These are the Thanksgiving foods your cat can eat safely

It’s almost that time of year again. The holiday season is a time of gratitude and togetherness, and it’s only natural to want to share the holiday cheer with your cat. Unfortunately for pet parents, many of the foods you eat aren’t safe for your fur baby. From common dessert additions like fatty nuts to stuffing ingredients like onions, not every Thanksgiving staple is feline-friendly.

But not to worry. We’ve rounded up a list of the best Thanksgiving food that’s safe for cats. Stick with our picks, and your cat will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of the family. 

A black and white cat lying on a cream knitted sweater. Thanksgiving decorations are placed artfully nearby.

1. Turkey

Have you ever wondered, “Can cats eat turkey?” The answer is “yes.” While you don’t want to serve your cat the crispy skin from a Cajun-fried turkey that’s been heavily seasoned with spices, a few bites of turkey meat provide your fur baby with a protein-packed snack. But don’t give your cat more than an ounce of turkey in one sitting, and make sure there aren’t any bones in your fur baby’s snack, as they can present a choking hazard.  

2. Broccoli

Antioxidant-rich broccoli is yet another holiday favorite that your cat can safely enjoy. Because cats are lactose intolerant, you should serve the broccoli steamed, without butter, and unsalted. Broccoli is also high in fiber, making it a great snack for cats who suffer from occasional constipation. You’ll want to start off slowly if you’ve never fed your cat broccoli before. While it’s generally well-tolerated, broccoli may cause flatulence, stomach cramping, and diarrhea in some cats. 

3. Apples

Your cat is in for a treat if an apple pie is a must-have on your Thanksgiving dinner menu. Just like us, cats derive nutritional value from the pectin, calcium, and vitamins found in apples. Apple peels also boast phytonutrients, which combine with other nutrients to improve their efficacy. Slice an apple into tiny bites — no cinnamon and sugar for your kitty — and your cat will be able to enjoy a sweet and tasty snack this Thanksgiving. 

A fluffy gray cat perches in a windowsill surrounded by autumnal decor.

4. Dinner rolls

While bread has no nutritional value for cats, a few morsels of a fully cooked dinner roll won’t cause any harm. Please refrain from giving your cat undercooked bread, as uncooked dough releases alcohol and carbon dioxide into the bloodstream. Uncooked yeast also causes swelling in the stomach, which can have potentially life-threatening consequences. 

5. Pumpkin

We don’t advise feeding your fur baby a slice of pumpkin pie, but roasted or pureed pumpkin makes excellent snacks for cats. Pumpkin contains lots of fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamins, and water, so it’s nutritionally dense and hydrating. Some vets actually recommend pumpkin to help cats with digestive issues, so your fur baby shouldn’t suffer any gastrointestinal upset from this brightly-hued snack. 

6. Bananas

Fruit salad is a common Thanksgiving dish in certain parts of the United States, especially in the South. You’ll want to skip this treat if your cat suffers from diabetes. While bananas are rich in potassium and fiber, they’re also high in sugar. You should also note that the banana’s high fiber content may cause digestive issues in some cats. When in doubt, give your fur baby a tiny bite to make sure she can digest it easily. (And remove all the stringy bits left behind by the peel; they can be a choking hazard for your kitty.)

7. Potatoes

Whether you boil them, bake them, or mash them, potatoes are a Thanksgiving Day essential. Luckily for your cat, she can eat them, too. Make sure your potatoes are thoroughly cooked before you feed them to your cat. Uncooked potatoes contain a chemical called solanine that is toxic to cats, so take precautions to properly dispose of uncooked potato peel when you’re prepping for dinner. Cats can also eat sweet potatoes, provided they aren’t drenched in butter and sugar before you serve them.  

A black and white kitten sits beside decorative Thanksgiving foods.

Our cats are part of our family, and what better time to celebrate family than during Thanksgiving? Not all holiday foods are safe for your feline friend, so make sure to consult a list of what you shouldn’t feed your cat just to be on the safe side. When in doubt, speak to your vet before feeding your fur baby human food. Your vet knows anything in your cat’s medical history that could make human food a no-go, and they can recommend serving sizes if your cat is able to share in the family feast. 

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