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Q: Once we’ve finished carving the turkey, may we give the carcass to our cats? I think they’d enjoy removing the remaining meat and chewing on the bones.

A: Your cats—and dogs, if you have them—will be better off eating their own food and staying away from your turkey and trimmings.

Any abrupt change in diet can precipitate diarrhea and vomiting. Fat, whether it’s on the carcass or part of the skin or gravy, can damage the pancreas.

Bones cause countless problems. They often break teeth, and sometimes they slice the gums or cheek.

If a bone gets stuck in the esophagus, your cat will choke and gag. If the bone becomes lodged in the stomach or intestines, you’ll see vomiting and decreased appetite. If a fragment gets inhaled into the trachea or lungs, expect coughing and breathing difficulties.

Sharp pieces of bone can puncture the stomach and intestines, causing infection within the abdominal cavity, and bone fragments can cause constipation and rectal bleeding.

Many of these problems require surgical intervention. So, prevent trouble by making soup from your turkey carcass.

As you enjoy your soup and realize you probably saved yourself a trip to the veterinary emergency clinic, you’ll have one more reason to be thankful.

Editor’s Note: Looking for ways to share Thanksgiving with your pet? Here are some DIY ways to show your pet your thankful. And for a special Thanksgiving treat, make these mini pup-kin pies for your dog.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

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