Can Cats Eat Turkey Necks?

10 Min Read

As a responsible cat owner, it is essential to provide a well-balanced diet for your feline companion. While commercial cat food can meet their nutritional needs, many pet owners often wonder if they can incorporate other types of food into their cat’s diet. One such query that arises is whether cats can safely consume turkey necks. In this article, we will explore the benefits and potential risks of feeding turkey necks to cats, helping you make an informed decision regarding your furry friend’s diet.

Nutritional Value of Turkey Necks

Turkey necks offer several nutritional benefits for cats. They are a rich source of lean protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. The necks contain nutrients like vitamin B6, niacin, zinc, iron, and phosphorus, which play vital roles in maintaining a cat’s overall health. Additionally, the cartilage found in turkey necks is a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which promote joint health and mobility.

Chewing and Dental Health

One of the significant advantages of feeding cats turkey necks is the dental benefits it provides. Chewing on the raw bones of turkey necks can help remove plaque and tartar buildup on a cat’s teeth, promoting better oral hygiene. The mechanical action of gnawing also exercises their jaw muscles, contributing to healthier gums and overall dental health.

Risk Factors to Consider

While there are numerous advantages to incorporating turkey necks into your cat’s diet, it is crucial to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions.

  • Choking Hazard: Cats can sometimes be over-enthusiastic when it comes to consuming bones. Turkey necks contain small, delicate bones that could pose a choking hazard if not chewed properly. Therefore, it is crucial to supervise your cat during feeding and ensure they are properly chewing and breaking down the bones.
  • Bone Splintering: Although raw bones are generally safer than cooked bones, there is still a risk of bone splintering, especially if the bones are excessively brittle or if the cat’s chewing technique is aggressive. Bone splinters can cause harm to a cat’s mouth, throat, or digestive tract. To minimize this risk, it is advisable to feed cats raw, fresh turkey necks and choose necks that are appropriate in size for your cat.
  • Bacterial Contamination: Raw meat, including turkey necks, can carry bacteria such as Salmonella or Campylobacter, which may pose a health risk to both cats and humans. Proper handling, storage, and hygiene practices are essential to minimize the chances of bacterial contamination. Thoroughly wash hands, utensils, and surfaces after handling raw meat, and consider consulting with a veterinarian to understand the necessary precautions.

Feeding Guidelines

If you decide to incorporate turkey necks into your cat’s diet, it is essential to follow these guidelines:

  • Consult Your Veterinarian: Before introducing any new food item to your cat’s diet, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian. They can assess your cat’s individual needs, provide personalized advice, and help determine if turkey necks are suitable for your feline friend.
  • Start Slowly: When introducing turkey necks, start by offering small pieces as a treat or meal to gauge your cat’s acceptance and chewing ability. Observe their behavior closely and ensure they are properly chewing and breaking down the bones.
  • Choose Quality Sources: Select fresh, raw turkey necks from reputable sources, preferably those raised for human consumption. Avoid using necks that have been treated with seasonings, additives, or excessive processing.
  • Proper Preparation: Handle turkey necks with care, following proper hygiene practices. Thoroughly wash and sanitize all surfaces, utensils, and hands after handling raw meat.


Can I feed my cat cooked turkey necks?

It is generally recommended to feed cats raw turkey necks rather than cooked ones. Cooked bones can splinter and pose a choking hazard or cause internal injuries. Raw bones are softer and safer for cats to chew. If you prefer to cook the turkey necks, it is best to remove the bones entirely and only feed the meat to your cat.

How should I prepare turkey necks before feeding them to my cat?

When feeding your cat turkey necks, it is best to serve them raw. Raw bones are softer and less likely to splinter compared to cooked bones. Before serving, ensure that the turkey necks are fresh and obtained from a reputable source. You can cut the necks into appropriately sized pieces for your cat to handle and chew. Remember to practice proper hygiene by thoroughly washing your hands, utensils, and surfaces after handling raw meat.

How often can I feed my cat turkey necks?

The frequency of feeding turkey necks to your cat depends on several factors, including their overall diet and individual health. It is advisable to consult with your veterinarian to determine an appropriate feeding schedule based on your cat’s specific needs. In general, turkey necks can be given as an occasional treat or incorporated into a balanced raw food diet.

What should I do if my cat chokes on a turkey neck bone?

Choking can be a serious emergency. If your cat is choking on a turkey neck bone, it is crucial to remain calm and take immediate action. You can try performing the Heimlich maneuver for cats by placing your hands just below the ribcage and applying firm but gentle pressure. However, it is always recommended to seek immediate veterinary assistance to ensure your cat’s safety and well-being.

Can feeding turkey necks cause an upset stomach in cats?

While some cats may have no issues digesting turkey necks, others may experience gastrointestinal upset. Cats have different sensitivities, and sudden dietary changes can sometimes lead to diarrhea, vomiting, or other digestive disturbances. To minimize the risk, introduce turkey necks gradually into your cat’s diet and monitor their response. If you notice any adverse reactions, discontinue feeding turkey necks and consult your veterinarian.

Are there alternative dental health options for cats if I don’t want to feed them turkey necks?

If you prefer not to feed your cat turkey necks or are concerned about the risks, there are alternative dental health options available. Dental treats specifically designed for cats can help promote oral hygiene by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. Additionally, regular tooth brushing with cat-friendly toothpaste and dental rinses can help maintain your cat’s dental health. Consult with your veterinarian for specific recommendations tailored to your cat’s needs.

Can kittens eat turkey necks?

It is generally not recommended to feed turkey necks to kittens, especially very young ones. Kittens have delicate digestive systems, and their teeth and jaw strength may not be fully developed. It is best to consult with your veterinarian to determine an appropriate diet for kittens and discuss safe options for promoting their dental health.

Can feeding my cat turkey necks replace commercial cat food entirely?

Turkey necks should not replace a well-balanced commercial cat food diet entirely. While turkey necks offer nutritional benefits, they do not provide a complete and balanced diet on their own. Commercial cat foods are formulated to meet a cat’s specific dietary requirements, including essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It is important to feed your cat a balanced diet that includes high-quality commercial cat food supplemented with appropriate treats or occasional additions like turkey necks. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure your cat’s nutritional needs are being met.


While cats are obligate carnivores and can derive nutritional benefits from consuming turkey necks, it is essential to consider the potential risks involved. The dental advantages, lean protein, and essential nutrients make turkey necks an attractive option for feline diets. However, responsible pet ownership includes careful monitoring during feeding, selecting appropriate neck sizes, and maintaining proper hygiene practices. Consulting with a veterinarian is crucial to ensure your cat’s specific dietary needs are met and to address any concerns or questions you may have. By taking these precautions, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to incorporate turkey necks into your cat’s diet.

Share This Article
Leave a comment