Can cats eat table scraps? It’s a common question you might think looking down at those begging kitty eyes. And perhaps especially as we tuck into a delicious Christmas feast while our kitty makes do with their usual bowl of kibble…!
Of course, on special occasions we want to be able to celebrate with our feline friends. And as we enjoy exciting tastes and textures, we want to give our cats something exciting too.
But while our cat’s dry or wet food may seem boring on a special holiday, there’s a difference between what we might want to give our cats and what they need!
So, can cats eat your holiday table scraps? Rejoice, because yes they can! (If it’s the right thing, in small amounts.)
In the spirit of festive cheer (yay!) this article will help you find the special items you can actually share with your cat this holiday season. To make the holidays that little bit more exciting for them too.
Here’s a quick run down, before we dive in deeper:
Holiday Table Scraps Your Cat Can Eat
- Simply cooked Meat and Fish
- Turkey innards / Chicken
- Homemade cat Christmas dinner (recipe below!)
It’s important to note that all of the foods listed above should be offered in small amounts and only if cooked without harmful ingredients (listed below).
Holiday Table Scraps Your Cat Can Eat
Simply cooked meat and fish can be shared with your kitty friend in very small amounts if you make sure they don’t contain any of the foods above. When we say small amounts, we mean a bit of turkey the size of your thumb fingernail. Treat size 🙂
Turkey Innards / Chicken
Table scraps cats can eat are the heart, gizzard, and liver of your centrepiece turkey or chicken. Cook the offal up without onions and garlic, and when the giblets are done, cut them up into small pieces and refrigerate for use later as high-protein treats. This is also a great way to reduce some of that excess Christmas waste!
Simply Cooked Fish
Can cats eat table scraps if it’s grilled salmon? It all depends upon how it’s seasoned.
Even a little garlic and onion salt is verboten. A bite of boiled or poached salmon is fine as long as you remember that fish doesn’t do much for your cat’s nutrition. Raw fish is not a good option. An enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine – an essential feline nutrient.
Simply Cooked Meat
these can be shared with your kitty friend in very small amounts, about the size of your thumbnail. If they are cooked without too many flavorings or any harmful ingredients, they can make for a special Christmas cat food treat. You could even use it as a small training treat for a party trick!
Feel free to feed your pet small amounts of those yummy sprouts, swede, carrots and parsnips. Just remember not to add any excess butter or seasonings – and none of those pesky bulbs like garlic and leeks.
Tuna or Salmon
On the subject of fish – you may think canned tuna is the ultimate kitty treat. But it’s not. Tuna may contain Omega 3 fatty acids, but it has little else in nutritional value. Give your cat supplemental fish oil and leave the tummy space for her premium cat food.
Also Read: How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree
Cat Christmas Dinner Recipes
Want the ultimate cat Christmas food for your fluffy kitty? Well then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and try out one of these awesome cat food Christmas dinner recipes!
- Christmas Tree Cat Feast – this recipe calls for a few simple yet festive ingredients, a blender, and of course a Christmas tree shaper! Though feel free to substitute for other appropriate Christmas shapes 🙂
- Snowman Cookies – using some yummy chicken and a little helping of catnip, these cookies make a super special festive treat for your kitty.
Grain Free Superfood Cat Treats Recipe – who says Christmas can’t be the time to start a health kick? These superfood packed treats will get your kitty feeling fresh and ready for the New Year ahead, with echinacea & nettle for immunity and urinary health.
Table Scraps to AVOID Feeding Your Cat
Here is what you definitely should not give to your cat from the holiday spread:
- Raw Fish – is not a good option. An enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine – an essential feline nutrient.
- Tuna or Salmon – on the subject of fish – you may think canned tuna is the ultimate kitty treat. But it’s not. Tuna may contain Omega 3 fatty acids, but it has little else in nutritional value. Give your cat supplemental fish oil and leave the tummy space for her premium cat food.
- Onions and Garlic + Seasonings – as we mentioned above, these and other related veggies like leeks contain N-propyl disulphide, which destroys red blood cells causing Heinz Body Anemia. If you give scraps of meat to your cat, just first make sure it wasn’t cooked with onions, garlic, or seasonings.
- Raw Potatoes and/or Green Tomatoes – these veggies are related to the nightshade plant and contain Glycoalkaloid Solanine. When cats eat these they can develop severe lower GI symptoms.
- Grapes or Raisins – these are particularly toxic to dogs but have not been thoroughly studied in felines. We suggest that taking a chance isn’t worth it. Take a look at what fruits cats can eat instead.
- Chocolate – theobromine, found in chocolate, is toxic and can be fatal to both cats and dogs. Additionally, avoid giving your cat a piece of the Christmas cake. A little lick won’t hurt, but as cats cannot taste sugar, it’s better to avoid any Christmas cakes or cookies
- Milk or cheese – many cats are lactose intolerant. Others love the stuff. If it doesn’t give your cat gas or cause him to vomit, you can give 1 percent milk as an occasional treat if you’d really like to. About a tablespoon is the right amount!
Final Thoughts On Christmas Table Scraps For Cats
- Less is more – your cat has a small stomach and anything that she puts into it takes up space that is better relegated to the stuff she actually requires. A nibble or two of “people food” can be okay, but you need to be aware that some of the things you relish can send kitty to the vet.
- Even Out – to avoid any excess Christmas weight gain, if you plan to feed some special treats don’t forget to remove a little bit of their normal food to even things out!
- Avoid Bad Habits – feeding your fur-friend at the table isn’t advised. This will simply introduce a bad habit you’ll try to break later. 😉
- Prioritise Protein – the important thing to remember is, cats need plenty of protein – they are meat-eaters, after all. You’ll be better off, and so will kitty, if you limit the scraps you give, and focus on quality proteins if you do feed scraps.
For more ways to have fun with your kitty over the festive period, and keep them super safe, have a look at our other yuletide guides:
- Read our guide on How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree
- Brush up on the basics of Keeping Your Cat Safe for Christmas
- Get some seriously purrrr-fect gifts with our Christmas Gift Guide for Cats.
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