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Can Cats Eat Feathers? (Will it make them sick?)

You might be wondering if cats can eat feathers maybe because she has feather toys and you are worried,  or you are just curious how they deal with them when hunting birds.

Can cats eat feathers?

No, cats cannot eat feathers. This is because they cannot digest them. They can cause blockages, similar to hairballs. Also, there are some feathers, that are typically used in arts and crafts, that have dye on them that contains harmful chemicals.

So, now you know cats cannot eat feathers safely and it’s something that should be avoided. But, how do they deal with feathers on birds? Are there other foods they should avoid? Can you offer them some human food? Keep reading to get these answers and so much more.

Is it safe for a cat to eat a bird with feathers?

A cat looking at a bird  on a tea cup.

A cat looking at a bird on a tea cup.

You may notice that your cat is constantly chasing birds in the attempt to either eat them or just play. But, is it safe for a cat to eat them, considering they have feathers?

No, it is not safe for a cat to eat a bird with feathers. Birds may carry sicknesses and diseases. This can result in your cat having diarrhea or vomiting. However, birds are less risky than offering your cat a rat. But, they are still at risk with feathers that cannot be digested.

So, now you know, cats cannot eat birds safely. But, what kind of birds do cats typically go after?

What kind of birds do cats eat?

Regardless if cats can eat birds or not it’s hard to stop them hunting them, right? So, out of interest,  what kind of birds do they typically go after?

Cats go after several different birds including pigeons, Cardinals, or Blue Jays. There are also reports of cats eating endangered birds such as the Piping Plover or the Florida Scrub-Jay. However, the type of bird your cat will hunt largely depends on where you live.

So, now you know there are many different bird species that your cat will hunt or try and eat. But, in any case, it should be avoided. But, what other foods should you avoid giving to your cat?

What should you not feed a cat?

If you are new to owning a cat or interested in improving her diet you may be wondering which foods should be avoided, right?

Cats should avoid any dairy products including milk and cheese. This is because most cats are lactose intolerant and this can cause vomiting or diarrhea. Other Foods include chocolate. This is because of the toxic ingredients of caffeine and Theobromine. This is known to cause seizures, heavy breathing, or even vomiting.

Other foods to look out for and avoid are raw eggs, meat, or fish (more on this later). But, what human foods can cats eat safely?

What human food can cats eat as a treat?

You may feel that you want to treat your cat and offer them some food from your cupboards. But, what human food is safe for them to eat?

Some human foods that cats can eat as a treat include cooked salmon, which is a good source of protein and omega-3. Spinach, which is full of vitamins and minerals. Fish oils, for example, salmon or cod liver oil. These are good because they prevent dry skin in the winter and can keep your cat’s coat healthy.

So now you know there are a few different treats that you can give your cat that is also healthy. But what about them playing with stuffed animals is this a good idea?

Are stuffed animals safe for cats?

A kitten playing with a feather toy.

A kitten playing with a feather toy.

If you have a stuffed animal around your house you may be wondering if they are safe for your cat.

In general, yes stuffed animals are safe for cats. However, you need to check because some have bad stuffing. The size of the stuffed toy is important as well. It shouldn’t be too large or it will intimidate your cat. Ideally, it should be the same size or if not slightly smaller.

You will notice that cats love stuffed animals that have dangly legs with long tails. This entices them to chase them. So, now you know, stuffed animals are safe for cats but just make sure that you check on them before you allow your cat to play with it.

What meat should you never feed your cat?

Earlier I talked about some foods to avoid (What about seawood type foods? Click here), remember? Well, what about meat, should your cat be avoiding this too?

Cats should never eat raw meat, fish, or eggs. This can cause food poisoning and contain E coil or salmonella. Concerning fish, there is an enzyme in raw fish that is known to destroy thiamine. Thiamine is an essential vitamin for your cat.

If your cat does not have enough thiamine it can cause neurological issues, coma, or seizures in extreme cases. So, now you know the different types of meat that you should not give to your cat.

Do cats love feather toys?

