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Hello,

One of my 2 cats (both are about 1 years old now) have been diagnosed with Juvenile Gingivitis despite I've been doing my best to brush their teeth at least 5 times a week. The vet said the condition is likely to be hereditary.

I've read good things about feeding raw chicken necks to your cat and I bought a bag of frozen ones especially made for pets from a pet store. I thawed 2 pieces overnight and gave 1 to each cat. They loved it so much and ended up eating the whole thing. Their teeth looked really white and clean afterwords. But I was SOOOO scared they'd choke on the bone because they were munching down so fast, growling and all.

The next day, I chopped the chicken necks into about 1 inch pieces before offering to my cats. I nearly passed out. One of them swallowed the whole piece, chocked on it, and threw it up. My cat snatched the piece right back again as if anticipating that I'd take it away. I was panicking real bad by this point. The cat swallowed the whole piece again, choked, and threw it up, but this time, I snatched up the piece. I screamed for my husband and he put the cat in the bathroom while I fought with my second cat to take his piece away before he'd choke on them.

I was very traumatized by the experience but I didn't come across any cats that choked and died from eating raw bones on the internet. I like the idea of my cats exercising their jaws and forcing them to use their teeth... I want them to live a long healthy lives...

So the question is... should I try giving them raw chicken necks again (without cutting them into smaller pieces)? Are there any cons to giving them raw chicken necks?



More about my cats:

Both my cats had digestive problems (diarrhea that won't go away, blood in stool, etc.) since kittens and have been on prescription cat food (Royal Canin) and I had to stop feeding them Wellness canned food. When I tried to move away from the prescription food, the diarrhea and blood in stool came back.

I've had some concerns about some of the ingredients in Royal Canin and asked my vet about "raw diet" and she was against the idea. I had noticed that the vet office feeds dry food to their office cats (I've only read bad things about dry food) so I continue to keep my options open to raw diet.

I came across Instinct Raw from Nature's Variety. The company makes raw food for pets that is complete and balanced. I gave it a try and within a month, both cats were transitioned to the new food and they were loving it without any health problems. Another month later, I came across "Rad Cat" brand, raw food made specifically for cats. They absolutely love the raw food and they look much healthier (shiner and soft coat, etc.).

And now, I'm interested in pros and cons about feeding raw chicken neck to see if I can improve their teeth situation and minimize professional teeth cleaning.
 

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Bigger is always better, bigger things require chewing. I would continue giving necks, with supervision, but never cut them up. It's good that the cat regurgitated, it means it wasn't a real choking episode, however I'm surprised he didn't try chewing it the second time, usually the barf it up to chew better.

If you have more incidents like this I'd suggest trying chicken wings instead. The necks are just the right shape to slide down a throat, the wings are not nice and cylindrical like that, do harder to try and swallow pieces whole.

Raw is awesome for the teeth, not sure if it will reverse gingivitis though, I don't know enough about the condition. It will take tartar off though.
 

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My Abby had severe gingivitis for just about her entire life; my vet felt it was a hereditary and immune disorder. Poor cat always had sore gums even with mouth rinses and dental care monthly. I took her to a specialist in Philadelphia and they recommended giving her supplemental vitamin C and vitamin D and that helped more than all the rinses and dental care combined. She also loved raw chicken and gave her chicken necks to encourage her to chew. Do leave the necks whole; it is safer that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences! I will try giving the whole neck pieces again and keep an eye out for the chicken wings. Also, i wasn't aware that vitamin C and D could help... will definitely look into it. Thanks again!!
 

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Yes--bigger pieces are better to avoid choking. That said, IMO chicken necks (and really, any chicken bones other than ribs) are too big for cats. CAN they eat them? Many can, yes. But it's a lot more bone than a cat would ever eat in a wild situation where they would be catching mice and small birds, not honking big chickens.

Quail or cornish hens are a better choice for bone-in meat IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What does IMO stand for?

