Does Catfish Have Bones?

There are so many mysteries regarding catfish.

The fish species is known for various controversies, but not all are facts.

For example, quite a huge fraction of people believe it is unhealthy to eat catfish.

Others think it has a muddy taste, and one can only imagine the look on their faces upon experiencing the deliciousness it offers upon being prepared excellently.

Another bone of contention is whether catfish have bones.

Yes, catfish have undeniably big bones, and are a major component of their skeleton beside the cartilage.

About Catfish Bones

It is no secret that there are about 3000 catfish species globally.

Whether big or small, there is usually a difference between one species’ anatomy and that of another.

Nevertheless, one can say without any fear of contradiction that the bone structure has a striking resemblance.

So, regardless of the catfish species, expect bones in these fish, and here is more about the structure;

Main Bone

Catfish have a main bone similar to a spine, usually big and orderly.

Its location on the fish’s body is its upper part.

Small Bones

Besides the main bone, catfish have other small bones similar to ribs.

They are usually connected on two sides, not forgetting that they are short and stiff.

Bony Plates

First, not all catfish species have this feature.

However, you will find bony plates in most catfish species, usually on their skin, commonly called scutes.

The role of the body plates is to protect it by serving as armor.


The spines of a catfish have ridges, whereas the pelvic girdle has grooves. The former, spine,  glides into the groove to enhance the swimming abilities of a catfish.


Expect a catfish skull to be dorsoventrally depressed.

The skull comprises various bones, and their many connections are relatively weak.

Does Fillet Catfish Have Bones?

If you buy catfish fillets from the market, there is a high chance they won’t have bones.

After all, the anglers or sellers usually head and gut with but mostly without the skin remaining intact.

So, don’t expect the small spines that most fish species have upon buying catfish fillets.

It explains why most fish lovers love consuming it because the lack of bones brings some comfort.

The bottom line is that despite catfish having bones, the filets are cut to remove the skin and bones.

Does Fried Catfish Have Bones in It?

Fried catfish often refers to a cooking technique rather than a particular variety of catfish.

Before frying, catfish should be carefully fileted to remove any bones.

The fried catfish may still contain tiny bones if the filleting procedure is not done correctly.

Can You Eat Catfish Bones?

Catfish meat is fine to consume, but be wary of the bones.

Some prefer removing the bones before food preparation, while others consume catfish with complete bones.

Catfish bones can be removed while cooking, and several methods exist for deboning catfish.

It is ultimately up to individual tastes to eat catfish with or without bones.

If you eat catfish with bones, be careful of any choking concerns.

Catfish bones’ possible risks when consumed are the primary source of safety worries.

Like most fish, catfish have cartilaginous bones instead of hard ones.

Small bones could be consumed if catfish bones are not thoroughly removed while filleting.

These bones can be consumed and present a choking risk and potential harm.

However, the catfish can be eaten safely if it is thoroughly filleted, making sure to remove any bones.

To prevent any potential issues from ingesting bones, it is advised to be cautious when eating catfish.

How Can You Remove Catfish Bones?

Since it is a fact that catfish have bones, the next thing would be figuring out how to remove them.

After all, they pose a grave danger when eating the meat, and here is how to go about it;

  • Go to the catfish head, locate the skin behind it, and cut the fish through it.
  • Remember to cut around its entire neck while leaving the head intact.
  • Remove the catfish fins.
  • Next would be skinning the catfish, which could be messy and tricky, especially when dealing with some catfish species.
  • Farm-raised catfish is easier to skin than their wild counterparts
  • Ensure that you are cautious while removing the skin and be as patient as possible
  • Other requirements during this process are a sharp knife and two pillars, although the latter is not always necessary
  • Finally, it is time to cut the head off
  • Remove its guts before proceeding to the organs
  • To be partly done with fileting, make a dorsal cut and cut close to its backbone as perfectly as you can
  • Proceed to the tail, cut around it, and continue cutting your catfish from the bottom now.
  • Eventually, you will reach the ribs, and unless you are extremely attentive and cut slowly, the ribs may end up in the fillet, which isn’t our goal.
  • Turn your catfish around and redo that process.
  • The result, once done, should be a pair of fillets that you can cook without worrying about catfish bones.

What to Do If You Swallow a Catfish Bone?

There is usually no reason to be concerned if you accidentally swallow a catfish bone.

Catfish bones are usually small and thin, and they will dissolve in your stomach without causing any harm.

You should seek medical attention if you have discomfort, pain, or trouble swallowing after eating a catfish bone.

How Do You Eat Catfish with Bones?

Some individuals love eating catfish with the bones still attached.

When preparing catfish with bones, ensure the fish is sufficiently cooked to soften the bones and make it easier to chew.

You can grill, bake, or fry the catfish with the bones still attached.

When eating, remember to chew slowly and remove any larger bones as you come across them.

Which Fish Don’t Have Bones?

It is no secret that fish are classified as vertebrates.

It signifies that the species have a spine or a backbone; hence hard to find a fish without bones.

However, instead of being bony, most fish are often cartilaginous.

Nevertheless, there are some exceptions; excellent examples are halibut and Tuna.

The two don’t necessarily lack bones, but the proportion of their meat to the bones has a big variance.

Besides, you can carve them into stakes; hence most people assume these fish species lack bones.

Other fish species are boneless to a great extent.

That’s because despite having a big bone, this bone is usually at the center, whereas the side bones are few and easily removable.

Various fish are also readily available in their boneless forms, including Arctic Salmon, Tuna, and Mackerel.

Nonetheless, there is a perfect example of a boneless fish: the slime eel.