Thanksgiving With Cats: Easy Ways To Make It Safe & Fun

By Category: HolidaysTags:
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Did you know this? Thanksgiving can be really dangerous for cats. Turkey bones and onions are just two Thanksgiving hazards for cats. And then there’s the nuisance factor — the cat who gets into everything that smells like it would be good to eat or grabs a few bites of the freshly carved turkey you’ve just put on a plate. How can you enjoy Thanksgiving with cats? Keep reading to see the suggestions I have for you.


My human typist and I believe in transparency (I have no idea what that is, but it sounds good). So we want you to know clicking on some of the links in this post will take you to Amazon. We only recommend products we trust, and we earn a small commission for purchases made through this blog at no additional charge to you. That commission helps us keep my blog running and the cats fed!

Speed Read

There are many Thanksgiving hazards for cats.

Table decorations are nice, but where’s the turkey?

How do you manage Thanksgiving with cats, Thomasina? Mine gets into everything. I hate to make him stay outside all day. But the nuisance factor really is a bit too much. — Already Annoyed

Hey, Already Annoyed.

I’m sorry to hear your cat can be such a pest. He probably thinks you’re a pest for chasing him away from things he wants!

Thanksgiving is all about sharing. And that means sharing with your cat, too. Here are some ways you can enjoy Thanksgiving with cats. But first…

Thanksgiving Hazards For Cats

This might surprise you, but there are many Thanksgiving hazards for cats. A lot of the food you eat can make us really sick. And so can those pretty decorations and holiday-scented air fresheners you put all over everywhere. Potpourri’s not safe for us either, and neither are scented candles. And those air fresheners and candles are really annoying. We want our house to smell like home, not a perfume factory.

So here are some things to watch for.


Mums are Thanksgiving favorites, but they’re toxic to cats. 

Those pretty bowls of potpourri can be especially dangerous. Liquid potpourri contains cationic detergents and/or essential oils. If your cat eats them, they can cause inflammation and tissue damage in his mouth and digestive organs. Pieces of potpourri can also cut the inside of his mouth. Even if he just puts a paw in a bowl of potpourri, it can cause skin irritation, swelling and pain. And if he gets it in his eyes while grooming, it can cause irritation or injury. If you really want potpourri as part of your Thanksgiving celebration, put it someplace where your cat can’t possibly get to it. 


Turkey bones are a choking hazard and fatty dark meat and skin can cause some serious stomach upset.

Onion is toxic to cats and even a tiny bit can make us very sick. Onion powder is just as deadly. Garlic, leeks and chives can make us sick, too. All of these can cause Heinz body anemia, which destroys our red blood cells. I have no idea what those are, but it sounds like we need them.

You probably know that chocolate is toxic to cats. but so are raisins and currants. You definitely don’t want to share your fruitcake with your cat!

Don’t share your wine or alcoholic drinks with your cat either.

If you’re making something that contains yeast, keep the unbaked dough away from your cat. Unbaked yeast dough can rise and expand in your cat’s stomach causing a blockage. And fermenting yeast in his stomach can cause alcohol poisoning. 

Happy Thanksgiving With Cats

Home + Pets

Your cat doesn’t have to spend the entire day outside if he doesn’t want to. One way to enjoy Thanksgiving with cats and cut down on the nuisance factor is to put a chair near your work area so he can see what you’re doing without getting up on the counter. Give him a couple of treats once in a while to keep him busy. Or you could give him a slow feeder to keep him occupied while you’re working. We have these for days when it’s too nasty to go out and we’re bored. Give them to him one at a time, and put them in the kitchen so he can “hunt” while you’re working.

Treat balls are fun, too. Or just throw a few pieces of dry food on the floor and let him hunt for them.

Something else that will keep him happy and out of your way is silver vine or catnip. Putting it in a paper bag should keep him busy longer than just a mound on the floor.

Since he’s keeping you company and not being a pest, don’t forget to tell him what you’re doing (“We need to chop this celery now”) and give him an occasional pat on the head. He’ll feel important and loved, and you’ll be able to prepare Thanksgiving dinner without cat hair all over your face and food. 

Thanksgiving Dinner For Cats

Okay. so your cat can’t share your Thanksgiving dinner. But he can have his own. If you have a little table, you can even set it up in the dining room so he can eat with you. Here’s a menu he’ll love.

White meat turkey. Remember no fatty dark meat or skin because both could upset his stomach.

Sweet potatoes with a little dab of butter. Sweet potatoes are actually good for us. Many cat food manufacturers use them as the starch that holds pieces of dry food together.

Cooked or canned pumpkin (not the pie filling!) Most of us love it, and it, too, is good for us. It’s a great remedy for stomach upset.

Slices of raw apple or baby carrots or green beans. To be honest, I’ve never eaten any of these, and I can’t promise your cat will like them.

A sidedish of bonito flakes. These are our favorite kind.

For dessert: Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (no chocolate!). Or give him a little saucer of cream before it’s whipped.

I hope this helps, Already Annoyed. All the cats at our house and I wish you and your cat a very, very happy Thanksgiving. 

Why Do Cats...

Hate Lion Cuts?
Hide From The Vacuum Cleaner?
Sleep So Much?
Stare Into Space?
See In The Dark?
Knock Things Off Counters?
Love Boxes?
Heal You When They Purr
Know When It's Going To Rain?
Walk All Over People
Follow People Into The Bathroom?

It's never too early to start looking for holiday gifts…