Can Cats Eat Christmas Turkey?

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  • Can cats eat Christmas turkey?

    Cats can eat a small amount of cooked Christmas turkey with the skin removed. Turkey is low in fat and a rich source of vitamins B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin) and tryptophan, is low fat and is an excellent source of protein.

    Cats must consume a nutritionally balanced diet, and while turkey is safe for cats to eat, it should make up no more than 10% of the cat’s daily diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

    Can all cats eat Christmas turkey?

    Not all cats can eat turkey, this includes the following:

    • Unweaned kittens
    • Cats on a food elimination trial
    • Cats on a prescription diet to prevent or manage a health condition

    Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new food to a cat’s diet as certain medical conditions may contraindicate feeding turkey or other types of food.


    White breast meat is healthier than brown leg meat, which contains more fat and limit the amount of turkey to a small slice or two.

    • Remove the skin, which contains high levels of fat and seasoning which aren’t healthy and bones that can splinter and damage the gastrointestinal tract, cause a gastrointestinal obstruction or damage the teeth.
    • Allow the turkey to cool down for a few minutes to prevent burns to the mouth and esophagus.
    • Only feed turkey fit for human consumption and do not feed turkey that has expired.
    • Remove uneaten turkey after 20 minutes.
    • Always ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh drinking water.
    • Do not feed turkey if it contains traces of garlic, onion, leek or chives.  Allium species contain compounds called disulfides and thiosulphates that cause oxidative damage to the erythrocyte (red blood cell) cell membrane leading to the formation of Heinz bodies. Heinz bodies are clumps of irreversibly denatured hemoglobin attached to the red blood cell membrane. Macrophages (a scavenger cell) clear affected red blood cells in the spleen.

    Christmas food cats can and can’t eat

    Safe to feed

    Do not feed

    Apples (seeds removed) Chocolate
    Beans Alcohol
    Carrot Stuffing (regular or forcemeat)
    Sweet potato (plain) Grapes or raisins
    Pumpkin (plain) Onion
    Potatoes (boiled, steamed, mashed, baked) Christmas cake
    Cranberry sauce Christmas pudding
    Corn Mince pie
    Brussels sprouts Garlic
    Turnip Gravy
    Peas Mushrooms
    Broccoli Cooked bones
    Cooked meat (chicken, beef, lamb, turkey) Bread
    Ham Nuts
    Prawns (shrimp) Artificial sweeteners (xylitol)



    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio