Caring for Cats During the Holiday Months: Can They Eat That?

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Making Sure Your Cat Stays Healthy Through the Holidays

One of the things that most people connect with every holiday season is a favorite festive meal or two. Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sometimes even New Years’ Day are all great opportunities to feast on delicacies and treats that let you know it’s a special time of the year. Dining room tables fill up with serving dishes, food gets left on the kitchen counters, and there are a ton of new faces in the house – people who your cats may not really know all that well.

With your cats in full holiday mode – hiding a bit more than usual or making new friends – habits that were once set in stone may come undone just a bit. With plenty of treats everywhere around the dining areas, your cats may head out of hiding at some point in the night, on the hunt for a snack. In theory, that works out fine for most cats, who love a good tasty meal. But just how much of your holiday table should you share with your favorite feline? Here are some guidelines so your cats can stay healthy this year.

Turkey and Cats at Thanksgiving

For some cats, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, even if they don’t know it. That’s because Thanksgiving means leftover turkey, and most cats find fresh turkey delicious. But is it safe for them to eat it? Absolutely. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they have to eat meat for the protein and nutrients they need to thrive. 

Turkey is chock full of these nutrients and is in fact the main ingredient in a lot of cat food. When you do give your cat (or the neighborhood cats) turkey, though, be sure to give them just the turkey, not toasted skin, onions, sauce, dressing or any herbs or seasoning you may be adding for your human guests. Any of these could be toxic to cats, so it’s best not to take any chances.

Goose or Duck on Christmas

On Christmas, some people have turkey, while others may break out different birds like goose or duck. These are also just fine for cats, with the same caveats as mentioned above with turkey. However, you should also take special care to make sure your cat is not eating any goose or duck fat, or parts of the bird that contain fat, because this can be vey unhealthy for your pet.

Having a Holiday Ham This Year?

For some, it’s not Christmas until you’ve bitten into a juicy Christmas ham, and your cat will probably be willing to sample some. Again, it’s meat, and cats are carnivores, so this should work out just fine. Once again though, limit it to just the meat, not any of the dressing, seasoning, pineapple, raisins, garlic, onions or anything else that might be going with it.

Potatoes and Cats? What!

Mashed potatoes are another Thanksgiving and Christmas staple, but can your cats join in? If they want to, they absolutely can. Potatoes have no real nutritional value for cats, but some enjoy the taste. So again, as long as they are plain and unseasoned, without any potentially dangerous herbs, let kitty have at it!


Cats and fruit don’t usually mix, but cranberries and cranberry sauce can be just fine for cats, as long as it is not high in sugar, artificial sweeteners or any other harmful ingredients. In fact, cats with urinary problems can often get relief from drinking cranberry juice.

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Pumpkin Cats! 

Like cranberries, pumpkin can be good for your cat’s digestive system. It is rich in fiber, which is just as good for your cat as it is for you. In this case, you want to make sure to just give your cat the pumpkin, not pumpkin pie, which has way too much sugar for a cat.

What If My Cat Is Different Than Other Cats? 

The advice above is what has been found to be true for the average cat, but your cat may have different medical needs, so you should always check with your veterinarian before feeding your cat any human food. The safest thing to do is feed your cat approved cat food and treats and leave the human food for your human guests.  

But wanting to let your cat share in the holiday fun with a piece of turkey or a bit of pumpkin is usually just fine. For more ways to keep your cat happy and healthy, visit PDX Pet Design now.

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