cat swallowed small bone | Can Cats Eat Bones?

What to do

If your cat has swallowed a small bone, it is important to take immediate action to ensure their safety and well-being. While cats are known for their curious nature, swallowing small bones can pose serious health risks.

Here are some steps you can take if you suspect your cat has swallowed a small bone:

1. Monitor your cat

Keep a close eye on your cat and observe their behavior. Look out for any signs of distress such as excessive meowing, pacing, or reduced appetite. If your cat appears to be in discomfort or shows any unusual symptoms, it is best to seek veterinary help.

2. Do not induce vomiting

Unlike dogs, cats should not be made to vomit if they have swallowed a bone. The sharp edges of the bone can cause damage to their throat or esophagus on the way back up. It is best to avoid using any home remedies or over-the-counter medications without consulting a veterinarian.

3. Contact your veterinarian

If you suspect that your cat has swallowed a small bone, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately. They will be able to provide guidance based on your cat's specific situation and may recommend bringing your cat in for an examination.

4. Follow your vet's advice

Once you have spoken to your veterinarian, follow their instructions carefully. They may ask you to monitor your cat's behavior for a certain period of time or bring them in for an examination. It is important to follow their advice to ensure the best possible outcome for your cat.

Preventive measures

cat swallowed small bone

While accidents can happen, there are several preventive measures you can take to reduce the risk of your cat swallowing small bones:

1. Keep bones out of reach

Make sure to keep bones, such as chicken or fish bones, securely stored in a place where your cat cannot access them. Cats are naturally curious and may try to investigate or play with bones, so it is important to keep them safely stored away.

2. Dispose of bones properly

When you are finished with bones from a meal, be sure to dispose of them in a sealed trash bag or container that your cat cannot open. This will help prevent your cat from accidentally getting hold of the bones and swallowing them.

Cat digestive system

Understanding your cat's digestive system can help you better understand the potential risks of swallowing small bones. Unlike humans or some other animals, cats have a unique digestive system that is designed to process and break down raw meat and bones.

When a cat ingests a bone, it goes through their digestive tract, starting from the mouth, down the esophagus, through the stomach, and into the intestines. The stomach acid helps to break down the bone and render it less sharp, reducing the risk of injury.

However, while cats have a higher tolerance for swallowing small bones compared to other animals, there is still a risk of complications. Small bones can get lodged in the esophagus or intestines, potentially causing a blockage or perforations.

Emergency vet visit

In certain cases, a cat swallowing a small bone may require an emergency visit to the vet. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek immediate veterinary attention:

  • Excessive vomiting
  • Bloody stools
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms could indicate a serious obstruction or internal injury, and immediate medical intervention may be necessary.

Safe pet toys

Providing your cat with safe and appropriate toys can help prevent them from seeking out small bones or other potentially dangerous objects. Look for toys that are specifically designed for cats and do not have small parts that could be easily swallowed.

Some safe toy options for cats include:

  • Interactive puzzle toys
  • Feather wands
  • Catnip-filled toys
  • Balls and toy mice

It is important to regularly inspect and replace toys that show signs of wear and tear to prevent any potential hazards.

Safe treats for cats

When choosing treats for your cat, it is important to select options that are safe and appropriate for their consumption. Avoid giving your cat small bones or bone fragments as treats, as these can pose a choking or swallowing hazard.

Instead, opt for cat-specific treats that are specially formulated to be safe for consumption. There are many commercially available treats that are designed to be flavorful and enticing for cats while also being easily digestible.

Before introducing any new treats into your cat's diet, consult with your veterinarian to ensure they are suitable for your cat's specific dietary needs and health condition.

Cat health concerns

Swallowing a small bone can potentially lead to various health concerns for your cat. Some of the common issues associated with bone ingestion include:

1. Gastrointestinal blockage

If a bone gets lodged in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines, it can cause a blockage. This can result in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be required to remove the blockage.

2. Perforations or tears

Sharp edges of bones can cause perforations or tears in the digestive tract. This can lead to serious complications such as internal bleeding, infections, or peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining).

3. Choking hazards

Smaller bones or bone fragments can pose a choking hazard for cats, especially if they try to swallow them whole. This can lead to respiratory distress and may require immediate emergency care.

If you notice any unusual symptoms or suspect that your cat has swallowed a bone, it is important to seek veterinary attention promptly to prevent any potential health complications.

Feeding guidelines for cats

Establishing a proper feeding routine and following appropriate guidelines can help ensure your cat's overall health and reduce the risk of them seeking out inappropriate objects to ingest.

Here are some general feeding guidelines for cats:

1. Choose a balanced cat food

Select a high-quality cat food that is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of cats. Look for options that are labeled as "complete and balanced" to ensure your cat receives all the necessary nutrients.

2. Follow portion control

Avoid free-feeding your cat and instead follow portion control guidelines recommended by your veterinarian. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in nutritional deficiencies.

3. Avoid table scraps

While it can be tempting to share your meals with your cat, it is important to avoid feeding them table scraps. Human food, including bones, may not provide the necessary nutrients for cats and can lead to digestive upset or other health issues.

4. Provide fresh water

Ensure that your cat always has access to fresh, clean water. Cats are prone to urinary tract issues, and proper hydration is essential for maintaining their urinary health.


If your cat has swallowed a small bone, it is essential to take action to ensure their safety. Monitor your cat closely for any signs of distress and contact your veterinarian for guidance. By following preventive measures, providing safe toys and treats, and establishing proper feeding guidelines, you can help reduce the risk of your cat swallowing small bones or other potentially dangerous objects.