Can Cats Eat Turkey? 8 Facts About It

Have you ever taken your eyes off your turkey sandwich long enough for your cat to lick its lips and then return?

Owing to their evolutionary adaptations, cats can only survive by eating meat. It’s no surprise then that animal protein is the primary ingredient in nearly all recipes for cat food, and that cats enjoy eating turkey or any other type of meat.

But can cats eat different cuts of turkey, or even turkey leftovers? Is it good for them to do that? What I learned about feeding turkey to cats.

Can Cats Eat Turkey?

As obligate carnivores, cats can only survive on a diet consisting almost entirely of meat.

Protein-rich meat and few plant foods make up the bulk of a wild cat’s diet.

Even domestic cats, when given the option, prefer a diet high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates, similar to that of their wild ancestors.

What could possibly be the issue with feeding lean turkey to cats?

Your cat should be fine feeding on fully cooked, fresh, natural turkey meat.

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Is Turkey Good for Cats?

Cats can reap many nutritional benefits from eating turkey. The B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, sodium, and potassium are all present in high concentrations, and it has few calories and fat. However, it lacks the fiber that felines require for regular defecation.

Dark turkey meat is higher in iron and B vitamins but has more calories, cholesterol, and fat than white turkey meat. The dark meat typically has more nutrients, but it also has more calories.

The amino acid tryptophan, found in turkey, is known to induce sleep. You might be wondering if the same holds true for cats. The effects of tryptophan in food do appear to be similar for some animals.

However, people turkey should only be given to cats as a snack, and even then only in pieces no bigger than your top thumb joint.

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There is probably not enough tryptophan in that amount of turkey to make a cat sleepy.

It’s possible that after a meal and maybe a turkey snack, your cat is just taking it easy and sleeping it off.

Is turkey bad for cats?

In this section, we’ll take a look at why you shouldn’t feed your cat turkey despite the fact that it’s a good source of protein.

Raw Turkey

Although there is a growing trend of feeding raw meat to cats, there is always the risk of your pet contracting salmonella or another food-borne illness.

They may experience gastrointestinal distress like diarrhea or vomiting as a result of these bacteria.

Despite the fact that taurine is abundant in raw meat, we advise only feeding your pet very small amounts of fresh raw meat on very rare occasions.

Fat Content

The Thanksgiving holiday prompts many people to wonder if it’s safe to feed their cat turkey.

All the lean meat from a roasted turkey is fine to feed your cat, but the skin contains a lot of fat that you should limit their consumption of.

Deep-Fried Turkey

Deep-frying your Thanksgiving turkey is another common preparation method. While this method can speed up the cooking process, it also increases the amount of unhealthy saturated and trans fats in the meat.

Avoid feeding your cat deep-fried turkey because doing so increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, and other health problems.

Cat eating


When we talk about turkey being safe for cats to eat, we’re only talking about plain meat.

Salt and pepper are just two of the many spices that should never be given to a cat because they can cause serious health issues like water retention and swelling.

The increased urination may be a side effect of the salt in their diet.

It’s not just the turkey and ham that need to be monitored on Thanksgiving; the stuffing may also contain human food allergens.

Ground Turkey

Although ground turkey is high in protein, it is typically higher in fat compared to lean turkey breast. Choose a ground turkey brand that guarantees at least 90% leanness if you plan to feed your cat this meat.

Deli Turkey

In humans and animals alike, deli meat is linked to an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Sodium, nitrites, and nitrates are all present in relatively high concentrations.

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Listeria contamination is common due to its high processing level, chemical preservatives, and artificial colorings.

An increased risk of cancer is the only downside to occasionally feeding your cat turkey deli meat. Consuming lunch meat on a regular basis is a surefire way to get sick.

Turkey Bones

Turkey bones are a major annoyance, especially on Thanksgiving.

If your cat eats a turkey bone, or any other type of chicken or other poultry bone, it could splinter and cause serious internal damage.

If you want to prevent your cat from sneaking into the garbage and eating the bones, you should store them safely and dispose of them properly.

Should Cats Eat Raw or Cooked Turkey?

Turkey for cats should always be cooked. Despite heated debates about whether or not it’s better to feed your pet raw or cooked food, both humans and animals are better off sticking to cooked turkey.

Bacteria in raw meat can cause serious illness in humans and animals. Because of this, when preparing food, it’s best to use two different cutting boards for meat and vegetables.

It’s not worth the risk of illness to people and pets if people feed their pets raw meat that may contain bacteria.

Can Cats Eat Turkey? Thanksgiving Treat Or Dangerous Dish?

Can Cats Have Turkey Bones or Skin?

If you’re going to feed your cat turkey, make sure the skin and bones are removed first. The high fat content of turkey skin can cause gastrointestinal distress and, in extreme cases, pancreatitis.

Avoid eating turkey that still has the bone in it. Birds are so delicate because of their hollow bones. Injuries to the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines can result from their tendency to splinter.

The intestines and other nearby organs are vulnerable to injury from bones and bone fragments. As a result, it’s crucial to check every piece of turkey for bones before feeding it to your pets.

Can Cats Eat Turkey Bacon?

Cats can benefit from eating turkey, but turkey bacon is not a healthy option. It’s safe for cats to eat, but it’s high in salt, preservatives, and fat.

Hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and other health problems have all been linked to long-term consumption of turkey bacon. While it’s fine to give your cat some cooked turkey, stick to plain turkey and steer clear of turkey bacon.

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How Much Turkey Can Cats Eat?

Cats can benefit from the occasional turkey treat, but treats in general should be given in moderation.

Treats shouldn’t account for more than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie intake on a consistent basis. Although you probably don’t keep track of your cat’s caloric intake, a 10% decrease isn’t that big of a deal.

If your cat is healthy and has no health issues, you can give it a serving the size of your top thumb joint.

Get in touch with your vet if your cat has eaten a large amount of turkey on its own, or if you are worried that the turkey may have contained spices, skin, or bones.

How to Safely Feed Your Cat Turkey

Turkey can be served to cats in a variety of ways. Consider switching to a commercial pet food that contains turkey if your cat really enjoys the taste. This is the healthiest and most tasty way to give your cat a well-rounded diet of turkey.

Turkey breast that has been simply cooked is ideal for sharing with your feline friend. Baked, boiled, broiled, or prepared in any other way (except deep frying, which adds too much fat): turkey breast, ground turkey, or dark meat.

Don’t season it with anything at all. To avoid making your cat sick, it’s best to cook the turkey yourself and read labels carefully when purchasing raw meat.

Can Cats Eat Turkey? |

Skin and bone the turkey, cook it through, let it cool, and then divide up a small serving (about a 1-inch cube) once daily. You can either feed this treat whole or break it up and use it as a topping for your cat’s regular food or put it in an exercise food toy.


We hoped you enjoyed our lengthy article on giving turkey to cats.

Turkey is a great source of protein and cancer-fighting properties if you feed it to your cat in a lean form without the bones, skin, or deli meat.

The best way to serve it is still freshly cooked, but homemade treats are fun to make and can be eaten at any time.

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