Cats have been the second most popular pet behind dogs for centuries now and it is estimated that around a quarter of all households have a pet cat in them.
Due to this, it is easy to see why we constantly see a wide range of questions from the cat owning community about offering their pet cats the best possible care.
A common question that we have noticed people from the cat owning community asking for advice for each month is what to do if their cat eats a feather.
There are usually two types of questions within this with the first being due to a bird eating a natural feather from a bird and the second being a bird either a natural or synthetic feather from a cat toy.
We will be covering both eventualities in this article with a goal of being able to help as many of our readers as possible.
We will also be covering all of the questions shown below in our table of contents that we see from the community about cats eating feather too as it is a good way to round all of these questions up and answer them in a single article.
What Happens If A Cat Eats A Feather?
There are usually four things that can happen if a cat eats a feather, this first is that it will spit the feather out, the second is that it will swallow the father or get it stuck in its throat and then vomit it back up, the third is that the cat will eat the feather and pass it naturally, and the fourth is that the father will cause a blockage in your cats intestine.
Thankfully, the only serious outcome is that the feather will cause a blockage in your cats intestine or digestive system and this is by far the least common outcome.
If you cat has swallowed a feather, don’t instantly think that your cat is going to end up with a blockage as there are a number of potential possibilities that can happen.
The other three possible outcomes are far more common with each of the having their own much lower level of risk than any potential blockage.
For the most part, the majority of cats who do swallow a feather will be fine and shouldn’t have any long term problems.
Are Feathers Dangerous For Cats?
When your cat eats a feather there is a small chance that a blockage can occur at some point in your cats digestive system presenting a real danger to your cat.
If the feather ends up stuck in your cats throat then this can also present a mild level of danger but is often nothing serious.
You can usually just check your cats throat for any signs of the feather to see if it is stuck there but keep your distance if possible as some cats will force themselves to vomit within minutes of eating a feather.
If you can’t see the feather in your cats throat and it doesnt vomit it up then check your cats litter tray over the course of the next 24 to 48 hours to see if your cat has passed the feather.
If there is no sign of the feather by the 48 hour point we would recommend that you book a short video call with a vet to to have them give your cat the once over.
They will be in a much better position to assess your cat and give you professional advice specific to your exact situation for moving forward.
Please note though, feather, especially larger ones can be problematic for your cat to pass so it does not always mean there is a blockage in your cat.
Can Feathers Cause A Blockage In Cats?
There is a small chance that feather can cause a blockage in your cats with the most common blockage being in their intestines and posing the largest risk.
There is a smaller chance of a “blockage” in the cats throat but that is to really classed as a true blockage in the medical sense.
The severity of an intestinal blockage in your cat that is caused by a feather depends on a few different things and there are a few different things that you are able to try.
One of the more common ones is to feed your cat a cat treat that is high in fiber to help it get some force behind the feather to try release the blockage.
In some extremely rare situations, surgery may be required but there are a number of different variables that you have to consider. This is why we recommend that you try to seek assistance from a veterinarian if you haven’t seen your cat pass the feather within 48 hours.
Can Cats Digest Bird Feathers?
Cats are unable to digest bird feathers and this is why they can pose a thread of causing a blockage in your cats digestive system. The stomach acid produced by your cats is simply not designed to break a feature down.
The majority of cats will simply vomit a feather up within minutes of swallowing it though. This removed the majority of the risk to your cat as well as the majority of the worry from you as the cats owner being stressed that your cat will have a serious health problem due to swallowing a feather.
Somtimes, your cat may be able to regurgitate the feather in a similar way that they would for a fur ball too but it is more common that they will simply vomit it back up.
This is due to the shape of the feather not sitting in the stomach of a cat well and causing irritation increasing the chance of your cat simply vomiting it back up.
My Cat Ate A Feather From A Toy!
It is usually better if your cat swallows a feather from a toy rather than a feather from a bird. Some popular cat toys with feathers will use synthetic materials for the feather than your cat is able to digest to prevent any potential risk of your cat having problems with a blockage later down the line.
On the flipside of that though, this can be problematic for you to tell if the synthetic feather has actually been digested or if it has caused a blockage.
Feathers on toys tend to be smaller than feathers from birds too usually reducing the risks that they will cause a blockage anyway.
There are ways that you can check for a potential blockage in your cat’s digestive system after eating a feather but it can be easy to misdiagnose a blockage as a beginner.
This is why you should be seeking the assistance of a vet if you are worries about your cat having a blockage after eating feather.
That brings our article going over what to do if your cat ate a feather to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the various potential outcomes for your cat if it has swallowed a feather. We know that we have focused on any potential digestive blockages in the article due to them being the most serious risk but the chances of them occurring really are small so try not to worry.