6 Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Cat

by | Nov 7, 2021

The holidays are quickly approaching, and before we know it, it will be time to gather with our friends and family, give thanks, and dig into a delicious Thanksgiving feast.

Whether you’re looking forward to the mashed potatoes or the juicy turkey, Thanksgiving food is all delicious, but not all of them are safe for your cats.

Your cats are family, and you want to share the holidays with them. However, there are a few foods you’ll want to avoid giving to your cat as you plan your Thanksgiving day dinner.

1. Stuffing

Most stuffings are filled with delicious aromatics like onions, garlic, or chives. These foods, known as alliums, are toxic to your cats if ingested. They cause your cat’s red blood cells to break down, which can be life-threatening.

Red blood cells are responsible for distributing oxygen throughout your cat’s body. If the membranes of the red blood cells are damaged, your cat will become anemic.

Some stuffing recipes also call for raisins or grapes. These fruits cause gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, and even kidney failure.

2. Desserts

Desserts are arguably the best part of Thanksgiving dinners. Pies, bars, crisps–the list goes on. Unfortunately, many of these ingredients are toxic to our furry friends.

Chocolate is one of the major toxic ingredients in desserts, even in small amounts. Chocolate, even white chocolate, contains theobromine which causes abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, and seizures. In the worst circumstances, chocolate can also be lethal.

Surprisingly, dairy products are also not good for cats. Many people think that cats can have milk, but the truth is that most cats are lactose intolerant. Many desserts contain milk or cream, and both of these cause digestive issues in cats.

In addition to desserts, look out for dairy products in other Thanksgiving foods like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese.

, 6 Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Cat, The Comforted Kitty

3. Bones

A turkey dinner inevitably leads to leftover bones. While humans love to break the wishbone, cats should steer clear of any bones.

Bones can easily splinter as a cat nibbles on it, which is not only a choking hazard, but it can also cut the inside of your cat’s stomach and intestines. This damage can even lead to a fatal abdominal infection.

In addition to splintering, bones can also cause severe indigestion and vomiting in cats.

4. Xylitol (and Other Artificial Sweeteners)

This ingredient is often overlooked as a toxic ingredient, but xylitol poisoning is extremely dangerous for your pets.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that’s often used in place of different kinds of sugar because of its low calories. If ingested by your cat, it causes a hypoglycemic reaction where your pet’s blood sugar drops dramatically.

5. Gravy (and Other High-Fat Foods)

Gravy is a delicious topping that pulls Thanksgiving dinner together, but it’s extremely high in fat. In addition to gravy, nuts like walnuts or pecans are also high in oil and fat.

While your cat does need some fat in their diet, too much fat can inflame their pancreas leading to pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening. Too much fat can also lead to digestive issues, like vomiting and diarrhea.

, 6 Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Cat, The Comforted Kitty

6. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a popular choice for many Thanksgiving side dishes, but many varieties are toxic to cats. Some varieties cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as liver damage. What’s worse is that these issues can take up to 24 hours to show up.

Because it’s difficult to tell different varieties of mushrooms apart, it’s best to avoid giving mushrooms to your cat in general.

Thanksgiving Foods You Can Share with Your Cat

Luckily, there are quite a few Thanksgiving foods that are perfect to share with your furry friends! If you want to create a cat-friendly Thanksgiving menu to celebrate the holidays, here are a few great choices.

1. Pumpkin

Pumpkin has many fantastic benefits for cats. It’s a good source of fiber, and it’s frequently recommended by veterinarians as a constipation treatment.

Because of the high fiber content, it’s also a great ingredient to add bulk to your cat’s food and help them feel fuller and more satisfied for longer. This is great for overweight cats on a diet!

It’s important to only ever feed your cat 100% pure pumpkin puree. Pumpkin pie filling contains too much sugar.

, 6 Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Cat, The Comforted Kitty

2. Cranberries

Cranberries are full of great vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, C, K, iron, copper, and magnesium. Cranberries can also help soothe a urinary tract infection in cats.

However, like pumpkin, you can only feed your cats pure cranberries, not dried or juiced cranberries which contain too much sugar. It’s also a good idea to only feed in moderation, as too many cranberries can cause an upset stomach.

3. Turkey

What Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a turkey? Luckily, this is the perfect food to share with your kitty.

Turkey is a great source of protein for your cat, as long as it’s lean, all white-meat turkey. Make sure that you don’t feed your cat a turkey fully dressed in high-fat gravy or seasoned with onions or garlic.

4. Apples

While you won’t be able to share your apple pie with your cat, setting an apple aside while your pie bakes will make a fantastic snack for them. Raw apples cut into smaller pieces are a great source of antioxidants and fiber.

However, make sure you remove any seeds, leaves, or stems which actually contain cyanide and are poisonous to cats.

, 6 Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Cat, The Comforted Kitty

5. Certain Vegetables

Green beans, carrots, and peas are all classic Thanksgiving side dishes, and they’re also perfect additions to any kitty meal.

Carrots provide beta-carotene and other healthy vitamins and minerals, while peas offer additional protein and carbohydrates. Green beans, while also providing vitamins, are a great source of fiber.

As with all the foods on this list, make sure that you only feed your cat 100% pure vegetable with no added seasoning, oil, or flavorings.

Need a Cat Sitter This Holiday Season?

If you’re traveling this holiday season to spend time with friends and family, it’s important to have a reliable, experienced cat sitter to take care of your cat while you’re away.

While it’s tempting to pay a neighbor a few dollars to check-in on your cat every day, hiring a trained pet sitter has tons of great benefits, including safety, experience, and peace of mind.

If you’re ready to hire a cat sitter for your holiday plans, reach out to us today.


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