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Can Cats Eat Rawhide? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Rawhide

It’s not uncommon for cat owners to turn to dog chews for their cats, especially if they are chewing on undesirable items throughout the house. There’s significant debate about rawhide’s safety for dogs, and it’s definitely not a safe option for a cat. In fact, most dog chews aren’t safe for cats because they are designed for dogs. Dogs and cats have different nutritional requirements, so the type of treats you provide them should be different too. There are chews designed specifically for cats that are safe and nutritious.

Is rawhide safe for cats?

Without getting into the details, there’s a lot of debate surrounding the safety of rawhide for any animal. The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA both discourage the use of rawhide as a pet chew and list it as a dangerous household product.

Top Dog Chews Knotted Rawhide Dog Bones

Can cats eat dog bones?

Meaty bones are good treats for both cats and dogs. Cats are obligate carnivores and require meat protein as their primary source of food to stay healthy. Meat bones provide dental benefits, nutritional support and can aid in the correction of some behavioral issues related to boredom. However, we strongly suggest you avoid giving dog bones to cats. Their smaller teeth are not suitable for chewing on large bones.

What kind of chew is safe for cats?

There are several kinds of chews that are not only safe for cats but designed specifically for cats. The following are some recommendations:

What kind of bones is safe for cats?

Raw meaty bones that are safe for cats include chicken necks, wings, drumsticks, and lamb shanks. These should always be fed raw to your cat. Cooked bones become brittle and splinter, causing a risk of internal injury, choking, which can potentially be fatal.

Always supervise your cat when you give them a bone. Be aware that too many raw bones can cause constipation in cats, so they should be fed in moderation.

cat eating cooked chicken
Image credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

Why isn’t rawhide safe?

Rawhide bones pose a choking hazard for both dogs and cats. When your pet swallows a large piece of rawhide, it can get stuck in its esophagus or other parts of its digestive tract. Rawhide is difficult for animals to digest, and it doesn’t break down the way other bones do.

Can cats eat dog treats?

While feeding your cat, the occasional dog treat won’t hurt them; they shouldn’t be fed on a constant basis. Dog food and dog treats don’t contain the same amounts of minerals as cat food and treats. They are lower in taurine, as they are designed to promote canine health rather than feline health. If you feed your cat too much dog food or treats, they will become deficient in certain nutrients.

Can cats eat bully sticks?

Cats aren’t natural chewers like dogs are, so it can be harder to find things they like to chew on. Bully sticks won’t hurt your cat from a nutritional standpoint, but they are hard to chew and designed for dogs that like to gnaw for hours at a time.

If your cat is a chewer, choose bully sticks, bones, or rope toys appropriate for their size like those made for toy dog breeds, so they don’t injure their teeth and gums while chewing.

cat eating chicken
Image credit: PxFuel

What foods are toxic for cats?

There are several foods that are toxic for cats to consume. They include:
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raw eggs
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Raw dough
  • Milk and dairy
  • Grapes and raisins

Is catnip safe for cats?

There’s no evidence that feeding cats or kittens catnip is harmful. However, if they eat too many fresh or dried catnip leaves, they can develop an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Why does my cat nibble on me?

Cat nibbling behavior is thought to be reminiscent of a mother cat caring for her litter. Many cats bite or nibble at their owners as a sign of affection, and this behavior is more common in female cats.

Is canned tuna safe for cats?

Cats love to chow down on canned tuna, and it is safe to give your cat as an occasional treat. Feeding a steady diet of human-grade tuna will eventually lead to malnutrition as it doesn’t have the complete nutrition your cat needs to stay healthy. Long-term, too much tuna can also lead to mercury poisoning.

cat eating out of food bowl
Image credit: PxFuel

Can cats drink milk?

Cow’s milk is bad for cats. Cats are essentially lactose-intolerant because they don’t have the enzyme in their intestines that’s required to break down the sugar contained in cow’s milk.

If you are bottle-feeding a small kitten, it’s important to use cat milk replacement to feed them until they can be weaned onto cat food.

Final thoughts

Rawhide is not considered a safe chew for cats. If your cat likes to chew, there are several options available for chew and chew toys that are specifically designed for them. While the occasional dog treat won’t harm your cat, it’s best for your cat to consume food and treats that are designed to meet their unique nutritional needs.


Featured Image Credit: Photo Melon, Shutterstock

Further reading

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