Is it safe to buy organic whole cornish hen from a grocery market and chop it up myself and feed to cats? What other parts of chickens can they eat and can i freeze for later feeding or would that potentially create bacteria..?

Would it make sense for me to take away the chicken neck when they are about half way done eating?

I don't think I've come across quails at markets...
 

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What does IMO stand for?
In my opinion. :)
Is it safe to buy organic whole cornish hen from a grocery market and chop it up myself and feed to cats? What other parts of chickens can they eat and can i freeze for later feeding or would that potentially create bacteria..?
Of course you can just cut up cornish hens. :) Freezing doesn't "create bacteria" lol. Grinding is likely to provide a happy place for bacteria to grow (more surface area--see the link I posted on your other thread), but freezing doesn't do that. When I fed cornish hen I just quartered them and 1/4 hen = 1 meal for 1 cat. Quail are easily found at Asian markets--1/2 quail = 1 meal for 1 cat. All dressed bone-in meat is higher in bone than cats need so feed a bone-in meal every 3-4 meals, with meatymeat meals in between.

Chicken livers are easily found and are a good way to cover the 5% of the diet that should be liver. Feed 1 liver once every 2-3 meals. Chicken gizzards count as meat, not organ--they are just muscle.
Would it make sense for me to take away the chicken neck when they are about half way done eating?
Well, you might get bitten. ;) You can feed them if your cats are handling the bone OK. Just keep in mind that chicken necks are 40-75% bone (depending on whether there is skin attached or not), which is a TON of bone. So if you feed those, give only meatymeat meals for 5-6 meals in between to make up for that.
 

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i buy quail for my guys. The local 'gourmet' store has them for about 15.00 for a pack of 12 quail. They are organic and fed without antibiotics. I feed canned daily and give a quail to each cat (quartered) once a week.
 

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Scooter
IMO = in my opinion

So.... IMO chicken wings are a little hard for cats to chew, especially if they are new to raw. The bones in cornish hens are smaller. Ritz loves rabbit, so I buy a whole rabbit (minus head) and give him a few pieces of rabbit bone a week. (I freeze the extra bone.) She likes quail, but it has too much bone for her. Ritz is prone to constipation, so I feed the low end of the recommended percentage. Be careful about feeding too much bone, your cats may get constipated.
Ritz had to have a dental cleaning when she was just two years old. Vet said genetics and perhaps poor nutrition (she lived on the streets for the first four to six months of her life) were the reason. I transitioned her to commercial raw (Rad Cat and other brands) quickly then on to raw--she took to it immediately. At her last wellness checkup in May, the vet said her teeth were fine, no problem. AND, this result without brushing her teeth.
 

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Well, you might get bitten. ;) You can feed them if your cats are handling the bone OK. Just keep in mind that chicken necks are 40-75% bone (depending on whether there is skin attached or not), which is a TON of bone. So if you feed those, give only meatymeat meals for 5-6 meals in between to make up for that.[/QUOTE]


haha... i just got done feeding both cats raw chicken necks again and successfully removed the piece when they were about half way done. It helped to separate the cats.

Stripes, one of my cats broke off a piece, swallowed it, regurgitated the piece, swallowed it again without chewing it more, regurgitated it, and finally, I was able to snatched the piece away to end the cycle.

When Scooter, my other cat, got his piece down to about 2 inches, the piece got wedged in his upper fang real tight, I struggled to pull the piece off his teeth. Scooter was born with mild neurological issues (impacts his motor skills) and time to time, needs help. It was a bit worrisome to see the piece get stuck in his mouth but he didn't scream in pain when I pulled the piece out and he went back to eating so I assume he is OK. At his last check up, the vet predicted that Scooter will likely loose most of his teeth... and told me there is nothing I could do. I really hope giving him something to chew on will help strengthen his teeth and gum. He is only 1 year old and it will break my heart to see him toothless in addition to his less than average motor skills! :(
 
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