Whether it's for a sandwich for lunch or those leftovers that carry us from November to December, turkey is a key staple in many of our diets. As such a common household food, it's important to know if turkey is safe for our feline friends to ingest.
As obligate carnivores, it is important for cats to have a healthy allotment of meat as their key source of protein. Lean meats such as chicken, fish, and, yes, turkey are a great addition to your cat's diet! So when your little guy brushes up against your leg at thanksgiving, it is more than likely okay to drop him a piece of turkey or two.
Is turkey safe for cats?
The turkey you feed your cat should be cooked and fresh. Make sure the meat hasn't been sitting out for too long or gone bad. If it's cooked turkey that you wouldn't eat, you shouldn't give it to your cat.
Before feeding your cat raw turkey, be sure to do your research and always consult with your veterinarian. According to the RSPCA, it is safe to feed your cat a cautious amount of raw meat. Like with dogs, cats can eat the raw, meaty bones of animals including turkey. The bone must be big enough that it would be impossible for the cat to swallow it or choke. Supplementing with raw food should be done only occasionally but is generally accepted.
How much turkey cats can eat?
How much food you feed your cat depends on his age and size and should be determined by a veterinarian. Turkey should be fed in moderation. A nice, healthy amount is just fine every now and then, but turkey should not be given daily. On average, an adult cat can have a maximum of one ounce of cooked turkey white meat at a time.
The benefits of turkey
Lean meats are essential to your cat's diet. They provide nutrients and chemicals such as taurine that a cat is unable to process within his own body.
The greatest benefit is the high amount of protein found in turkey and other lean meats. When the turkey is served fresh with any fat cut off, it is of great nutritional value to your furry feline.
Warning and concerns about turkey
The biggest concern with turkey is bones. Make sure there are no bones in any of the meat you feed your feline. Cats will instinctively chew through small bones, but you'll want to keep your pets as safe as possible and make sure the meat you serve them is bone free. Cooked bones, such as turkey bones, can splinter and cause internal damage to your cat.
Stay away from processed meats, making sure the turkey you feed your cat is always fresh. Cold cut turkey that comes in packets are high in sodium and preservatives that are harmful to cats in the same ways they can be harmful to humans. These processed meats also only have a fraction of the nutritional value that fresh turkey has.
Cats can eat turkey, but make sure that the turkey you feed them is cooked and fresh. Be careful about bones, and consult your veterinarian about the amount of turkey that is right for your pet.
Remember, when introducing new foods to your cat, there will be some gastrointestinal upset. If your cat has never had turkey before, like with any new food, he can be hesitant to try. Try different variations and see what your cat likes but always be sure to do so in moderation and consult with your veterinarian for in depth instruction and advice.