Can Cats Have Rawhide? Everything You Need to Know


If you’re a cat owner, you may have wondered whether it’s safe to give your feline friend rawhide.

Rawhide is a popular chew treat for dogs, but can cats enjoy it too? In this article, we will explore the topic of cats and rawhide, discussing its safety, potential benefits, and alternatives to consider.

Understanding Rawhide

Rawhide is a type of treat made from the inner layer of animal hides, typically from cows. It is often processed and treated to create a durable and long-lasting chew for dogs.

Rawhide is known for its toughness and ability to satisfy a dog’s natural urge to chew. However, it’s important to note that rawhide for dogs is different from rawhide for cats.

Can Cats Have Rawhide?

While rawhide is generally safe for dogs, it is not recommended for cats. Cats have different digestive systems and chewing behaviors compared to dogs.

Rawhide can be difficult for cats to digest, leading to potential digestive issues and blockages.

Additionally, cats may not find rawhide as appealing as dogs do, making it less effective as a chew treat for them.

Benefits of Rawhide for Cats

Although rawhide is not recommended for cats, it’s worth mentioning some of the potential benefits it offers for dogs.

Chewing rawhide can help promote dental health in dogs by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. It can also provide mental stimulation and relieve boredom.

However, there are alternative options available specifically designed for cats that offer similar benefits.

Alternatives to Rawhide for Cats

When it comes to satisfying your cat’s natural urge to chew, there are several alternatives to rawhide that are safer and more suitable for felines.

Cat-friendly chew toys made from materials like rubber or fabric can provide a safe and enjoyable chewing experience for your cat.

Natural dental treats specifically formulated for cats are also available, which can help promote dental health without the risks associated with rawhide.

Understanding Your Cat’s Chewing Behavior

Cats chew for various reasons, including teething, dental health, stress relief, and play.

It’s important to understand your cat’s chewing behavior to provide appropriate chew toys and treats.

Normal chewing behavior in cats includes gentle nibbling and exploring objects with their mouths.

However, excessive chewing or pica (the consumption of non-food items) may indicate an underlying issue and should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Potential Risks of Rawhide for Cats

Rawhide poses several risks for cats, including choking hazards and digestive issues.

Cats have a tendency to bite off small pieces of rawhide, which can become lodged in their throat and cause choking.

Additionally, the tough texture of rawhide can be difficult for cats to break down and digest, potentially leading to gastrointestinal blockages.

Allergic reactions to rawhide are also possible in some cats.

How to Safely Give Rawhide to Cats

Given the potential risks associated with rawhide, it is not recommended to give it to cats.

However, if you still choose to offer rawhide to your cat, it’s important to take certain precautions.

Choose a rawhide specifically designed for cats, as they are typically smaller and easier to chew.

Always supervise your cat while they are chewing rawhide to prevent choking or other accidents. After your cat has finished chewing, promptly remove any remaining pieces to avoid ingestion.

Signs of Rawhide Allergy in Cats

Some cats may develop allergies to rawhide, resulting in symptoms such as itching, skin irritation, vomiting, or diarrhea.

If you notice any of these signs after giving your cat rawhide, it’s important to discontinue use and consult with a veterinarian.

They can help determine if your cat is indeed allergic to rawhide and recommend suitable alternatives.

Other Considerations for Cat Chewing

When introducing new chew treats or toys to your cat, consider their age and dental health. Kittens may have different chewing needs compared to adult cats.

Additionally, cats with dental issues may require softer chew options.

It’s also important to monitor your cat’s chewing habits and ensure they are not excessively chewing or ingesting non-food items, as this may indicate an underlying health issue.


In conclusion, while rawhide is generally safe for dogs, it is not recommended for cats due to potential risks and hazards.

Cats have different chewing behaviors and dietary needs, making alternatives to rawhide a better option.

By understanding your cat’s chewing behavior and providing appropriate alternatives, you can ensure their dental health and overall well-being.

Remember, a happy and healthy cat is a cherished companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats have rawhide if it’s specifically made for cats?

No, even if rawhide is specifically made for cats, it is still not recommended. Cats have different digestive systems and chewing behaviors compared to dogs.

Rawhide can be difficult for cats to digest and may lead to digestive issues and blockages. It’s best to opt for alternative chew treats and toys that are specifically designed for cats.

Are there any natural alternatives to rawhide for cats?

Yes, there are several natural alternatives to rawhide that are safe and suitable for cats.

Cat-friendly chew toys made from materials like rubber or fabric can provide a safe and enjoyable chewing experience.

Additionally, there are natural dental treats available that are specifically formulated for cats, promoting dental health without the risks associated with rawhide.

What should I do if my cat accidentally ingests rawhide?

If your cat accidentally ingests rawhide, monitor them closely for any signs of discomfort or distress.

If you notice any symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty in passing stool, it’s important to seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Ingestion of rawhide can potentially lead to gastrointestinal blockages, which require prompt medical attention.

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