Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Cats

Thanksgiving is coming up next week, and it’s a fun time with family and friends, but not always for your cats. While some foods are okay for cats, like bite-sized pieces of boneless turkey meat, other things, such as bread dough, sweets and vegetables aren’t so good for them. Below are some Thanksgiving safety tips for cats.


Image by Satya Murthy, under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Why only boneless pieces of turkey?

While cats in the wild can, and do, swallow the bones of their prey, remember that this turkey has been cooked all the way through. That means the bones are brittle and will shatter into sharp pieces, which can lacerate your cat’s digestive tract. Turkey bones are also thicker and heavier than the bones of, say, sparrows and mice, meaning your cat could choke on them.

Turkey giblets are safe for your cat, but make sure you do not include the neck bone with this particular set of scraps. Gravy is salty and fatty, and should be kept away from your cats as much as possible to avoid gastrointestinal upset.

No bread dough

Have you ever eaten enough bread dough to get really bloated and crampy afterward? Imagine your cat eating what you think is just a tiny bit of dough. This is possibly one of the most important Thanksgiving safety tips for cats out there. The yeast will continue to work, which causes a lot of painful gas. Besides that, yeast can ferment, which can result in drunkenness in your poor kitty that could result in a trip to the emergency vet. Bread dough is a huge no-no.

No onions, garlic or chives either

This includes powders, and is also very important when it comes to Thanksgiving safety tips for cats. Many people like to make garlic mashed potatoes, put sour cream and chives on baked potatoes, put onions or onion powder in their stuffing, and the like. These things cause gastrointestinal upset in cats, and they can also lead to red blood cell damage. So anything that might contain onions, chives and garlic should be kept out of reach of your cats this Thanksgiving.


Chocolate contains both methylxanthines and theobromines, both of which are dangerous for cats. Methylxanthines can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, while theobromines can cause heart attacks. Nuts are very fatty and can cause gastrointestinal upset, and coconut has oils that can also cause diarrhea.

Thanksgiving safety tips for cats that don’t include food

There are other important Thanksgiving safety tips for cats out there, too. The most important of these is creating a safe place for your cats to go if they get stressed when there are lots of people and noise. Make sure she’s got her food and water, a clean litter box, and her favorite blankets and toys in that place.

Hopefully, these tips will help you and your cat have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.