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 we’re discussing foods without any additional ingredients in small portions. You will most likely have a well-seasoned standing rib roast, with things cats can’t eat if that’s on the menu. 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 you and 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 a flavor for cat food as other protein sources. Therefore, don’t be surprised if your pet turns up its nose to it.
2. Cooked Chicken
You’re much more likely to get your kitty to enjoy some cooked chicken with you than our previous selection. It is also 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 offering chicken to your cat.
Safe cooking temperature is essential to avoid the risk of food poisoning, which is 165℉ for chicken. 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 its 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 this food. Nevertheless, your pet will undoubtedly enjoy salmon because of its strong aroma and flavor. After all, felines navigate their world largely by smell. They may not be able to see as well as us, but they know a good meal when they taste it.
You shouldn’t give your cat any bones despite what you may see in cartoons. 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.
Just like our previous suggestion, you can also give your kitty some cooked shrimp if you’re having a shrimp cocktail as an appetizer before your main course on Christmas. This seafood is low in fat, making it an excellent addition to your cat’s diet as an occasional treat. There’s a good reason it’s a common ingredient in seafood-based commercial foods. As is common knowledge, take extra care when preparing seafood to avoid food poisoning.
The other good thing about shrimp is that it’s mild in flavor 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. The brown variety 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 some of the other foods on our list to get your cat to try it.
Plain boiled or baked potatoes are another human food you can give your cat. While felines don’t eat a lot of 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 their products because of their nutritional value. They offer an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and of course, vitamin A. You can try giving your cat some cooked vegetables without salt or butter. Your pet is more likely to take it mixed with some meat than on its own. 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 of human food to give to your cat. However, it’s jam-packed with nutrients for your pet. 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 that vets often recommend it for pets with GI distress. It has many of the same benefits as rice, with a nutritional boost to boot!
Make sure to give your cat unsweetened and unsalted pumpkin only, 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 you’d give your cat raw bananas is for their nutritional value. A 100-gram serving covers nearly 30% of your pet’s daily potassium needs. It’s also rich in other vitamins and minerals. Your kitty may not like this fruit as much as you do. Felines’ tastes lean more toward savory foods than sweet ones. The bananas may also smell unfamiliar to them. 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 but unseasoned things in small occasional 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 every time you cook chicken or fry up a hamburger. It’s best to make them an occasional treat to share with your BFF.
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. It has different dietary needs and tolerances than you do. Less is more when it comes to giving your cat a treat together on Christmas.
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