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Can Cats Eat Turkey Giblets

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Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the most magical times for many families. If you’re trussing up your traditional turkey dinner, it’s only natural to wonder if there’s a way to let your cat in on the fun (and the too much food). 

Of course, many cat owners have found themselves wondering if they could turn one under-used part of the turkey into cat food instead. 

So, can cats eat turkey giblets? 

Yes, but only so long as the turkey giblets are unseasoned and untreated when you bought them, and only if you don’t add salt or other seasonings yourself before giving them to your cat. Turkey giblets are rich in nutrients that your cat needs to be healthy, and they mimic a lot of their most natural food sources, which makes them a great treat. However, it’s important to take precautions to ensure your turkey giblets are safe before serving them to your feline friends. 

Let’s take a closer look at turkey giblets, and who knows? Maybe next year, you’ll be able to include your cats in the holiday festivities! 

Don’t blame us if they start nagging for giblets every time they smell turkey!

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Can I Cook Turkey Giblets For My Cat?

Yes, cooked giblets are a safe option for your cat. However, you can’t use just giblets that were cooked with the rest of your Thanksgiving feast. 

For instance, our mothers used to cook stuffing with the turkey neck in the pan. That way, it got up to temperature faster but still got the delicious flavor of the turkey. But, because our stuffing recipe included onions and garlic, that turkey neck wouldn’t have been safe for our cats to eat. 

If you want to cook turkey giblets for your cat, you’ll need to separate them from the rest of the bird early on before you do any seasoning or prep work. Set the giblets aside somewhere they won’t get seasoned on accident if you want to save them for your cat. 

If you want to cook giblets for your cat, you should bring them up to the same temperature you would for yourself. That will help make sure any bacteria or parasites are gone long before your cat takes a bite. 

How Long Should You Cook Turkey Giblets For A Cat?

This question is harder to answer because it depends on how you want to cook the giblets and what temperature you’re using. 

If you’re cooking giblets in the oven, like a whole turkey, you’ll need to cook them until they reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature. Cook time can range between 10-30 minutes depending on your oven temperature and what you have in which to cook your giblets. 

Boiling is another standard option and especially effective because you wind up with some delicious (for your cat) turkey broth that can also be used as a treat or help your cat stay hydrated. 

You’re looking for the same 160-degree internal temperature mark and for the giblets to be cooked through. That can happen after 10-20 minutes of boiling, but you may want to cook the giblets even longer. A low simmer for about an hour will give you a more flavorful broth that you can cool down to use as treats. 

You can even freeze your homemade turkey-broth-for-cats in an ice cube tray to give as treats later. Most cats will enjoy the broth’s flavor and the cold temperature of the ice. 

Can Kittens Eat Cooked Giblets?

Cooked giblets are a safer option if you’re feeding a kitten. Kitten’s digestive systems aren’t fully set up, so they aren’t as well protected against food poisoning as adult cats. 

Giblets are a reasonable option for most kittens, but make sure you’re only serving pieces of meat–nothing with bone or cartilage that might be too hard for your kitten’s teeth and cause a choking hazard. 

Can Cats Eat Turkey Innards Raw?

Technically, cats can eat turkey innards raw, and it will usually be a safe and healthy option. 

However, experts and pet owners often have a hard time with this because there is a slightly higher risk of getting a food-borne pathogen when you eat raw meat. That’s doubly true for poultry, and your cat is just as likely to get food-borne illnesses as you are. 

That said, cats eat raw meat all the time in the wild. In fact, that would be most of your cat’s diet if they weren’t a pet. So, while there is some debate about the safety of raw turkey giblets, many people think that your cat’s risk is small, and their enjoyment is worth the risk. 

At the end of the day, it’s your call whether you’re comfortable serving raw giblets. Some pet owners prefer a raw diet, while others worry about health concerns. Both options are valid, so choose whatever feels right to you. 

How Do You Feed A Cat Giblets?

Feeding giblets should be relatively straightforward. Some cats will turn their noses up at giblets, but you shouldn’t force your cat to eat anything that doesn’t smell or taste good to them. 

The easiest option is to decide whether or not you want to cook the giblets and then serve them in your cat’s regular food bowl. Serving in the same food bowl will help your cat know that the giblets are for them and that it’s okay to eat them. 

Alternatively, you could puree and freeze the giblets as an occasional treat or mix cut-up pieces of giblets with your cat’s everyday food. These options are more work-intensive, though, so most cat owners serve the giblets by themselves. 

Things To Consider

If you’re thinking about giving your cat giblets this thanksgiving (or anytime you have roast turkey or chicken), there are a few things you should think about before serving them a delicious meaty treat. 

For one thing, many storebought turkeys and chickens are already brined or otherwise seasoned. Seasoned or smoked meat isn’t safe for cats anymore, including the giblets inside the bird. You can only use untreated meat to feed your cats since that’s the only way to make sure there isn’t too much sodium or potentially toxic spices included in the meat. 

It’s also important to know that even fully cooked meat can risk giving your cat disease or food poisoning. While those cases are rare, it is possible, and you should be prepared in case your cat does need a trip to the vet after enjoying some turkey. 

It’s also important for cat owners to know that turkey giblets and chicken gizzards should primarily be used as a treat food rather than a full-time meal replacement. Kibble and wet foods designed for cats are usually more nutritionally complete and will help your cat feel better and stay healthier than eating plain meat. 

After all, while feral cats usually eat whatever they can get, that doesn’t mean that they are as healthy as possible or that they aren’t getting foods that could be dangerous. 

Your pets deserve your protection, including giving them the best possible foods.