Turkeys are the largest birds in the open forests with a wingspan of almost 6 feet. They have a fleshy caruncle that hangs from the beak called a snood. The female turkey is smaller than the male and is less colorful. Their usual lifespan is about 10 years.
Turkeys provide nutritious food rich in protein and other minerals. Over the past years, turkeys are the most popular staple for holiday feasts in the US and many other countries. Almost all families celebrate these holidays which is why it is completely difficult to miss turkey in most kitchens. While celebrating, most parents want their cats to have a taste of their favorite holiday food but are concerned about whether they are good for the cats or not.
Why is turkey good for cats?
Turkey is a good source of protein for your kitty. The type of protein provided by turkey provides and satisfies the bulk of your kitty’s nutritional requirement.
Turkey also provides Taurine which helps with the cat’s digestion and vision and is an essential amino acid for cats. It is also responsible for keeping your feline’s immune system optimal.
It is a source of vitamins and minerals which include; Potassium, Magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, selenium Vitamin B12 and folate, all of which are responsible for the proper functioning of the body.
Health Benefits of Turkey to cats.
Supports Heart Health
Turkey is a lean alternative to other meat which provides high saturated fat and raises cholesterol especially if the skin is removed and cooked fresh. It also has a high content of amino acids arginine which helps arteries remain open and relaxed.
Promotes Muscle Retention
To maintain physical independence and muscle mass especially in senior cats, protein is required. Turkey is a good source of protein which helps meet current guidelines that suggest the consumption of lean meat should be 4-5 times a week for maintenance of muscles.
Turkey contains iron which is easily absorbed during digestion hence preventing iron deficiency anemia. Folate and Vitamin B12 required for proper formation and functioning of red blood cells is also present in Turkey. Consumption of turkey maintains strong and healthy blood cells.
Reduces Diverticulum Flare-ups
This is the inflammation of the colon caused by the consumption of red meat with higher fat content. To lower the risk of this rare disease, red meat consumption should be replaced with poultry or fish. This makes Turkey a solution to reducing the risk of diverticulum flare-ups.
Is Turkey bad for your cat?
Although it is good for your cat, the turkey should be fed occasionally as a snack. To make it more palatable, most Vets recommend adding it to your feline’s wet food. There are a few ways you should avoid feeding this meat to your kitty.
It is not unusual to see cats eating raw meat. According to the vet’s recommendation, this should be avoided as you risk feeding spoilt meat or meat contaminated with bacteria or Salmonella to your kitty. The bacteria can disrupt their digestive system leading to vomiting or diarrhea.
Turkey is normally served with many spices, seasonings, and flavorings to give it a delicious taste. When feeding to your kitty, it should be unseasoned as most of these additives are toxic to cats and could lead to swelling, water retention, and other health problems. Salt on the other hand makes them thirsty leading to dehydration as cats rarely drink water. This poses a risk to contract urinary tract infections.
During thanks-giving, most people prefer deep-frying the turkey. Although this technique is easy and fast to prepare and gives a tasty meal, it adds harmful saturated and trans-fats to the meat.
All fats whether from deep-fried or cooked turkey should be eliminated from a cat’s diet as they can quickly lead to heart problems, obesity, and other heart diseases.
Ensure any turkey to feed your kitty is bone-free. When consumed, these bones can splinter causing a blockage in the throat or gastrointestinal problems. Bones should be properly disposed of to ensure your cat does not get to them when you are not around.
Frequently asked questions
How do I feed Turkey to my cat?
Fresh, lean, roasted turkey breast is the best way of feeding turkey to your cat. Freshly cooked turkey with no seasonings is also another great way to feed turkey to cats. You may also find foods that list turkey as one of their main ingredients. Finally, creating DIY cat treats using turkey is a fun way to sneak this delicious food into your cat’s diet.
Ground turkey is also a good source of protein although it has more fat than lean turkey breast which is the best for feeding your cat. In case you decide to feed the ground turkey to your feline, choose a brand that is at least 90% lean to ensure the cat gets maximum nutrients.
Is deli Turkey good for cats?
Deli turkey is heavily processed hence containing harmful chemicals, artificial colorings, and preservatives that are prone to listeria contamination. It is also high in nitrites, nitrates, and sodium and increases the risk of cancer and heart disease.
A slice now and then might not do much harm but if fed regularly and in large portions, it will cause health problems and increase the risk of cancer.
How much Turkey is safe for cats?
It is always recommended that cats eat turkey in moderation. Although the quantity depends on the age and size of the cat, it is important to understand that the average adult cat can consume is a maximum of one ounce of cooked white turkey at a time.
It is okay for cats to eat turkey due to its nutrients but ensure that you feed only cooked turkey to them. While there are many benefits for feeding turkey to your kitty, this should be done in moderation to ensure your cats eats a balanced diet. There is bound to be gastrointestinal upset when introducing a new diet to cats but be observant to ensure it is not an allergic reaction and consult your veterinarian for any advice you may need.