Can my cat eat turkey? What about gravy?
For those that celebrate it, Thanksgiving is all about friends and family (both two-legged and four-legged) – but it’s also about food. And while we always want to include our four-legged family members in on the holiday fun, it’s important to remember that not everyone should be included in the feast! Even though it can be tempting to slip Whiskers some turkey skin or a bit of green bean casserole - many Thanksgiving foods can actually make your pets sick.
If you’re worried about what Thanksgiving foods you can safely let your kitty munch on come Turkey Day, we’ve compiled a list of cat-safe treats – and those you should absolutely keep away from your kitty. Read on to learn so you and your furry friend can enjoy Thanksgiving without any trips to the vet.
You can’t have Thanksgiving without stuffing! However, stuffing is often heavily seasoned with onion, scallions, or garlic (or all three, depending on the cook). These ingredients are extremely toxic to cats and dogs and can cause life-threatening anemia (destruction of the red blood cells). While these foods are typically poisonous when eaten in large quantities, exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as onion soup mix or garlic powder, can also be toxic.
Alcohol is definitely a big no for pets, feline, canine or otherwise. What we people may consider a small amount, or just a “taste” can be toxic for your cat. Also, keep in mind that alcohol poisoning can occur in pets from atypical items like fruitcake (the recipe may have called for rum or other liquor), as well as the aforementioned uncooked dough.
If you want to indulge your cat in a little wine tasting, try a non-alcoholic cat wine, which is an organic blend of beet juice, catnip and cat-safe oils.
3. Desserts with Chocolate or Raisins
It’s fairly common knowledge that you don’t give dogs chocolate – but did you know it’s just as poisonous for cats? Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythm, abdominal discomfort, increased thirst, and seizures. Methylxanthines are also found in caffeinated beverages and should be avoided.
Grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs and cats, though cats rarely eat them. Vets are unsure why, but if your pet ingests a grape or raisin, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea before shutting down the kidneys – even in small amounts.
4. Raw bread dough.
Uncooked dough can lead to bloating and, as the dough is broken down in your cat's digestive tract, the fermenting yeast converts the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol, which is then rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and can result in alcohol poisoning. This could become a life-threatening emergency and require a trip to the vet.
5. Pumpkin Pie.
The excess sugar and seasonings in pumpkin pie are not healthy for your cat. Plain pumpkin puree, however, can be given as a special treat to your cat if they show an interest in eating your pumpkin pie! It helps aid digestion and is often recommended by veterinarians for cats with digestive issues.
So what foods are OKAY to give my pet?
Turkey can actually be a healthy, lean treat for your cat. The best way to treat them is to a small helping of skinless white meat, but some cats might like dark meat – or even cooked giblets! You want to avoid giving your cat the leftover carcass, as bones can easily splinter and damage your cat’s digestive tract.
As with most foods, moderation is key! Don’t slather your kitty’s Thanksgiving feast in gravy, instead just mix in a little for a nice treat. Gravy can be laden with salts and fats, and this excess salt can actually cause problems for cats with pre-existing heart conditions. And, again, if your gravy is seasoned with a lot of garlic or onion, it’s best to let your cat skip it!
3. Green Beans
Green beans might be a nice little treat to mix in and shouldn’t give your cat any problems. But if the beans are part of a green bean casserole, which might be covered in onions, it’s best to skip it!
4. Plain Pumpkin
As mentioned earlier, plain pumpkin puree is a delicious and nutritious option to give your kitties on Thanksgiving! When you’re cooking your pumpkin pie, set aside a bit of plain canned pumpkin puree for your feline to enjoy later.
While it’s fun to include our kitties in our holiday traditions, it’s important that you don't allow your pets to overindulge. Moderation is key! Too much fatty, salty food and they could wind up with a case of upset tummy (and worse, diarrhea.) It’s best to keep your cat on its regular diet during the holidays, but a table scrap now and then won’t hurt anyone!
Do you treat your kitty to a Thanksgiving feast? Let us know in the comments!