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With the holidays around the corner, traditional Butterball turkeys are on everyone's mind. Families gather around the dinner table, and for many, the menu calls for turkey. Our cats are part of the family, but should they enjoy some turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas?
Generally speaking, it's best not to disrupt your cat's diet. Kitty doesn't understand the meaning of the holiday and won't miss much if you adhere to the rule of not feeding table scraps. That said, with turkey being a good source of nutrients for cats, it's possible to feed some to a healthy cat without putting her in danger. Just make sure you follow these safety rules.
Safety Rules For Feeding Turkey To Cats
1. Don't feed treats, including turkey, if your cat isn't well.
Does Kitty suffer from any medical conditions? If so, you should consult your vet before offering anything new, including turkey. Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, liver and pancreatic disease, IBD and food sensitivities all call for very specific diets. Don't risk a flare-up for a few bites of turkey. It's simply not worth it.
2. Don't give too much.
You are giving a treat, not food, so limit the quantity. Do not offer more than an ounce of turkey, at the very most.
3. Avoid bones.
Cooked bones are extremely dangerous to cats. They are brittle and can injure the cat's delicate throat, esophagus and intestines.
4. Avoid skin.
Not only is the turkey skin very high in fat content; it is also salty. Stick to boneless and skinless turkey meat.
5. Skip the gravy and side dishes.
Gravy is not only rich in fats and salts, it also contains onions and garlic. All of these can be harmful to cats, so are best avoided. Even if your cat happens to show an interest in broccoli, potatoes or cranberries, make sure he doesn't eat any of them. Various vegetables contain chemicals that are not healthy for cats and can trigger pancreatitis in some cats.
6. Raw? Only if you're feeding raw already.
Yes, some people successfully feed their cats a raw diet. A raw-fed cat has been transitioned to raw nutrition gradually and her body has learned to handle the extra load of potential pathogens. If your cat is not used to eating raw meat, the sudden introduction could cause diarrhea, vomiting and possibly a bacterial gut infection.
7. Discard leftovers properly.
Prevent Kitty from accidentally ingesting cooked bones, skin, gravy, or even the string used to tie the turkey's legs together. Don't leave these appetizing leftovers unattended in the trash bin. Make sure you wrap them up and dispose of them properly.
Turkey-flavored cat food
If you want to keep things safe and let your cat enjoy turkey while still consuming a balanced diet, you can try a can of turkey-flavored cat food. It's a safe way for a healthy cat to enjoy the taste of turkey. It's wise to stick to a brand that your cat knows and likes. As always with feeding cats, it's best to avoid changes when possible.
Here are some popular options for turkey-flavored canned foods. The last one is especially festive!
Merrick even has a special edition of Thanksgiving turkey cat food:
We hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season with your pets! More safety tips for cat owners are available here: Keep Your Cats Safe During The Holidays