Thanksgiving foods and cats

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, so you, like me, might be wondering what human foods cats can have and which to stay away from. The short answer is to check with your vet, especially if your cat has any medical conditions, and that any changes in a cat's diet can upset their stomach, so be sure to moderate how much Thanksgiving treats your cat indulges in.

Diving deeper, I did some research into what human food cats can have and what is a definite no no. 

Let's start with what is probably the main event for most Thanksgiving meals - the turkey! Can cats have turkey? Cats are carnivores, so turkey seems like a good thing to share with your feline friends and it is! But, there are a few things to watch out for. cautions to make sure  you don't give your cat any turkey bones because they could get lodged in their intestines and be uncomfortable or even deadly to your cat. 

Garlic and onions can be dangerous for cats, so if your turkey is heavily seasoned, it's best to skip it. says onions and garlic are a pat of the Allium family (which also includes leeks, chives, scallions and shallots), and they can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and even worse than that can damage cat's red blood cells, which can cause a cat to become anemic, so no onions or garlic for your kitties. This goes for turkeys seasoned with onion and garlic, and also for tofurkey for those of us enjoying a plant based Thanksgiving. 

Along with turkey often comes stuffing and now that we know that garlic and onions are bad for cats, that will probably mean skipping the stuffing. also says that even if your stuffing is free of garlic, the turkey grease alone could be enough to cause digestive issues for your cat, so leave the stuffing off of your cat's Thankgiving list. 

Another side dish often found at Thanksgiving is potatoes. Raw potatoes are toxic to pets, so keep them away until cooked! If you are having roasted or baked potato, a little taste shouldn't be a problem, but despite the common perception of cats loving milk, most cats don't actually tolerate lactose well once they've been weaned, so if you're having mashed potatoes with cream and butter, it might be best to keep the cats away. And, of course, if your potatoes are seasoned with onions or any of the allium plants mentioned above, that will make them a no no for your cat! 

What about sweet potatoes? says cooked, unseasoned sweet potato are safe for cats, but if you're making those sweet potatoes that are full of brown sugar and marshmallows and cinnamon, that's going to be way too much sugar for your cats and could lead to vomiting or diarrhea, and too much cinnamon could even be toxic for your cat, so sweet potato casserole is also a big no for your feline friends!

The next food that comes to mind to me is cranberries, and says that as long as there isn't a ton of added sugar or artificial sweetener, cranberry sauce can be a good treat for your cat. If you are having whole cranberries, without the added sugar, that's even better! says to aim for less than half a cup of chopped cranberries to try to avoid hurting your cat's tummy. says that green beans can be a good treat for your cat, but again watch out for alliums like onions and garlic in the seasoning, so if you're having green bean casserole with all those french fried onions on top, that's a no for your kitties!

What about dessert? While says plain pumpkin can be good for your cat's digestion, pumpkin pie is not a good option for cats. says spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and allspice can be toxic to cats, so it's best to not share your pumpkin pie with your cat.

And one last thing that you might have at Thanksgiving dinner is alcohol. cautions that as little as a teaspoon of grain alcohol can be lethal to cats, so make sure to keep your cat out of the hooch this Thanksgiving!

We wish you and your cats all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving this year!

And, a big thank you to Reba Spike on Unsplash for our cover photo!

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