So you may understand now that feathers are not good for your cat to eat. But, does this mean that feather cat toys are to b avoided and not appreciated by your cat?

Cats love feather cat toys. It is instinctive for them to respond to them. It awakens their natural hunting instinct. Your cat’s ancestors from the wild used to hunt birds for survival and pluck feathers. These toys make them feel at home.

So, now you know cats love feather toys. But, is there any health risks with these toys?

Are there any health risks with feather toys?

So, you may have a feathered cat toy (Click here to see what happens if your cat ate this). But, now you understand cats should not be eating feathers you may be hesitant to let them use it. But, are there any health risks?

Yes, feather toys can be dangerous because the feathers cannot be digested. If your cat eats the feather toy it can cause constipation or in extreme cases could result in surgery. Also, sometimes there is chemical dye on these feathers which can cause an allergic reaction.

So now you know feather toys can be used but you need to understand the potential risks if your cat decides to bite or even swallow it.

Can cats play with peacock feathers safely?

Earlier we talked about how safe feathers are. But, what about peacock feathers?

Peacock feathers are used regularly and believed to be relatively safe. Cats love them and it initiates their instinct to hunt. However, in reality, if a peacock came face-to-face with a cat, there is a good chance that the Peacock would win the fight.

So now you know peacock feathers are often used and are regarded as a safe way for a cat.

Can peacock feathers be a good exercise for your cat?

So, you may be wondering if you can use these peacock feathers as a way to exercise your cat. And, maybe wondering if it’s a good idea or not.

Yes, peacock feathers are a good exercise toy for your cat and they react well to peacock feathers. They are often used in cat shows to try and get a cat to react and follow the direction of their trainer. So, they are quite popular in this regard.

So, now you know. Peacock feathers are a good exercise for your cat and used by professionals in some cat shows.

What cat toys can be harmful?

So, now you know, certain cat toys can be dangerous. But, are there any others?

Cat toys can be harmful. Even basic toys such as string, rubber bands, or yarn. This is because if they are swallowed it can be difficult for your cat to bring them back up because of the barbing on its tongue.

So now you know cat toys can be harmful and even basic toys can be given a risk. However, this does not mean that you should not use cat toys it just means that you need to be careful and look out for any potential risk.

Can cats eat feathers toys?

A feather toy.

A feather toy.

Cats should not eat feather toys regardless of whether they are real or imitation feathers. In fact, the imitation could even be worse. In the wild, while hunting birds cats will inevitably consume birds’ feathers, but it’s not ideal because they can’t digest them. And, too much can cause health issues.

Feather toys may try to resemble a real animal but they are not designed to be consumed. Therefore, it’s important to keep it away from your cat if they seem to be deliberately trying to eat it.

Do cats have feathers?

Cats do not have feathers. There may be some confusion if you have seen a cat fresh from hunting birds and notice the remnants of feathered from its kill. But, they have not, and never will have feathers.

Why do cats eat feathers?

Cats eat feathers mainly as a consequence of hunting and killing birds. Whether this is for the fun of the kill, or a genuine need for food in the wild.

When the cat bites into the bird, which is covered in feathers, it’s inevitable it will get some feathers in its mouth. And, chances are, it may consume some.
Have you ever bitten into a burger and accidentally chewed off some of the wrapping paper that came with it? Well, this is the same concept. It’s a crude analogy, but it will hopefully help you to understand.

Can cats play with feathers?

Cats can definitely play with feathers. And, the chances are they will love doing it. You just have to keep an eye on them while they do to make sure they are just playing.

Meaning, make sure they are not trying to eat them. This may seem unlikely if you have not seen this behavior before. But, believe it or not, cats have been known to eat many non-food items.

When this happens, it is referred to as PICA. It’s a known condition that can cause difficulties for cat owners.

Can cats eat fake feathers?

Cats should not eat fake feathers. Fake feathers maybe even worse than real feathers. Why? Well, you have no way of knowing what it is made from, as opposed to natural bird feathers.

But, either way, fake or real, they can’t be digested by a cat and can cause a serious health issue.

Lindsey Browlingdon