Cat Health

Cat Feather Ingestion: Observations, Risks, and Solutions

Cat ate feathers: Cats get into trouble as they discover every nook and cranny of your house or property. At times, they are bound to consume something they aren’t supposed to.

My cat ate feathers; If your cat has swallowed feathers from a toy or has hunted a bird, don’t worry; your little feline will be okay for the most part. All you need to do is look for some details and observe your cat’s behavior; watch out for signs of compulsive disorder, PICA, Blockage of the intestinal tract, vomiting, and diarrhea, and Get to your vet asap.

You should immediately ensure that your cat will be okay and that the feather ingestion won’t cause any complications.

Cat ate feathers

What should I do if my cat ate feathers?

Now, the first thing you should do if your cat is feathers is to find out whether your cat ate the whole feather or not and where did the feather come from? From a toy or an actual bird?

Also, check if the feather had any sharp edges or if your cat ingested the feather spine too.

If the ingested feather belonged to a toy, your cat isn’t at much risk unless the feather is synthetic and made up of nylon or plastics. In that case, you need to contact your vet as soon as possible.

Suppose the feather originated from a bird your cat may have hunted. Your cat may be at risk of diseases or digestive problems as prey bird feathers come with their problems.

Observe your cat

Protect your pet for 36 hours. Pets should relax. Cats may meow excessively and be stressed by feathers.

Avoid choking your kitty on the feather. Heavy feathers can obstruct kittens’ airways.Choking kittens need vet visits.

Check your cat’s belly by lightly pressing. Softness pleases. A firm or reactive feather makes digestion difficult for cats.

Intestinal obstructions can make cats hungry and tired. Cats’ body temperatures may suggest sickness. Low-temperature cats need quick vet care.

Maintain your cat’s litterbox. Don’t worry if she poops within 24 hours.

Injured or trouble breathing after eating feathers? Take your cat to the vet.

Can Cats Digest Feathers?

Cats in the wild often eat feathers as birds form a significant amount of their diet. As a result, they are also easily able to digest feathers.

This may cause some people to assume that house cats can digest feathers. That assumption is incorrect, especially for most house cats that weren’t adopted as ferals.

 Though feathers alone can be harmless, the spine in the middle of a feather is what can cause digestive issues for your cat. The spine of the feather contains a protein called Beta-keratin, which causes digestive problems for your cat. Beta-keratin is the same protein that makes up a bird’s beak, and claws, your cat’s digestive system cannot break down the Beta-keratin protein, and either it has to be passed out as it is or spat back.

That said, small feathers used in toys are safe for your cat beyond a doubt. Since they are small and harmless, they can’t be an issue even if ingested.

That said, don’t let your fear of your cat eating feathers stop you from getting your cat feather toys. As long as the feathers are small and not synthetic, it’s completely safe.

Feather toys are a great source of exercise and entertainment for your cat because they activate your cat’s predator instincts.

Although feathers are frequently seen in cat toys, kittens should not play with them. A tiny object like a feather may be chewed in two, consumed, and become stuck in the throat or stomach since kittens learn with their jaws and will chew on anything you serve them.

Diseases caused by feathers 

Cats are predators and are bound to hunt birds and other small animals. More often than not, birds preyed on by cats are sick and can carry diseases that can infect cats too. At times these diseases can be further transmitted to humans also.

If you’re sure that your cat may have killed a bird and eaten it, then you need to be sure that the bird was indeed healthy. If you can’t find out information about the bird, then you should take your cat to the vet if its behavior changes in any way. Changes in eating habits are prime indicators of an impending infection.

The most common type of bacteria carried by birds and even their feathers is Salmonella. Salmonella can easily infect cats and cause a fever known as Songbird fever, which can make your cat very sick.

If you suspect your cat to be infected by songbird fever, be very cautious, as it can infect you too. In this case, going to the vet or quarantining your cat is the only option.

Why did my cat eat feathers?

Your cat’s ancestors have hunted birds for more than a millennia, your cat may be a more tame version of its ancestors, but it still has the instincts of its ancestors.

As feathers are an identifying feature of birds, they activate your cat’s hunting instincts and make them react to them. That’s why many toys use feathers to appeal to your cat. Sometimes your cat gets over excited and treats the feather as prey and ends up eating it.

Generally, if your cat ate feather toys and starts eating non-food objects, it could result from a disorder known as PICA.

What is PICA in cats?

PICA in cats is a condition where non-food objects like papers, fabrics, and feathers become appalling to your cat’s taste buds. Nutritional deficiencies and anxiety are known triggers for PICA.

It is usual for cats to play with their toys—this is its hunting instincts playing out, but when the fabrics on its toys beings to miss, or it takes a particular liking to chewing papers, shoes, furniture, etc. Your cat may be having PICA. A proper diagnosis is usually carried out and decided by your vet.

How else can you diagnose without symptoms? See your cat in action. PICA symptoms are similar to many other illnesses, making diagnosis challenging. You should go beyond the indicators and watch your cat for unusual eating and swallowing of non-food objects.

The symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, constipation, diarrhea, less appetite, etc.


Lacking nutrients: PICA in Cats can be caused by a deficiency of the cat’s needed nutrients; this will cause the cat to eat other things to supplement its lacking nutrients.

Anxiety is the cause of the majority of cats’ behavioral misconduct–anxiety will make your cat chew on furniture, your personal belongings, and anything it could see.

Teething can make a cat chew on stuffed toys, foam, and blankets; the cat is only trying to soothe its teeth—this will stop after your cat’s teething. If it extends beyond the cat’s teething period, call your vet.

If you are convinced about a strange eating behavior in your cat, get your vet involved.

What happens if my cat eats feathers?

Cats chew feathers. A chicken feather or hunted bird may save your cat. Bird feathers may damage cats with germs or parasites.

Synthetic toy feathers don’t decay like animal feathers, causing issues.

Stay close when your cat plays with cat wands and synthetic feather toys. Cats may consume feathers after they fall. I advise against such devices.

Blockage and feather eating can cause lethargy, loss of appetite, bloating, and low body temperature in cats. Ask the cat’s vet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats eat feathers?

Yes, cats can eat feathers, but the question is, are feathers safe for cats? No, feathers are not safe for cats, especially synthetic feathers found in toys; your cat system will not be able to process these feathers, leading to complications. In the wild, feral cats will eat the fur of other animals they hunt and kill; this fur has fiber and is quickly processed by their digestive system.

My Cat Ate a Feather From a Toy

If your cat ate feathers from a toy , there is no cause for alarm; a few feathers will not harm your cat. Constipation, stomach pains, and bloating may occur; keep an eye on your cat if you find out that a part of the kitty’s toy is missing. Get your vet involved if symptoms don’t resolve on their own in a day or two.

How long does it take a cat to pass a foreign object?

It takes 10 to 24 hours for a cat to pass a foreign object; in some cases, it may t, take beyond 24 hours for a foreign object to move through the cat’s digestive tract. Contact your vet if you know your cat ingested a foreign object.

Cat ate feathers


Cats will play with or hunt down anything moving fast, including roaches, birds, mice, and flies, but they don’t eat them most; if your cat begins to take a particular liking to eating non-food objects, the chances of getting sick become higher.

Typically, a cat will swallow its hairs while trying to groom itself, which leads to hairballs; aside, they are very intentional about what they swallow. If your cat ate feathers or is still eating feathers, you need to see a vet before it becomes a more severe issue.


I am Joshua kaynard, an avid cat lover. Our pets provide an excellent way of connecting with nature; I am committed to helping you understand all the aspects of your feline friend's life. Enjoy!

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