Cats are carnivores, but can they handle lamb bones? Most of us enjoy a tasty lamb shank, seasoned with rosemary and grilled on the open fire. Is it possible to share this treat with your pet?
Giving bones to cats is a source of constant controversy. The killer chicken bone has almost reached the status of feline urban legend. Granted, some bones do look like they are needle-sharp and meant for impaling rather than structural support.
We manage to eat it without getting hurt most of the time so a cat should be able to do it too. After all, cats have been eating and stripping carcasses for longer than humans have. However, every legend, every myth is born from a seed of truth and the legend of the killer bone is no different.
Can I Give My Cat Lamb Bones? Answer: Raw Only
Cats can chew on raw lamb bones without any problem. Raw bones are soft enough for felines to chew on and strip off any left over meat with their sharp canines. Cats are true carnivores, living off only the animals that they kill. This means that their body, including their digestive system has evolved to get the nutrients it needs from animals carcasses including the organs, tissues and bones.
In fact gnawing on raw lamb bones can even improve the health of a cat’s teeth and gums. To cats it is almost like toothpaste. Cooked bones, on the other hand are dangerous and should never be given to cats.
Like a Cat with a Bone
Lamb bones, and any other bone given to your cat, should be fresh and preservative free. Felines are hunters not scavengers, so their digestive system has evolved to only eat fresh kills. Other animals, such as dogs and hyenas are able to eat meat even after it has been lying out for a while, but not cats. As usual, they are pretty finicky about their food.
It is a good thing they are so picky too since meat can contain salmonella bacteria. Although lamb is less likely to have this bacteria than chicken and other fowl, it is still best to provide the freshest bones possible. Ensure that the bones you give to your cat are big enough that they can’t swallow it whole in their enthusiasm. Also make sure they are not big marrow bones either because those can damage their teeth when they try to bite them.
If you are worried you can always supervise your cat while they chew away. Watch out with giving too many bones, because your furry friend might become constipated. Around one or two bones a week should be fine.
Raw Bone Please, Hold the Spices
If the lamb shank is spiced up or marinated, do not feed it to the cat. Despite their finicky eating habits and often snobbish attitudes cats are not lovers of fine cuisine, evident from their preference for raw meat. Any attempt to spice up their delicious raw lamb shank meal will be met with disapproval and might actually be fatal.
Onions and garlic destroy the red blood cells in a cat leading to a dangerous form of anemia. Avocados contain persin which is toxic to cats. Although not many recipes combine lamb with chocolate it is important to note that chocolate is toxic to cats as well because it is best to cover all bases.
The Danger of Cooked Bones
Raw bones are flexible and soft. A cat is equipped to chew, gnaw, and tear them apart to get nutrition from them. Cooked bones are a danger that cats are not equipped to deal with. The process of cooking causes the bones to become brittle and in turn they can splinter when your little lion tears into them. Bone splinters are can cause serious internal damage and even block the intestines.
Surgery may be required to remove splinters lodges in the throat or intestines of a cat fed cooked bones. If your cat is a freak for bones it might be a good idea to ensure they can’t steal any out of the trash.
Share the Bone Before You Cook It
Giving your cat raw lamb bones might actually have nutritional value and could be aiding the health of their teeth and gums. It is important to remember that once cooked the bone will be brittle and the risk of splinters is dramatically increased. So if you want to share the lamb shank with your furry friend it is possible, but lay off the spices too because they can be toxic to the cat.