Holidays are a time to celebrate family. For 45.3 million American households, that may include your cat1. We certainly understand why. Felines are intelligent animals that interact with people differently than dogs. We value our relationships with them, making it only fitting we share food with them on Christmas. After all, it’s a bonding experience for both of you.
We must point out that we’re discussing foods in small portions without additional ingredients. You likely have a well-seasoned rib roast on your holiday menu, but your cat should only consume plain, cooked meat. Likewise, your cranberry sauce will contain more than just the fruit.
The 10 Safe Christmas Foods Your Cat Can Eat
1. Cooked Beef
Beef is an excellent source of protein for your cat, particularly if it’s a lean cut. Felines are obligate carnivores because meat typically makes up 70% or more of their diet. Consequently, they have adapted gastrointestinal tracks to this diet. Lean roast beef cuts that are well-cooked can be used as a treat for your cat.
It’s worth mentioning that beef isn’t as common in cat food as other protein sources. Therefore, don’t be surprised if your pet turns up their nose to it.
2. Cooked Chicken
You’re much more likely to get your kitty to enjoy cooked chicken than our previous selection. It is a protein powerhouse that is also low in fat. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), your pet should get a minimum of 9% fat in their diet, both kittens and adults. We recommend removing the skin and bones before serving the chicken to your cat.
A safe internal temperature is essential when cooking chicken to avoid the risk of food poisoning, which is 165℉. You should never give your pet raw meat because of the risk of foodborne illnesses for you and your cat.
3. Cooked Turkey
Many of the same precautions and suggestions for chicken also apply to turkey. It is also an excellent source of nutrients. A 3-ounce serving of cooked turkey breast contains 25.6 grams of protein, over 60% of your kitty’s daily needs.
It also offers benefits for cardiovascular, skeletal, and reproductive health. You can give your cat deli meat as long as there are no additional spices, like garlic or onions, which your pet can’t eat.
People often associate cats with fish, which is ironic, given that the species evolved in the Near East from desert felines that wouldn’t have eaten it. Nevertheless, your pet will undoubtedly enjoy salmon because of its strong aroma and flavor. After all, felines navigate their world mainly by smell. They may not be able to see as well as us, but they know a good meal when they taste it.
Make sure to check the meat carefully for any pin bones before offering it to your pet. We also recommend cooked salmon rather than raw.
Like our previous suggestion, you can also feed cooked shrimp if you’re having a shrimp cocktail as an appetizer before your main course on Christmas. It’s low in fat, making it an excellent addition to your cat’s diet as an occasional treat. Avoid serving raw shrimp, and take extra care when preparing seafood to avoid food poisoning.
The other good thing about shrimp is that it’s mild and less likely to upset your pet’s digestive system. Just skip the cocktail sauce.
6. Brown Rice
You’ll often see rice in cat food products. It’s an excellent source of fiber and other nutrients for heart health. Brown rice is especially nutritious for people and felines. Your vet may recommend it if your kitty suffers from GI distress to aid recovery. Your pet probably won’t go crazy for plain rice. You may need to mix it with other foods on our list to get your cat to try it.
Boiled or baked potatoes are another human food you can give your cat. While felines don’t eat many fruits or vegetables, they will benefit from the nutrients they provide, such as potassium and magnesium. They’re also an excellent source of fiber, particularly in the skin.
Even though you may enjoy your potatoes with butter or sour cream, don’t put any on your kitty’s portion. Cats can digest dairy products as kittens. However, most cats are lactose-intolerant as adults, making those additions unhealthy for your kitty.
Many manufacturers include carrots in cat food because of their nutritional value. They provide an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. You can try giving your cat cooked carrots without salt or butter. However, they’re unlikely to eat them unless they’re mixed with meat. It’s an easy way to make sure your kitty is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Pumpkin may seem like an odd choice to give to your cat. However, it’s jam-packed with nutrients. It provides an excellent source of vitamin A, fiber, and potassium. It has virtually no fat and has only 34 calories in a 100-gram serving. It’s no wonder vets often recommend it for pets with GI distress.
It has many of the same benefits as rice, but you should only serve unsweetened and unsalted pumpkin, not pumpkin pie canned mix. The sugar and other ingredients can upset your pet’s stomach and may be potentially harmful. Save the pie for you and your family.
The main reason to give your cat raw bananas is for their nutritional value. A 100-gram serving covers nearly 30% of your pet’s daily potassium needs. Bananas are also rich in other vitamins and minerals. However, felines’ tastes lean more toward savory foods than sweet ones. The bananas may smell unfamiliar to them, but an adventurous kitten may try a bite or two.
Advice About Feeding Your Cat
Even though humans and felines share 90% of our DNA, that doesn’t mean we can eat the same foods. Remember that your pet is a carnivore. If you want to give your cat something from the Christmas dinner table, you’ll have the best luck with meat. Just be sure only to give your pet cooked meat in small portions.
Some cats may have digestive issues when introducing new foods into their diet. You must remember their keen sense of smell, too. We’re sure the last thing you want is a pet begging for food whenever you cook chicken or a hamburger. Making them an occasional treat to share with your cat is best.
The holidays bring families together to share special moments with their loved ones. Many people think of their cats as family members. However, it’s still essential to remember that your kitty isn’t a little human. They have different dietary needs and tolerances than you do. Preparing a small portion of human food is ideal when your family is together on Christmas.
Featured Image Credit: GolubaPhoto, Shutterstock