Things to Consider
A Thanksgiving gathering surrounded by friends, family and fabulous food is the highlight of late November for many Americans. However, while the human family members enjoy the delicious holiday feast, companion animals have a heightened risk of developing several potentially serious medical conditions. Here are some tips that can help owners get their cats through the Thanksgiving holiday safely.
Keep Leftovers For People, Not Pets
Most veterinarians recommend that owners avoid feeding their pets leftovers or table scraps, whether from Thanksgiving dinner or from some other meal. Cats are susceptible to pancreatitis, which involves inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas has two main functions: to make insulin for metabolism of sugar; and to produce various digestive enzymes. When a cat’s pancreas becomes irritated and inflamed, it can cause serious discomfort and digestive disorders. In most cases, the exact cause of a cat’s pancreatitis is never determined. However, eating an especially high-fat meal can contribute to pancreatitis. This condition can be life-threatening and typically requires aggressive medical attention.
Don't Feed Your Cat Poultry Bones
Sharp, cooked poultry bones should never be fed to cats. Any turkey bone can splinter and become stuck in the cat’s throat or further down its digestive tract. Bone fragments can cut into delicate intestinal tissues, causing inflammation, infection and perforation. Plates should not be left unattended on the table or kitchen counters after a Thanksgiving dinner, because cats are notoriously good jumpers and can quickly steal and swallow a few bones when no one is looking.
Food Waste Should Go Into The Trash
Most authorities suggest that owners not feed raw poultry products, such as giblets, kidneys, liver or necks, to cats. Raw poultry and other raw meats often are contaminated with bacteria that can contribute to severe gastrointestinal upset, including cramping, diarrhea or more serious conditions. Cats are highly skilled at finding food on counter tops and tables, so unattended dinner and serving plates should be kept well out of their reach. When disposing of a Thanksgiving turkey, ham or other roast, it is best to double-bag the carcass and all loose bones and put it in a securely closed garbage container right after the meal.
Protect Your Cat From The Party
If you are expecting a crowd for Thanksgiving, it may be wise to make up a special room for the cats, such as a back bedroom or basement, equipped with comfortable beds, food, fresh water and a source of soothing sound, like a radio tuned to soft music or a television. The hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving holiday can be extremely stressful for cats, especially if they are shy or territorial. Cats don’t like loud sounds or unexpected changes in their environments. The flood of friends and relatives that accompany a holiday dinner party probably will scare most cats and cause them to hide or try to escape from the house. Keeping them safely tucked away in a remote room, behind a securely closed door, will make the occasion pass smoothly and safely for everyone involved.