Chicken is the optimal meat and food for our feline friends. Although we occasionally give our cats chicken wings and necks, we give it a lot of thought before doing so.
But don’t fret too much; these chicken bits are perfectly safe to eat with the proper precautions.
The chicken neck—what’s the deal with that? Can cats eat the neck of a chicken?
We should find out.
Can Cats Eat Chicken Neck?
Chicken neck is safe for cats to eat. Cats have no trouble gnawing through the cartilaginous and soft chicken neck bones. Chicken necks are beneficial to cats’ oral health in addition to being a good source of protein.
However, there are drawbacks for cats when it comes to chicken necks because the bone makes up most of the meat. Keepers of cats should exercise caution when giving their pets raw chicken.
Benefits of Chicken Necks for Cats
It Cleanses the Teeth
Feline teeth can benefit greatly from eating chicken necks.
When crushed under the teeth, raw chicken necks act as natural dental chews by removing plaque through their abrasive action (professional cat teeth cleaning can cost up to USD $400!).
One advantage is that chicken necks have fewer calories than commercial dental chews.
Cats’ teeth, like our own, need regular brushing. If you don’t, the cat might get tooth decay or gum disease. See If You Can Brush a Cat’s Teeth.
Cats can get a variety of dental treats, not just the chicken neck.
It Improves Joint Health
Cats with joint problems like arthritis or dysplasia can benefit greatly from the glucosamine found in chicken necks.
As many cat breeds are susceptible to hip dysplasia, including the Devon Rex (up to 40% risk) and the Persian (up to 15% risk), chicken necks are no less than a boon for them.
However, keep in mind that the quantity of glucosamine varies from chicken to chicken, so you can’t be sure that a few chicken necks will be enough for your kitty’s joint problems.
Glucosamine supplements have been shown to improve knee health in numerous studies. Consuming it on a regular basis can strengthen the cartilage that lines our joints.
It Is Good For Bones
Chicken necks have a trace amount of calcium, which is essential for cats’ bone development but not enough on its own. Muscular function, blood clotting, and nerve impulse transmission all rely on calcium’s presence.
Lack of this mineral can cause rickets, fatigue, and agitation in cats.
It’s a Great Source of Proteins
Meaty proteins are vital to a cat’s health. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends a protein content of between 26 and 30 percent in a cat’s diet.
The immune system, the nervous system, and the growth of hair on time all depend on them. Chicken neck, being high in protein, can be a healthy treat for cats, provided it is given to them in moderation and with care.
Weight loss, reduced diabetes and obesity risks, and protein consumption are all possible benefits.
It Does Not Risk Overeating
Overeating is a risk when cats develop a fast eating habit. Luckily, chicken necks are what are known as “slow foods,” meaning they require a fair amount of time to be chewed and swallowed.
It takes a while for the chicken necks a cat has been chewing on to make it all the way to the stomach, so by the time it stops eating, it already feels full. This is why cats usually get full on chicken necks before their plates are cleared.
Potential Health Risks of Cat Eating Chicken Necks
Potential Risk of Choking
When cooked, the bones in a chicken neck become brittle and difficult for a cat to chew.
These neck bones are fragile, and if they break, the shards could lodge in the cat’s windpipe and cause it to suffocate.
In addition, if she already has an infection in her respiratory system, these sharp splinters could puncture her esophagus, causing excruciating pain.
Even if something is swallowed without getting stuck, poor chewing habits can lead to poor nutrient absorption, rendering the food useless. Likewise, it wouldn’t aid in the elimination of dental plaque.
Bacterial Infections May Occur
Chicken necks may be contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria. Although adult cats have the highest resistance to these bacteria and infection is most likely to occur in kittens under six months of age, the possibility of infection in older cats cannot be discounted.
Cats with compromised immune systems are also at risk of contracting salmonella. It’s possible that some cats will show no symptoms at all.
Infections May Spread
It is possible that eating raw chicken necks by cats will spread bacteria throughout the house.
Even after eating, a cat’s mouth may still contain bacteria from her neck, increasing the likelihood that she will lick her paws and spread the germs to her feet. The carpets and couches will be contaminated as she moves about the room.
How to Feed Your Cat Chicken Neck?
Earlier, I explained why raw chicken necks are the best option. However, they don’t have the same flavor or texture as other chicken parts, which could make them difficult to use in a feed.
Be Careful When Buying
It can be difficult to find a reliable source for raw chicken neck for cats. The general rule of thumb is to choose freshly prepared items and avoid those that are older than a few days.
Raw, freshly prepared necks have a similarly reduced risk of splintering. Keep those in a clean, dry place and be sure to store them properly.
Move In Steps
If you follow the right procedures, your cat will be less likely to reject chicken necks.
- Change to a raw meat diet immediately.
- If your feline friend enjoys cooked meat, serve the chicken necks just barely cooked.
- The hard inner bones can be broken with a good whack or slam.
- If the cat isn’t keen on necks by themselves, try incorporating them into her regular diet.
- Put the food and water bowls in your cat’s favorite spot.
Repeatedly offering the same food to your cat will likely cause her to grow fond of it. So, give it a neck every day and see if your cat likes it. Furthermore, never stop feeding your cat throughout her lifetime if you want the flavor to remain.
What to Do If Your Cat Goes Unwell After Having Chicken Necks?
The small size of the bones in chicken necks means they rarely cause serious issues like choking.
Chicken neck consumption is also associated with fewer cases of bacterial infections. If you want to prevent the worst from happening, you should monitor your cat closely whenever she eats chicken necks.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat exhibits any of the following symptoms after eating chicken necks:
- Showing obvious signs of distress
- Failure to Defecate
- not drinking or eating
Final Verdict: Can Cats Eat Chicken Neck?
Chicken necks are fine for cats to eat. Chicken necks provide calcium, glucosamine, and protein to cats because of their soft cartilaginous bones.
There is very little danger of choking or other injury when consuming raw chicken necks because their soft bones don’t splinter and can be easily ground. However, while bacterial infections are extremely uncommon, they do exist.