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Feeding Your Cat on Thanksgiving: Safe Foods and Tips to Keep Them Healthy and Happy

Thanksgiving Foods Safe for Cats

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many pet owners may be wondering what foods they can safely share with their furry friends. While it may be tempting to give your cat a taste of your favorite dishes, not everything on the Thanksgiving table is safe for them to eat.

In this article, well discuss the Thanksgiving foods that are safe for cats and those that should be avoided.


While some cats may turn their noses up at turkey, others will eagerly gobble it up. If youre giving your cat turkey, make sure it is unseasoned and well-cooked.

Avoid giving them turkey skin, bones, or drippings as these can be high in fat and sodium and can pose a choking hazard. Additionally, these can contain harmful bacteria such as E.

coli and salmonella.


If you want to give your cat a tiny unseasoned treat, some plain ham is fine. However, it is high in fat and sodium, so it should only be given in small amounts.


If your Thanksgiving dinner is heavy on the sage, you may wonder whether its safe for your cat to eat. In small amounts, sage is a flavorful and savory spice that can be incorporated into your cats food.

However, too much sage can cause upset stomachs, so it should be used in moderation.


Cranberries are safe for cats to eat as long as they are raw, canned, or cooked without sugar, grapes, or raisins added. Avoid giving them cranberry sauce or jellies that contain high amounts of sugar.


Cooked and unseasoned or unbuttered potatoes are safe for cats to eat. Whether baked, boiled, or mashed, both white and sweet potatoes can provide a nutritious and filling addition to your cats diet.

Green Beans

Lightly steamed green beans are a healthy and safe snack for cats, so long as they are not cooked with any spices or butter. Green beans are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a perfect addition to your cats diet.


Boiled corn off the cob without any butter or seasonings is safe for cats to eat. However, cats do not receive much nutritional value from corn and should receive it only as a treat and not as a regular part of their diet.


Plain, canned pumpkin or unseasoned, cooked pumpkin puree is great for cats.

Pumpkin is a nutritious source of fiber that can help regulate your cats digestive system.

Whipped Cream

While most cats are lactose intolerant and cannot process dairy properly, a tiny dollop of homemade whipped cream or Reddi-wip can be given as an occasional treat.

Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid Giving Cats

While there are plenty of Thanksgiving foods that are safe for cats to eat, there are also many that should be avoided at all costs. Here are some of the most common Thanksgiving foods that can be harmful to cats.

Turkey Skin, Bones, and Drippings

Turkey skin, bones, and drippings should never be given to cats. These can be high in fat and sodium and can pose a choking hazard.

Additionally, they can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.


Stuffing can be a dangerous food for cats because it often contains bread, sausage, oysters, bouillon, and various seasonings that can be harmful to cats. Garlic and onion, which can be found in stuffing, are particularly toxic to cats.

Garlic and Onion

Garlic and onion, which can be found in stuffing and other Thanksgiving dishes, are both part of the allium family and are toxic to cats. These foods contain compounds that can destroy red blood cells and result in anemia.


While nutmeg is a common spice used in many Thanksgiving dishes, it can cause vomiting and symptoms of poisoning in cats. Its best to avoid giving your cat any food that contains nutmeg.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are toxic to cats and can cause mild reactions or severe gastrointestinal issues. Even a small amount of these foods can be harmful to cats.


Mushrooms slathered in butter may be a tasty addition to your Thanksgiving meal, but 99 percent of wild mushrooms are toxic to pets. Avoid giving your cat any mushrooms, even those that are found in human food.


Butter is high in fat and lactose, which can be difficult for cats to digest. Avoid giving your cat foods that contain high amounts of butter.


Xylitol is a sweetener found in many sugar-free products, such as gum and candy. It is not safe for cats and can cause serious health problems if ingested.


Alcohol is not safe for cats. Even a small amount can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and more severe reactions.


With Thanksgiving around the corner, its important to understand which foods are safe for cats and which should be avoided. Giving your cat a bit of turkey, ham, sage, cranberries, potatoes, green beans, corn, pumpkin, and whipped cream (in moderation) can add some variety to their diet.

However, its important to avoid giving them turkey skin, bones, or drippings, stuffing, garlic, onion, nutmeg, grapes, raisins, mushrooms, butter, xylitol, and alcohol. Keeping these foods away from your cat will ensure a happy and healthy holiday season for everyone.

