Can Cats Eat Thanksgiving Leftovers?

Thanksgiving is a time for laughs and fun with friends and family, pets included. But sometimes your furry family members can get a little naughty and start celebrating the holiday before, or after, everyone else. Or maybe Grandma is known for slipping a little something to Fluffy during the meal. Which Thanksgiving foods are safe for your cat to eat and which should have you concerned? Read on to find out.

It should be noted that each cat is different. The safest course of action to take when your pet has consumed an unknown quantity of a new food is to contact your vet. We have outlined some foods below that agree with most felines, but that is not to say that every cat will be able to handle the items we’ve deemed safe. Talk with your vet to discuss their holiday concerns for your cat.


Turkey, as with all meats, is tough to definitively say yes or no to. When it comes to turkey, what’s going to make a difference, as far as your cat is concerned, is the fat content of the bird. You’ll need to consider how you made the bird. Did you slather it in oils, butter, and seasoning to get the perfect golden outer skin? If so, the fat content of that turkey is likely too high for kitties to eat. While maybe an accidental scarp won’t hurt them, giving your kitty a few pieces, or a bowl of the stuff, will most likely make her sick. If you’re concerned about how much turkey your cat can eat, or if she got into the holiday spirit a little early, we recommend calling your vet.

Turkey Bones

Cats shouldn’t be allowed to eat bones of any kind. The bone can break off into little pieces and do a lot of harm. It’s best to keep cats away from all bones year-round.


We’re a bit mixed on this one. There haven’t been many studies conducted on whether or not cranberries are good for cats. Some swear by the fruit, others stay away. From what we can tell, raw cranberries aren’t so good, and neither are cranberries that have been mixed with other ingredients like sugar. The safest course of action is to avoid this fruit or talk to your vet about your cat’s specific tolerance.

Mashed Potatoes

Uncooked potatoes are not safe for cats, but cooked mashed potatoes most likely won’t do your cat any harm. While potatoes contain many benefits such as vitamins B and C, cats don’t possess the enzymes necessary to process potatoes fully. That means that if your cat continually eats too many cooked potatoes, he may start to pack on the pounds. But if Fuzzy gets into Grandma’s famous mashed potatoes before anyone else, he’ll probably be just fine.


Gravy is a no go for cats due to its high-fat content, especially gravy that is made from the drippings of turkey. This yummy Thanksgiving treat should be reserved for humans and humans alone.

Peas and Carrots

As far as vegetables go, peas and carrots are just fine for your feline friend. As long as they were left alone, meaning no seasonings or toppings, most kitties can chow down on these veggies.


Your cat can get away with a few nibbles of cooked bread, but uncooked bread is another story. The yeast used to create these fluffy pillows of goodness can be extremely harmful to your cat.


Butter is kind of like cranberries in that cats probably can eat butter without any negative side effects. But just because a cat can eat something doesn’t mean that it should. Butter is an unhealthy substance as far as cats go and shouldn’t be given to a cat regularly. If you left the cover off your butter dish and Fluffy got curious you’ll probably be just fine.

Sweet Potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes or dehydrated sweet potatoes should be treated just like regular potatoes. As long as they’re free of additives, spices, or toppings, a little nibble probably won’t ruffle Fluffy’s fur.

Pumpkin Pie

This is a big no go. While cats can enjoy canned pumpkin or raw pumpkin, the sweet goodness that is pumpkin pie should be reserved for people only. Sorry kitties.

Keeping Thanksgiving Safe

If your cat gets into any new or unusual foods, you should keep an eye on her to monitor her for developing symptoms. Every cat is different, one food that doesn’t phase one cat may prompt some serious side effects for others. To be safe, give your vet a call prior to Thanksgiving day.