Is Thanksgiving Turkey Good or Bad for Cats?

Your cat probably thinks the turkey smells good too.
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Your cat is a carnivore, so you might find him in the kitchen clamoring for some of that delicious-smelling Thanksgiving turkey along with everyone else. Like human kids, however, fur kids cannot always eat whatever they want. Be cautious with a begging kitty on Thanksgiving.

Small Portions

If you give in and decide to let your cat have turkey, give him only a small piece. Overindulging can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea or even pancreatitis, an inflamed pancreas. Plus, some cats can be allergic to turkey. Feline food allergies typically cause skin reactions, but can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.


Make sure any turkey you give your cat is well-cooked. Under-cooked turkey can contain salmonella bacteria. Like humans, cats who consume it get sick. Salmonella also causes diarrhea and vomiting, along with fever and loss of appetite.

Boneless and Fat Free

Make sure any turkey you give your cat is completely free of bones. They can splinter and create blockages in the throat or digestive tract. Also, you should not give your cat any fat trimmings, no matter how well-cooked. These too can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

A Better Alternative

While turkey can be a good source of lean protein, a better alternative is to give Kitty his own Thanksgiving turkey in the form of turkey-flavored wet food. Wish him a happy Thanksgiving while he chows down.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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