Tips for Feeding Cats on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, and fun. While we may want to share the holiday feast with our furry feline friends, it’s important to keep in mind that cats have specific nutritional needs and sensitivities that need to be taken into account.

In this article, we’ll provide tips and advice on how to feed your cat on Thanksgiving and still keep them healthy and happy.


Nutrition should be the top priority when it comes to feeding your cat on Thanksgiving. While it may be tempting to let your cat indulge in all the holiday foods, it’s important to remember that they have specific diet limitations and requirements.

A healthy cat’s daily diet should consist of high-quality protein sources such as meat, fish, or poultry, along with balanced amounts of fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Consult with a Veterinarian

Consulting with a vet ahead of time on what would be good for your cat’s diet and feeding habits is always a good idea. You can ask for suggestions on what type of food topper to use, or a specific treat that your cats can eat.

They can also provide recommendations for any affordable dietary supplements your cat might benefit from, and recommend slow and incremental changes if your cat is currently on a special diet.

Use a Food Topper

A food topper is a great way to give your cat a taste of the Thanksgiving feast without compromising their regular diet. There are many different types of food toppers to choose from, such as freeze-dried chicken or salmon, which can add both flavor and nutrition to your cat’s meal.

Be sure to choose a food topper that is free from any harmful additives or preservatives.

Give Cats a Specific Treat

If you want to give your cat a specific treat for Thanksgiving, ensure that it is safe and nutritious. Safe cat treats include commercial cat treats that are formulated specifically for cats, such as freeze-dried chicken or salmon treats.

Avoid giving them human food, especially those that contain ingredients that are harmful to cats.

Food Safety

Food safety is a critical aspect to consider when feeding your cat anything. Ensure that the food is cooked thoroughly and that it is not left out at room temperature for an extended period.

Leaving food out can cause harmful bacteria growth, which can result in stomach upsets. Additionally, it’s essential to avoid feeding your cat any food that has been contaminated with garlic or onion, which can be toxic to cats.

Sensitive Digestive Systems

Many cats have sensitive digestive systems and may experience stomach upsets or vomiting if given new or rich foods. If your cat is prone to stomach upsets, it’s best to stick to their regular diet and avoid introducing new foods, even if it’s a festive occasion.

It’s essential to keep in mind that cats cannot digest dairy products, so ensure that any cat treats or food toppers you give them are free from dairy.

Diet Limitations

If your cat has specific dietary limitations, it’s essential to respect them. If your cat is on a special diet for medical reasons, it’s best to avoid introducing new foods at all costs.

If you want to give your cat a treat, be sure to consult with your vet to ensure that it’s safe and nutrient-rich.

Seasonal Kitty Dish

On special occasions like Thanksgiving, you can create a seasonal kitty dish specifically for your furry feline friend. Ensure that the dish includes foods that are safe and nutritious for cats, such as roasted chicken or turkey breast, boiled or baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, or boiled green beans.

Ensure that you limit the amount of seasoning or butter in these recipes.

Festive Canned Food

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate festivity into your cat’s meal, consider giving them canned food that is formulated specifically for the holiday season. These foods can contain ingredients that will not upset your cat’s stomach, such as turkey or pumpkin, and can add some variety to their diet.


Being mindful of your cat’s nutritional needs, sensitivities, and diet limitations is essential to ensure their health and happiness on Thanksgiving. Giving your cat a food topper, a safe and nutritious treat, a seasonal kitty dish, or festive canned food can add some variety to their diet.

It’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to ensure that you are feeding your cat the appropriate foods and to avoid any health issues. Additionally, practicing food safety is critical to avoid any harmful bacteria growth that can cause stomach upsets.

With a little bit of preparation and thought, you can ensure that your cat has a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. In conclusion, feeding cats on Thanksgiving requires careful consideration of their nutritional needs, sensitivity to certain foods, and dietary limitations.

While it may be tempting to let cats indulge in holiday foods and treats, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian and prioritize their health and well-being. Food safety, the use of food toppers or specific treats, and creating seasonal kitty dishes can add variety while keeping cats healthy.

Remembering these tips can ensure a happy and safe holiday season for our feline friends.

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