Holiday Safety Tips: What Thanksgiving Foods Can My Cat Eat?

What Thanksgiving foods are safe for cats to eat, and which should you avoid? Can cats have turkey? What about mashed potatoes? We discuss what holiday treats are suitable for cats in our latest blog post.

Thanksgiving brings with it plenty of delicious foods, but which are safe for cats to eat?

Thanksgiving foods are a big part of the holiday season. We all enjoy chowing down on a delicious roasted turkey with sides of cranberries, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. But which foods are safe for cats to eat? Double tap the picture to find out what Thanksgiving foods you should avoid giving to your cat.

I love Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving foods are some of my favorite treats out of the entire year, and I love sharing the holiday joy with my cats. After all, what are a few table scraps here and there?

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Why You Shouldn’t Feed Your Cat Thanksgiving Food From The Table

How are you supposed to resist those tiny little paws gently prodding at your leg? Big eyes and a sad expression are usually enough to weaken my resolve, but here are some reasons to stay strong.

Most Thanksgiving Foods Are Unhealthy For Cats

You may see cranberries and turkey in your cat’s species-appropriate foods, but human meals are not prepared the same way. How the food is fixed can make all the difference.


For example, most poultry bones in cooked meats can easily splinter if your cat swallows them. This can cause your cat to choke, and the last thing you need on Thanksgiving is a trip to the emergency vet. Give your cat their own cat-safe turkey dinner with any of these delicious entries:

And yes, it is safe to feed your cats raw turkey (or any other species-appropriate raw meat) as long as safe handling rules are followed.


Cranberry sauce is NOT okay for cats to eat. Yes, cranberries promote urinary health in cats, but the added sugars in cranberry sauce can cause health problems. Cats should avoid sugary foods due to the risk of diabetes (and other ailments).

Instead, opt for a delicious cranberry cat treat that’s healthy and safe for them. These are a couple of our favorites:

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Regular people gravy is full of salt/sodium, so it’s best for cats to steer clear of it. Thanksgiving foods tend to be packed full of seasonings, which include no-no’s like garlic, onion, etc.. That can include gravy. Although your basic turkey or brown gravy won’t hurt in small amounts, it’s still fattening and can cause problems for cats with certain conditions.

Not all cats like gravy, but for those that do, you can give them something like Lotus’ canned stews. They have a delicious pet-safe gravy that cats love!

Mashed potatoes aren’t the worst thing you could give your cat, but sweet potato is always better. Potatoes plants contain solanine, a defensive poison used by the plant to repel anything that chomps on it. Sweet potato plants do not contain solanine.

Sweet potato can be a good alternative to potato starch, but either one should still be given only in small quantities. Both cooked potato and cooked sweet potato are a safe treat for your kitty.


Plain pumpkin is great for your cat! It’s pumpkin pie that they should avoid. All the added sugars and spices make it toxic to cats. You should also avoid giving them raw pie dough during the making and baking process.

Pumpkin has many benefits for your cat, including being an anti-diarrheal agent that promotes proper digestion. You should always make sure the pumpkin you give your cat is plain – NO ADDITIVES. No spices, sugars…. nothing. Just pumpkin.

Canned pumpkin is super cheap. However, if you want ‘real’ pumpkin that’s fresh, make sure to cook both the pumpkin and the seeds (find out how to do this here and here). To avoid possible choking hazards, use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind up the pumpkin seeds into a powder.

Commercial pumpkin supplements are available at just about any pet store. Here are just a few of the ones you can get:

Other Thanksgiving Foods Cats Should Avoid

There are very few thanksgiving foods your cat can have. The rule of thumb in our household is to avoid giving our cats:

  • Anything with spices (especially garlic and onions)
  • Fatty foods
  • Cooked meat with bones
  • Grains
  • Sugary foods
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee (an after-dinner favorite with pie)

Brussel sprouts, green bean casseroles, etc. are too rich for a cat’s stomach. Your best bet is to stick to species-appropriate food with a special treat here and there. Don’t leave food unattended for your cat to get into.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at The Meow Place!

Which of these foods are you guilty of feeding to your cat? Does your cat have a favorite food? Tell us how you and your cat celebrate Thanksgiving in the comments below.


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