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Can Cats Eat Turkey? What You Need to Know!

If you were wondering if it’s safe for your cat to eat turkey, the short answer is yes, it is, but turkey comes in a few forms, and some are not as healthy as others. Join us while we look at a few different kinds of turkey and their nutritional value to help you make an educated decision about feeding it to your dog.

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Is turkey bad for cats?

While turkey is a great source of protein for your cat, there are a few ways you should avoid feeding it and will look at those in this section.

Raw Turkey

While cats can eat raw meat and there’s a general trend toward adding more raw meat to their diet, you run the risk of feeding your pet spoiled meat or food contaminated with salmonella or other bacteria. These bacteria can disrupt their digestive system causing diarrhea or vomiting.

Even though raw meat is high in the important nutrient taurine, we recommend limiting your pet’s raw food to extremely limited portions that you know are fresh or avoiding it altogether.

Fat Content

Many people inquiring about the safety of feeding your cat turkey are doing so concerning Thanksgiving dinner. While all the lean meat in a roasted turkey is safe to feed your cat, there is a lot of fat in turkey skin, so you will want to limit how much they eat.

Deep-Fried Turkey

Another popular trend is to deep fry your Thanksgiving turkey. While this technique may lead to a tasty meal prepared in a fraction of the time, It adds harmful saturated and trans-fats to the meat. These fats can quickly lead to obesity, heart problems, and other health issues that make it best to avoid feeding your cat deep-fried turkey.

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Image Credit: Mcability, Pixabay


When discussing the safety of feeding turkey to your cat, we’re strictly referring to unseasoned meat. There are many spices, including salt and pepper, that are harmful to feed your cat and can lead to water retention, swelling, and other health problems. Salt can also make them thirsty, which can lead to more frequent urination.

On Thanksgiving, you will also need to watch the stuffing as it often contains many seasonings and ingredients that are harmful to cats.

Ground Turkey

Ground Turkey can be a good source of protein, but it tends to have more fat than lean turkey breast. If you plan to feed your cat ground turkey, we recommend choosing a brand that states it’s at least 90% lean.

Deli Turkey

Deli meat increases the risk of cancer and heart disease in people and animals. It contains a high amount of sodium, nitrites, and nitrates. It’s heavily processed and contains harmful chemical preservatives and artificial colorings and is prone to listeria contamination.

Feeding your cat a slice or two of turkey deli meat now and then won’t harm them, but it can increase their risk of cancer. A regular diet of lunch meat is certain to cause health problems.

Turkey Bones

Another problem with turkey, especially Thanksgiving turkey, is the Turkey bones. Turkey bones, like chicken bones, and other poultry bones, can splinter if your cat eats them, causing gastrointestinal problems and other much more ever health consequences. It’s important to keep your cat away from the bones and dispose of them properly, so they don’t get them when you’re not looking.

Is turkey good for cats?

Feeding your cat lean, unseasoned turkey is a fantastic source of protein. As carnivores, cats require plenty of protein to build healthy muscle and to provide energy. Turkey also provides other important nutrients as well, like zinc, vitamin B6 and 12, and niacin, which help to boost the immune system of your pet. A strong immune system will help them heal faster and prevent disease. It contains anti-cancer properties and is a great source of selenium, which helps with thyroid function. The tryptophan in Turkey can help improve your cat’s mood and helps with insomnia.

How do I feed Turkey to my cat?

Fresh, lean, roasted turkey breast is the best way to feed turkey to your cat. Avoid feeding them the skin and bones, and don’t use any seasonings. Many cat foods have turkey listed as its main ingredient, and you can also create DIY cat treats using turkey like this fantastic recipe.

Thanksgiving turkey
Image Credit: upsyacqs, Pixabay

Leftover Turkey Dog and Cat Treats

Here is a great recipe we got from Petco, which provides you with a healthy way to feed turkey to your cat.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • One cup cooked and chopped turkey breast
  • One cup cornmeal or wheat germ
  • One egg
  • ½ cup low sodium turkey broth
  • Three tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Blend turkey and turkey broth in a food processor until well mixed.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg and vegetable oil.
  • Slowly mix in the Turkey mixture
  • Add the two cups of flour and cornmeal to the mixture
  • Knead until a dough form
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface
  • Roll to a ½-inch thickness or smaller
  • Cut into desired shapes and placed onto a greased cookie sheet
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until firm and crunchy
  • Allow to cool and store in an airtight container
  • Freeze or keep refrigerated

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We hope you have enjoyed reading our in-depth guide to feeding cats turkey. If you keep it lean and don’t feed any bones, skin, or deli meat, turkey makes a great addition to your cat’s diet that provides plenty of protein and has cancer-fighting properties. Freshly cooked is the best way to serve it, but DIY treats are also a great idea and are convenient at any time of the day.  If this guide has helped you feel more at ease, please share this guide to feeding your cat turkey on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay