Can Cats Eat Thanksgiving Turkey?

Last Updated on November 26, 2021 by Julia Wilson

Can cats eat Thanksgiving turkey?

Most cats can eat plain Thanksgiving turkey. The safest and healthiest way to feed your cat turkey is skinless breast or thigh meat is ideal for cats as it is high in protein and low in calories.

All cats must eat a complete and balanced species-appropriate diet, while turkey is safe for cats to eat, it is not complete and balanced and therefore should make up no more than 10% of a cat’s diet.

Can all cats eat turkey?

While turkey is generally harmless to cats, it is always recommended that pet owners speak to their cat’s veterinarian before introducing new food to a cat’s diet. Certain health conditions may contraindicate novel foods.

Not all cats can eat turkey, this includes:

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

Safety

  • Remove uneaten turkey after 20 minutes.
  • Ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh drinking water.
  • Remove fat from turkey meat as fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Only give a small amount (one or two slices) as novel foods can cause vomiting and diarrhea in some cats.
  • Do not feed cooked turkey on the bone to a cat as the bones can splinter and cause broken teeth, trauma to the mouth or gastrointestinal tract or a blockage.
  • Only feed turkey that is within its use-by date.
  • Do not give turkey stuffing to cats as it contains onions and garlic which are toxic.
  • A small amount of skin is safe, as long as it doesn’t contain garlic or onion.

Thanksgiving food cats can and can’t eat


Safe to feed


Do not feed

Cooked turkey breast or leg meatChocolate
BeansAlcohol
CarrotStuffing
Sweet potato (plain)Grapes or raisins
Pumpkin (plain)Onion
Mashed potatoGarlic
Cranberry sauceGravy
Corn (without butter)Mushrooms
Brussels sproutsCooked bones
Apples (seeds removed)Bread
BroccoliNuts
TurnipArtificial sweeteners (xylitol)