Can Cats Eat Turkey?

The opening of the fridge or the clang of a plate can send your cat running to share whatever delish meal you are about to dig into, but no matter how much they beg, not all human food is safe for cats.

Turkey, especially around the holidays, is a staple in many households, but is it safe to share with your cat? The short answer is yes. Cats can enjoy turkey as part of their diets, but there are some important things to keep in mind before feeding it to your furry little friend.

Is turkey safe for cats?

If the turkey has been properly prepared it is safe to feed to your cat. Make sure that the turkey is fully cooked and has not been sitting out on the counter or shoved to the back of the fridge; if you would not eat it yourself then do not feed it to your cats.

If you decide to feed your cat raw turkey, speak to your vet first, and only feed raw meats in moderation. Raw meat can have harmful bacteria that can make your cat sick.

Is turkey good for cats?

Turkey is safe for cats, and it can also be good for them! Cats are obligate carnivores, so they need to consume meat as their main source of food. A natural diet for a cat, wild and domestic, is high in protein and low in fat and carbs. Therefore, a lean meat like turkey works well with their natural diets.

The white meat from turkey, with the fat cut off and in moderation, is a great high protein meat source for your cat. Turkey is a good source of taurine, an essential amino acid that your cat is unable to make in their own bodies.

There are cat foods that already contain turkey meat. This is a great way to safely give your cat turkey without having to worry about the safety concerns that come along with turkey.

Can cats eat turkey bones?

Can cats eat turkey bones? While turkey in moderation is safe, even beneficial, to your cat, there are some serious dangers that come along turkey.

While cats can eat raw, meaty turkey bones, make sure that they are big bones. Small bones can become lodged in your cat’s throat and cause obstructions, so make sure that raw bones are too large for your cat to choke on.

Raw bones are okay, with supervision, but cooked bones are not safe for your cat. Cooked bones can splinter and cause some major damage to your cat’s insides. Be sure that any cooked meat is free of bones before allowing your cat to enjoy.

Can cats eat turkey skin?

Can cats eat turkey skin? Cats cannot eat turkey skin. Even a small amount of turkey skin can cause fatal inflammation of the pancreas, a condition called pancreatitis.

The pancreas produces hormones like insulin, and it also produces enzymes that aid in the digestion of food. High-fat foods, such as turkey skin, can cause the pancreas to release too many enzymes, which then can digest the pancreas itself.

If you suspect that your cat has gotten its paws on some turkey skin, do not hesitate to take it to the vet. Signs of pancreatitis include loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and abdominal pain. If your cat shows any of these signs, or is acting strange in other ways, take them to the vet. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Other health concerns to consider before feeding your cat turkey

Skin and bones pose a threat to your cat health, but there are other health concerns when it comes to feeding your cat turkey, or any meat for that matter.

Bacteria thrives on meat that is left out of the fridge. As meat sits at room temperature, bacteria multiply, and you and your cat can become sick from consuming it. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning can include fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, monitor their behavior and take them to the vet.

People tend to like salty foods, but high salt intake is not good for your cat. Do not give your cat salty turkey meat or meat with gravy on it. Too much salt can cause extreme thirst and urination, and can even cause sodium ion poisoning. Keep the salt for yourself!

Cats should also not eat processed turkey. The chemicals and preservatives in deli meat are not good for your cat. Processed meats also only contain a fraction of the nutritional value found in fresh turkey meat.

Bottom line: can cats eat turkey?

You can give your cat some fresh, fully cooked, white turkey meat as a treat along with their regular meals. When given in moderation, turkey meat can give your cat some needed nutrients such as taurine.

Avoid feeding your cat processed, pre-cooked, salty and preservative filled meat. It lacks nutritional value and can be harmful to your cat.

Never give your cat cooked bones as they can splinter and damage their intestines. Raw bones should be given with supervision, and they should be big enough that your cat cannot swallow and choke on them.

Only feed your cat turkey that you would eat yourself. Do not give them the left-over turkey that you shoved to the back of the fridge and forgot about, and do not feed them turkey that has been sitting out and breeding bacteria.

Make sure to research whether or not your cat can eat a certain type of food before feeding it to them. Foods that we love can cause serious damage to your cat. When in doubt, consult your doctor before introducing a new food into your cat’s diet.
Any new food should be introduced slowly to avoid giving your cat an upset tummy. Monitor your cat’s behavior to make sure that a new food agrees with your cat, and that your cat is not allergic.


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