For every foodie, Thanksgiving is the ultimate holiday. Meat lovers from across the country take pride in prepping the big bird for the celebration. From pot pies, casseroles, soups and more, it is the grandest feast of all!
And all that delicious smell drives your pets nuts, cats and dogs alike! With all those food scraps on the table, I know you want to fix a delicious meal for your pets too.
But hang on, can cats eat turkey meat? Is it safe to give them? Yes and no.
Can Cats Eat Turkey?
Cooked vs Uncooked
Both species, felines and canines are carnivores thus meat is vital in their natural diet. You may give them plain, unseasoned boneless and skin less turkey. Take note that raw meat is not recommended for puppies, dogs with renal/kidney or liver failure, or with cancer.
When giving your pets cooked turkey, you may want to bear in mind not to give them the stuffing, sauce or butter. Human foods that are heavily seasoned can be deadly to your pets. Garlic and onions are perfect examples for that, both are deadly spices.
Salt should also be avoided in your pet's diet. Too much sodium in their system can lead to hypertension and heart problems. You don't want that, do you?
Cats in particular needs Taurine, so you may give them the turkey heart, liver and other dark meats. However, do not in any way give them uncooked turkey meat as it will increase the risk for them to contract salmonella.
Lastly, when trying to feed turkey to your pets, you would want to remove the bones first. Turkey bones can split and the splinters can be a major health hazard (punctured intestines and block passages), not to mention choking hazard as well. So keep those bones as far from your cats (& dogs) as possible.
Just bear in mind that cooked, plain turkey meat is the safest for cats and dogs in general.
How much turkey can cats eat?
The food quantity of your feline companion depends on his size and age and must be determined by the veterinarian. Turkey meat in general can be given in moderation.
A good, healthy piece of meat is fine every once in a while, but should not be given on a daily basis. On average, an adult cat can have 1 ounce of cooked white turkey meat at a time.
Way less seasonings
Let's admit it, our own foods contain loads of spices and other condiments and we may be even tempted to feed our four-legged companions foods rich in seasonings that may taste amazing to us but can cause stomach upset to them.
Your Thanksgiving turkey has butter, salt and pepper…lucky you! Don't forget that the stuffing is also filled with other ingredients, spices and condiments that can also be bad for your pet.
Onion is one example that can be found in the stuffing which is toxic to both cats and dogs, it causes red blood cell damage. Garlic is another spice that is harmful to your pets. If your turkey is heavily seasoned, play it safe and do not feed your pets with it.
Fat and Skin
Whatever your menu is for Thanksgiving: turkey, prime rib roast or ham, there will be lots of fats in the dish! In turkey, the main source of fat is found on the skin. You may trim your food before eating it but bear in mind not to give it to your pets those tasty skin.
Dispose it properly, put it in a place where your pets do not have access nor reach. A fatty meal can cause pancreatitis in your pets and may progress rapidly into a fatal condition if not treated immediately by the vet.
What about turkey bacon and turkey bologna for cats?
Turkey bacon has almost none of the vitamins found in roasted turkey meat. It is rich in both protein and fat. Fat is not bad for your cat, although greasy foods for cat consumption is a bad idea.
Turkey bologna is made from mechanically de-boned white and dark meat, as well as the giblets that are not used in other products. Because this kind of bologna contains healthy organ meat and is a very good source of vitamin A, it is one of the best foods for cats to eat.
Just be sure not to give your cat a slice of bologna that is still in the ring of casing that comes in the package. If the cat swallows the string, it can get caught in her digestive tract and cause severe damage.
Benefits of Turkey
Turkey is not just low-carb. It is almost completely carbohydrate-free. Lean meat is essential in your cat's diet. They contain nutrients and Taurine, a chemical that a cat is not able to process within his own system.
Cats don't need carbohydrates in their diets. They have an unusual metabolic pathway that converts amino acids in protein foods into the carbohydrate their bodies need. Felines make the glucose their bodies need from amino acids in protein food. They begin to get sick in as little as 24 hours when they do not get protein.
Perhaps the greatest benefit is the high amount of protein Turkey has on its meat. Just remember to serve it fresh, fat off, cooked, unseasoned. It is of great nutritional value to your feline companion.
Warning and Concerns
The major concern with turkey is its bones. Be sure that there are no bones in any of the meat that you feed your kitty. By instinct, cats will chew on small bones, however, we want to keep our furry felines as safe as possible.
So, no bones! Cooked bones can splinter and cause internal damage to your cat.
Also steer clear from processed meats, make sure that the turkey you are giving your cat is always fresh. Cold turkey cuts in packets contains high sodium content plus other preservatives that are harmful to your pets as well as for your own health. Also, these kind of meats offers a fraction of the nutritional value a fresh turkey has.
Turkey Thanksgiving Recipe for Pets
As a general rule, keep it simple. If you want your furry felines or canines to enjoy Thanksgiving with you, then go get some ground fresh turkey meat. Cook it plain and unseasoned for your cats. As for dogs, you may boil a piece of meat along with some plain rice. The meat will give the rice a nice flavor plus it will be easy on their stomach.
How About Other Thanksgiving Foods?
Turkey is the main staple during Thanksgiving, we all know that but there are other foods served as well, are they safe for cats to consume?
There are no adverse reactions if your beloved feline companion end up lapping some gravy off the table, don't panic. Gravy is fine, just not too much! Always remember that gravy is fatty & salty, so it is not healthy for both humans and pets if consumed in large quantities. Moderation is key, just be reminded that salty foods can aggravate pre-existing heart illnesses in cats.
Green Bean Casserole
The green beans are a go, it could actually be good for your pet. However if you have canned onions along with this, this is a big no-no!
Well, this depends on how you make your mashed potatoes. On a personal note, I like to make mine using butter, onion, shallots & garlic. As it turns out those ingredients I mentioned, can cause Heinz anemia in cats; plus felines are lactose intolerant so me using butter is also an issue. Though, my recipe is really not massively toxic for pets, any cat could survive my mashed potatoes after taking a bite of two. But I would not recommend giving your pets mashed potatoes.
Bread & Rolls
Plain breads and rolls are not a problem. On the other hand, if you prefer garlic bread, that's a potential risk: it can cause Heinz body anemia.
Although, this sauce is not considered as part of any cat's natural diet, this is not toxic. Vets explained that cats being curious and all are NATURALLY NOT attracted to any items that are sweet. However, my personal experience has been, let's just say, unorthodox. Surely, there are other cats there who also love cranberry sauce. I also doubt that it can cause any serious health issues in case you pet decides to raid your stash. Not unless you loaded it up with brandy!
Cats can eat turkey as long as it is cooked and fresh. Be truly careful about the bones and ask your vet about the right amount of turkey that is appropriate for your loyal companion.
Bear in mind, when introducing new foods to your feline, gastrointestinal upset is to be expected. If your cat has never had turkey before, he can be hesitant. Try different variations and see that your furry friend prefers but give only in moderation. Always consult with your vet for an in-depth advice and instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions
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