Cats are strictly carnivorous and need lots of animal-based protein to stay healthy. As such, they often prey on small mammals, local birds, and reptiles.
But do cats eat pigeons? Yes. Cats eat pigeons, especially when bored with their regular diet or extremely hungry. They will eat the head, brain, and even the intestines. However, cats don’t consume the feathers, gizzards, beaks, and large bones of pigeons.
Despite this fact, is it safe for cats to eat pigeons, or could they get sick? Stay here, and you will find out everything there is to know about felines-eating pigeons.
Do Cats Eat Pigeons?
Yes. Unlike dogs, cats are obligate or true carnivores. This means they are accustomed to eating meat to meet their nutritional needs. Besides preying on small animals like rodents and mice, the diet of domestic cats also includes birds such as cardinals.
With pigeons, it is common for cats to eat these birds if they are starving. And sometimes, your kitty may eat pigeons because it is bored with the food you are feeding it with.
That said, in most cases, felines only hunt and kill pigeons to hone their predator instincts. However, when cats eat pigeons, they don’t eat all the parts, including:
- Feathers and tail
- Large bones
You see, pigeon feathers and large bones are a choking hazard for cats and may cause intestinal obstruction. Meanwhile, the beak is made of beta-keratin, making it indigestible for your feline, while the gizzard contains strong acid.
Sometimes, cats may even eat pigeons alive without killing them first. This is because pigeons are weak, and cats are powerful. Here is a video of a stray black cat eating a pigeon while it is still alive:
Do Cats Eat Pigeon Heads?
Yes, apart from the beak. Cats eat pigeon heads for various reasons. First, a cat may eat the pigeon’s head to ensure it’s dead and does not escape. Once the bird is dead, it becomes easier for your kitty to feed on the rest of the body.
Another reason is that the pigeon’s head is the tastiest part of its body. Cats also find the bird’s head very nutritious, especially the brain. Additionally, felines find pigeons’ heads easier to consume because of minimal fur.
Can Cats Eat Dead Pigeons?
Yes. When hungry, stray cats can eat anything, including dead pigeons. But cats rarely eat dead animals. Instead, cats prefer eating prey that they have killed themselves. This is because they are highly skilled predators and not scavengers.
However, felines are also opportunistic feeders. Therefore, they will feed on what is most readily available.
Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Pigeons?
You can say both Yes and No in this case. Yes, as long as the pigeons are healthy and disease-free. After all, your feline’s digestive system is built to process raw meat and bones.
No, because, like other birds, pigeons carry illnesses that might make your kitty sick. For example, your cat may suffer from the following:
1. Gastric Problems
Your cat may suffer from gastric issues, including diarrhea and vomiting from eating pigeons. This happens when it ingests the bird’s feathers or large bones.
Pigeons and other birds are susceptible to Toxoplasma gondii infection. Consequently, your feline could get this infection by consuming infected pigeons.
All bird species, including pigeons, can be infected by salmonella or paratyphoid. Unfortunately, cats are also at risk of being infected if they eat sick or healthy pigeons that are carriers of salmonella.
4. Bird Flu
Bird flu, also known as Avian influenza (AI), affects many bird species, such as pigeons. If your domestic cat eats or comes into contact with infected pigeons, it could also get the flu.
Do Cats Eat Pigeon Eggs?
Yes, they do if the eggs are readily available. After all, these pets are opportunistic feeders. However, not all cats like the taste of raw pigeon eggs. So, some may not eat the eggs.
Now, while cats eat pigeon eggs, it is not advisable to let them eat them. This is because, like chicken eggs, pigeon eggs may also contain the bacteria salmonella. As such, they would get infected with salmonella from eating the eggs.
Can My Cat Die From Eating Pigeons?
No. It is rare. Although cats may get infected with various diseases from eating sick pigeons, they may not die. Most kitties usually recover from these illnesses, including salmonella, toxoplasma, and bird flu, with outpatient treatment.
However, your cat could die from choking. This happens if your kitten eats a pigeon’s large bones or feathers. Additionally, if your cat is infected with Avian influenza from eating pigeons, it may exhibit symptoms that may result in death.
Can Cats Live In The Same Home With Pigeons?
Indeed, you can keep a pigeon and a cat in the same house. However, it would help if you kept them in separate rooms and under strict supervision. This is because cats are predators and will pounce on anything that flutters. Therefore, you may end up with a dead pigeon sooner or later.
Nevertheless, cats have different personalities. Some felines will quickly get along with pet pigeons and may even protect them from other stray cats.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Killing and Eating Pigeons?
Your kitties may easily choke or get ill from eating sick pigeons. Luckily, there are several ways to stop your feline from eating these birds, like keeping your cat indoors.
- If you cannot keep your cat indoors, you should put a bell on its collar. This way, pigeons can tell through the bell’s chime when they are about to be attacked by the cat.
- Another way to stop your domesticated cat from eating pigeons is to keep it well-fed. Always ensure your feline gets a varied and healthy diet.
In this section, we will respond to commonly asked queries about cats eating pigeons.
Nothing. Your kitty will most likely be fine. However, if your feline starts experiencing continual symptoms, like fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, you should take it to the vet.
No. Cats cannot eat pigeons whole. They have to tear the birds apart into smaller pieces and remove the feathers. This helps ensure your cats don’t choke or suffer from gastric upset.
Most cats start by eating the organs first, including the intestines, liver, and kidneys. However, some felines may begin with the head.
Cats eat pigeons alive or by killing them first, especially when hungry or bored with their diet. Sometimes, these felines eat dead pigeons, their heads, and eggs. However, most cats only kill pigeons but don’t eat them.
Now, while it is safe for kitties to eat healthy pigeons, they may also suffer from gastric problems from eating these birds. Even worse, your cats may be infected with bird flu, salmonella, or toxoplasma if the pigeons are sick. The good news? It is possible to stop your feline from attacking and eating pigeons.