This festive time of year can be both stressful and fun for humans, and the same can be true for pets. Here are a few tips on how to include your cat in the fun of Thanksgiving without stressing them out!
The most important thing to consider is your cat’s personality: you already know if your cat is one who likes to be at the center of things, or if she or he sprints for the nearest hideout at the first sign of a visitor. Keep that in mind when deciding how to include your kitty in the big day.
If your cat doesn’t like to be around folks who aren’t you (or close family), it’s probably worth it to set up a special “safe room” to minimize the impact of a houseful of visitors on those feline nerves. This room should have easy access to the litter box (or plan ahead to get her or him acclimated to a new, temporary litter box location). Put their favorite toys, a favorite comfy pillow or chair, food, and water in the room. Cats are creatures of habit, so the more normalcy you can create, the better. Some soothing cat-centric music can help minimize the sound from a rowdy human gathering.
It is important to consider the needs of people, too… if you have guests staying overnight, make sure that the guest room can be a feline-free zone if they don’t want to have a kitty hanging around all the time. This author doesn’t know anyone like that, personally, but there must be folks like that somewhere in the world!
Just as important as having fun, is staying safe. Make sure that cooking areas are safe for both humans and cats, and that festive candles are attended and cat-resistant–place them in areas less likely to make your curious kitty want to play with them or knock them over.
It’s natural for many to want to share some of the culinary bounty of the Thanksgiving holiday with their pets. Some foods are just fine to share, and others are an absolute no-no:
Go ahead and share these if you want:
- Turkey and other lean meats. These are just fine for your cat. However, make sure to only feed them the meat itself, not accompaniments like gravy, onions, and spices. These can make our furry friends sick.
- Most fruits are ok to share, but share in their natural state. A small amount of cranberry sauce is ok but dogs are more likely to enjoy this than cats are due to cats’ different taste receptors. (No raisins or grapes, though!)
- Plain vegetables are ok–potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, etc. Again, feed them to the cat plain, without spices or gravy or onions.
- Mac and cheese is fine, as long as your cat is ok with dairy.
- Pumpkin puree is fine, too. Again, keep it as plain as possible to avoid digestive difficulties for the kitty.
These are no-nos:
- No chocolate at all. Ever. Period. It’s very dangerous for your feline friend.
- No bones! Careful when dishing out that plain, unspiced turkey… tiny bones can damage the lining of your cat’s stomach and cause serious health complications.
- No onions or garlic or anything else in that family of vegetable. These could make your cat very sick.
- Nothing containing artificial sweeteners. These can make animals sick.
Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving with your human and feline family and friends!