This year’s persistent pandemic promises to improve the vacation habits and traditions of many – and that is raising concerns among leading veterinarians.
"Before this pandemic, people were concerned that house guests might feed table debris that could be unhealthy or even dangerous for their cats," said Jason Nicholas, BVetMed, veterinarian and animal safety attorney in Portland, Oregon. “There may not be many guests this year. Some people who are feeling a little down may be more inclined to give their cats something off the table so they can attend the holiday celebrations. Please resist this temptation because you do not want to spend the holidays with your cat in an emergency veterinary clinic. "
What holiday foods are safe for cats?
You can include your cat in the Christmas gifts by knowing exactly which foods are safe for people and which foods are downright dangerous for people.
Best-selling author Carol Osborne, DVM who runs the Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic in Ohio, offers the safe way to treat your cat with turkey.
"Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which has calming effects on people and pets," she says. "If your cat is nervous about the party, give him a little turkey to calm his nerves."
"I recommend that you rinse the white turkey meat in warm water to release its flavors, as cats smell like odor," says Dr. Nicholas. Rinsing will remove your tasty condiments and condiments like garlic, onions, and salt, which can cause stomach upset in your cat.
Here are some other healthy holiday foods and treats to give your feline friend in moderation:
- Steamed or mashed sweet potatoes, served simply.
- Canned pumpkin. A spoon can help fight off diarrhea or constipation.
- Cranberry sauce. A lick or two can be a sweet treat for your cat.
- Unseasoned grilled or canned salmon. This fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. If you're working with cans, make sure the water is low in sodium.
- Steamed green beans, chopped and without spices.
"Green beans are a great source of fiber and can be safely given to your cat as long as you steam them in sodium-free broth and never give your cat any help from the green bean casserole you made as it is cream-filled and crispy Onion toppings and maybe even bacon – a three-fold blow to your cat's health, ”says Dr. Nicholas.
What holiday foods are not safe for cats?
Unfortunately, the list of no-no holiday treats and drinks for your cat is far more extensive. At the top of the list:
- Turkey skin. Usually marinated with garlic, onions, and spices, it can cause painful pancreatitis, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- A piece of pumpkin pie. The pumpkin pie filling is loaded with sugar, which can cause indigestion.
- Macadamia nuts. These nuts can cause muscle weakness, vomiting, tremors, and stomach pain.
- Grapes and raisins. Both are toxic, laden with sugar, and can cause choking if swallowed.
- Food with onions, chives, leeks or spring onions. These foods can cause anemia, weakened red blood cells, damage to the mucous membranes, and weakness. "Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen around the body," says Dr. Nicholas.
- Sauce and filling. The high amount of fat and salt can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis and upset stomach.
Be sure to keep an eye – and a lid – on your human vacation treats to keep a nosy cat from licking and swallowing.
"Alcohol can make pets drunk, weak, depressed and lead to coma," adds Dr. Osborne added. In fact, just 1 teaspoon of grain alcohol can cause alcohol toxicity in cats.
Dr. Nicholas also urges pet parents to properly dispose of all turkey waste, including truss string, in a trash can out of the reach of the paw.
"This string is soaked in turkey juice, fat, and spices – all of which can be very attractive to cats," he says. "You can be at risk of suffocation and abdominal blockages if you chew and try to swallow this string."
To make the holidays happy and safe, Dr. Nicholas offered two final safe options for your cat.
"Consider giving your cat more playtime and mixing up meal times by putting a meal or healthy cat treats on lick mats or food puzzles like the Doc and Phoebe cat toys," he says. "Play it safe, for your cat's sake.
Featured image: infinityyy | Getty Images
Continue reading: How to protect your cat around the Christmas tree