can cats digest bird feathers

Cats are inquisitive creatures and if they come across a feather, they are bound to try and eat it out of curiosity. Unfortunately, if your cat does decide to eat a bird’s feather or a feather that came loose from one of its toys, your cat may struggle with some of the risks associated with this action. Try to prevent your cat from eating feathers.

If you are wondering if feathers are safe for your cat or why your cat is deciding to eat feathers, then this article has all the answers you need!

HOWEVER, I am here again with more distress. Before I could reach my adorable Purrcy, he had already swallowed the feather that had fallen off his toy while he was chewing on it. It was a very soft feather, likely dyed. After several hours, he hasn’t changed at all. He ate his food, he drinks water and he plays.

Tomorrow, I’m going to take the day off work to watch him and try to call a veterinarian. Was your cat okay, and has this happened to anyone else before?

First of all, I want to say thank you for all of your responses from last month, when I was upset that my new cat didn’t love me. Purrcy and I have a great bond, and in my opinion, he is the ideal cat.

What About Cats That Hunt and Catch Birds?

It is typical for outdoor cats to catch birds at some point, and you might even witness your cat playing with the feathers before taking a kill shot. When cats hunt birds, they often come down with a mouth full of feathers, which can make a huge mess. This occurs frequently, and cats are accustomed to handling prey that has both feathers and fur on it by nature. Most cats will pluck or spit out most of the feathers, but if the cat eats the bird it just caught, it’s normal for some to be eaten.

Another source of feathers is cat toys. Not every feather found on cat toys is genuine, and many of them have been dyed a vibrant color. Cats who consume large amounts of these artificial feathers may be at risk. They may result in digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. The fact that artificial feathers are hard and stiff, as opposed to bird feathers, which are softer and less likely to harm the digestive system, is another worrying aspect regarding cats who eat them.

Unless your cat exhibits symptoms of choking or unusual bathroom habits, you shouldn’t be too concerned about any risks if you think they may have swallowed a feather.

can cats digest bird feathers

What Problems Can Occur If Cats Eat Feathers?

Felines have long been associated with cats; wild and feral cats often use birds as food, but there are still dangers to be mindful of.

Although it is not ideal, there is a slight chance that your cat may choke on the sharp quill or shaft of a feather or develop an internal blockage if they do swallow feathers. Smaller down feathers that fall from birds can be eaten by cats, and they typically don’t cause any issues. Possible complications from feather eating could be:

  • Your cat may have stomachaches and constipation as a result of poor digestibility.
  • diarrhea or vomiting as a result of gastrointestinal irritation while the feathers are passing through
  • Your cat may be harmed by the toxic dye that covers artificial feathers.
  • The shaft may become stuck in the cat’s stomach or throat and become a foreign object that has to be removed.

Your cat is most at risk from its larger tail and wing feathers, which are spiky rather than soft. Steer clear of purchasing cat toys with synthetic, vividly colored feathers. If your cat is an avid bird hunter, make sure you take steps to limit its hunting prowess, such as using a bell collar, keeping birds out of your garden, or keeping your cat inside. Look out for any young or frail birds that may find it difficult to escape your cat.

Cats can safely eat smaller down feathers, but before they can pass further down their digestive tract, they will probably throw them up.


What happens if a cat eats a bird feather?

The feather will pass thru your cats digestive tract harmlessly! To be honest, all cats eat feathers when letting loose, so I think your cat isn’t in any problem. Just keep checking it’s poop. But make sure to look out for any weird signs like vomiting or any sort of allergies.

Are bird feathers safe for cats?

It’s not uncommon to see feathers incorporated into cat toys, but these avian amusements aren’t safe for kittens. Kittens learn with their mouths, and are likely to chew on anything you give them, so a delicate object like a feather may wind up being chomped in half, swallowed, and lodged in the throat or stomach.

What happens if cat eats feathers from toy?

Risks of feather cat toys “If your cat swallows part of a feather, they could be fine, or they could develop vomiting and abdominal pain,” Moon said. Swallowing a feather — or even part of one — could also cause a blockage, which is a medical emergency.

Should I let my cat chew on feathers?

Our vet explained that as “complete predators” cats are best nourished by eating their entire prey – fur, feathers, bird feet, skulls, etc. So I believe eating feathers is not inherently bad for him, perhaps even the opposite. But feathers are full of fungus, mites, viruses, bacteria, and goodness knows what else.