Can cats eat feathers? 

Feathers are outgrowths, that form a distinctive covering or plumage, on avians (birds). This article will cover the concern “Can cats eat feathers?”, health risks associated with its consumption, what happens when a cat eats feathers, etc. 

Can cats eat feathers? 

No, cats cannot eat feathers. Feathers are not healthy for your feline friend and pose a number of health risks. Cats are inquisitive creatures, and they like to discover everything that comes across them by eating them. If they come across

a feather, they are bound to try and eat it. 

Cats are obligate carnivores and their diet mainly comprises animal-based proteins. These feathers when ingested by cats can cause severe conditions like choking or intestinal obstruction. Try preventing your cat’s access to feathers. 

What happens when a cat ingests feathers?

If your cat has ingested feathers while hunting a bird, monitor your cat for the next 24-48 hours, as it may show signs of blockage or choking. Loss of appetite, low energy, a bloated stomach, and a low body temperature are also observed in cats facing obstruction due to feathers. 

If your cat is vomiting and meowing more than usual, consult your veterinarian. Sometimes, cat toys made out of feathers can prove detrimental. If your cat is destroying feather toys without actually eating them, it’s likely your cat is just playing. 

What are the risks associated with feather consumption in cats? 

The following risks are observed in cats that have fed on feathers: 

  • As feathers don’t pass through the intestine, cats can face conditions like lack of appetite, weight loss, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea due to gastrointestinal irritation. 
  • Artificial feathers may have a toxic dye on them which could be toxic to your cat. 
  • Poor digestion can cause your cat to suffer from constipation and stomach aches. 
  • The shaft of feathers can get lodged in the cat’s throat and can cause a choking hazard. 
  • Feathers obstructing your cat’s GIT can make it show signs like gagging, retching, panic, anxiety, labored breathing, pawing, drooling, or rubbing of the face against the door. 

Why does a cat eat feathers?

Cats eat feathers either while hunting and eating prey or out of curiosity. As cats are naturally attracted to feathers, they will try to chase and hunt down birds for food. When a cat bites into a bird covered in feathers, it’ll inevitably ingest some feathers.

This is the reason many cat toys have feathers on them. The texture and fast light movements of these toys stimulate the hunting instinct in cats. The curious nature of cats makes them eat these feathers, which leads to the above-mentioned health risks. 

Can cats digest feathers?

Feathers are made of a protein called beta-protein, the same type of protein that forms the beak and claws of birds. It’s not easily digested in cats and they vomit the feathers back out. It’s a natural mechanism in cats to get rid of any ingested material causing obstruction in their GIT. 

Cats tend to vomit stuff up when it’s not easy to digest or pass through the stomach. If your cat has eaten feathers, monitor them closely for signs of vomiting, which can reassure you that your cat has not eaten the feather.  

How to prevent your cat from hunting birds? 

It’s your responsibility to take the proper measures that can help prevent your cat’s hunting behavior, let’s look: 

Keeping your car indoors

The most efficient way to prevent your cat from hunting birds is by keeping them indoors. Cats are at risk of getting injured or killed when left outside to roam unsupervised. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to keep your cat indoors for its safety. 

Keep birds in a cage 

If you’re also keeping birds as a pet in addition to your cat, it’ll need extra safety measures to ensure the safety of your both pets. If you take out your bird for some daily exercise, make sure your cat is locked securely in an area away from the bird. 

Ensure your cat is well-fed

Cats are opportunistic eaters, you can deter their hunting behavior by feeding them a high-quality diet and ensuring their nutritional requirements are fulfilled. If cats are fed regularly, it prevents them from hunting down unsuspecting birds. 


Today, we covered the article “Can cats eat feathers?”, health risks associated with its consumption, what happens when a cat eats feathers, etc. From the above discussion, it’s concluded that your cat cannot eat feathers because they can obstruct the stomach or choking hazards.

If you’ve a cat that likes to roam outside, there’s a good chance it’ll catch a bird at some point. While eating this bird, your cat may ingest feathers along with meat, which leads to the above-mentioned complications. This condition can be avoided by making sure your cat is well-fed.


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