are not my vet (or anyone's vet), but has your cat ever eaten a cooked chicken bone? Can you share your experience? The internet is full of terrifying information about the splintered shards of cooked chicken bones. I am keeping an eye on the cat and will whisk him to the vet if there are signs of distress, but how stressed should I be?

One of the pair of 1.5 year old cats I adopted last spring has a thing for eating everything, edible or not. He's eaten yoga mat, wool, silicone spatula, AC adapter cord (unplugged) and so on the face of it, a leg bone from yesterday's Popeyes Chicken should be less alarming. I am totally panicked, however, after reading all the dire warnings about cooked bone.
posted by spamandkimchi to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
I would call your vet just to be safe My dog ate a chicken bone and we immediately took him to the vet before he had symptoms and he needed immediate surgery to have it removed. Once symptoms start sometimes the damage can't be repaired.
posted by ilovewinter at 9:09 AM on August 17, 2020 [6 favorites]

Obviously this is just anecdata and you should continue to monitor but our dumbass cat ate most of a cooked chicken thigh bone about 8 years ago and never suffered any consequences whatsoever, besides us buying a better trash can that was harder for her to climb in to.
posted by saladin at 9:10 AM on August 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also anecdata but my dog has eaten several cooked chicken bones while out on walks, because apparently people just throw them on the ground all the time here. I had similar fears but she is alive and well. It's really going to depend on the situation and your pet and everything - not a death sentence but, yes, continue to monitor.
posted by thebots at 9:23 AM on August 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

The worry about cooked chicken bone is that they splinter. The problem with splintered bones is the digestive tract has a lot of twists and turns that aren’t handled well by long thin objects.

Cars rarely swallow the leg bone whole, they usually chew it for a bit, which increases the risk of splintering. AND iirc, there’s a tasty gooey morsel inside the bone that cats especially go after.

Chicken bone is an immediate ticket to the vet for me, because the vet can take diagnostic images and make an informed decision about how worried to be. Once the cat starts giving clues, there can be major internal bleeding.
posted by bilabial at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Our cat Beatrix has consumed many chicken bones in both raw and cooked form with no ill effects. I might not let her eat a leftover chicken rib bone or something similar that is inherently sharp, but drumstick bones, thigh bones, breast bones, chicken wings -- she crunches 'em up and eats 'em all. In fact, considering that cats in the wild eat whole prey, bones and all, it's probably good for her to get the calcium. My understanding is that the caution against cooked chicken bones comes more from medium to large dogs who might bite a bone into two sharp pieces before swallowing them whole. A cat isn't going to crack a whole thigh bone into two sharp pieces and swallow them whole. How could it? Rather, a cat is likely to gnaw at the cartilaginous ends, crack the bone in to pieces and gradually nom it down in smaller pieces.
posted by slkinsey at 9:28 AM on August 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

This is in the category of "it's highly likely the cat will be fine, but" ... odds are, the kitty will suffer no ill effects. However, if there are ill-effects they could be very bad. So if it were one of my cats, I'd probably have them looked at by the vet.

He's adorable, hope it turns out to be no big deal.
posted by jzb at 11:10 AM on August 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

my city is rife with mischievous magpies who like to grab mostly-eaten chicken wings out of the garbages and drop the bones into specifically my yard. (we have a tree that is a very good spot for a bird to enjoy a bit of garbage-buffalo-wing apparently.)

My small dog and my cats have all had chicken wing bones that I have ripped out of their mouths several times. All of them have always been fine. I have always given them butter and cream and wet food for the cats, and buttered bread for the dog because it's supposed to help to have some fat and slippery/cushiony foods in their stomach with the bones.

That might be an old wives tale, but I do it anyways. Then I monitor their poops like crazy for a couple days. None of my pets have ever had to go to the vet after a chicken bone yet. I called the vet the first few times and they said to just make sure they're eating normally and pooping normally and no blood.
posted by euphoria066 at 11:57 AM on August 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

No ill effects and it's been over 30 hours since he crunched up the bone. Eating like normal, pooping like normal, tearing about the house with his sibling like normal, yelling in my face at 5:30am for breakfast like normal.

Thank you everyone, both those who had cautionary advice (to have me call the vet's office who said to wait and see) and those with comforting anecdotes (thank you for keeping me from complete panic).
posted by spamandkimchi at 4:31 PM on August 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

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