Did you start your Christmas cooking yet, our fabCats? Although many people will be spending this years’ Xmas celebrations differently due to the mandatory social distancing, we surely won’t be missing out on the opportunity to do some tasty cooking! There’s just one thought coming to our heads, though: what about the cats? We’re fully aware they love to use the Christmas time and spirit to ask for more treats straight from the table and, to be honest, we can’t be surprised that many pet owners (and guests) will give in to the kitty charm. Don’t risk giving your furry friend something that can be harmful - this year, alongside the traditional Christmas spread, we will be preparing a Meowsterchef-style feast for our cats. Are you ready to join in?
Why giving your cat leftovers is a bad idea?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they have no need for eating grains, vegetables, sugars or other common ingredients that are added to popular cat foods as a filler. In an ideal scenario, they would eat whole prey and that would satisfy their needs fully. However, most people feed wet canned food and if it’s good quality with high meat content, small % of fruit and vegetable additives won’t be that bad. If you intentionally feed a cat even the smallest “treats'' off of the hooman food on the table, your kitty might be in trouble. Let’s not forget that ham, sausages, smoked meats and fish contain high quantities of salt and spices which will be harmful to your cat’s health. One-time diarrhea might be considered lucky - health issues over cats eating hooman food can get much worse.
We are obviously aware that cats are curious creatures by nature and they will be trying their best to check out the table, especially if there are tasty-smelling snacks in sight. Intriguing smells and the ability to make goo-goo eyes on command is something your kitties have been trained even before they showed up on this Earth! Don’t let ourselves get crazy here and give in, especially if there’s guests that could potentially sneak something under the table and straight to your kitty’s happy mouth. After all, there are things you could serve your little friend that are equally interesting, yet healthy and suitable for their dietary needs.
Traditional Christmas food that can be harmful to cats
Now, we’re in Poland so our traditions might be different to yours but whatever you usually put on the table on Christmas, it’s probably not good or suitable for your cats. In all seriousness, most opportunities you will get to treat your kitty to something “off limits” will happen during the prep stage. Having raw fish or meats at hand, you can offer the cat a little taste, but once the spices, salt, frying and cooking starts, hooman food is off the menu, at least for the cat. At this point we have to remind you that not all raw fish will be safe for the cat - under no circumstances you should give them raw fish containing thiaminase or trimethylamine oxide. These include: mackerel, herring, catfish, hake, pollock, sprat, bream, carp, as well as seafood - clams, calamari and shrimp. They would be ok after boiling, but don’t give your cat fried fish, even if they’re not seasoned at all.
Other ingredients that may get to your Christmas table and be dangerous to your cats include onions, gravy, sauces and dips, mayo, stuffing and sweets. Everything that you prepare should be covered before serving and away from the cat. When dishes start appearing on the table, all you can do is watch out for the cats. You can always bribe tiny hoomans with some treats and ask them to watch the table when you’re not around :)
What can your cats eat off the table?
After a whole lot of “don'ts”, let's get into the comfort of “Do’s”. What can you actually allow your cats to sneakily take off the table while you’re prepping the Christmas dinner? As far as hooman food goes, it will be mostly raw, boneless and gutted fish (halibut, cod, trout, eel, salmon, bass or tuna, although the last two should be used sparingly as it may contain too much mercury) as well as raw meat (no pork). If you wanted to check if your cat would like fish that are not allowed raw, you can cook them with no spices or salt but remember that it will lose its nutritional value and becomes nothing more than a tasty treat. Don’t feed your cat bacon, ham or sausages - cats won’t take them as tasty and in the end they’d be better off eating their regular wet food.
Remember, that not every treat that you give to your cat will be taken lightly by their bodies. Not to worry though, as we have something special for you and your furry ones - three dishes that you can easily prepare for your kitties as a Christmas treat. Just remember not to overfeed your cat - you can spread the menu throughout the entire day or all three days of Christmas! You can also read more on cats fighting obesity in one of our previous articles to know why exactly it’s better to avoid overfeeding your cats, even on Christmas.
Christmas Meowsterchef for cats - 3 dishes, that will make every kitty happy
Your cat will probably never eat 12 dishes in one go, even on Christmas Eve, although we do know some foodies that would definitely try to do so :) For the sake of their health and diet (after all, your kitty is not planning on starting up a fitness “road-to-beach-body” plan on the 1st of January), limit the Catmass menu to just a few options and spread it across the entire day, or even 2-3 days, treating each option as an enrichment to the everyday can. What did our fabChef of the meowKitchen prepare for you today?
What could wake up your appetite, hungry kitty? Tuna filet, raw chicken bites sneaked out from our meowKitchen, or maybe dried meat chased around the house and sniffed out of the snuffle mat? Our Catmass Eve starter is both feast and playtime - it requires getting your hooman away from the cooking and giving you their time and attention.That’s how we make it taste the best.
Meaty ragout with homemade broth
What would you say, kitty, about some french cuisine? You’re the only one who doesn’t have to give up on eating meat during Christmas Eve, so let’s use it to your advantage. As a main course we give you a meaty ragout with homemade broth - tell your hoomans to prepare it with no spices, cooking boneless meat and adding the broth to your favourite raw meat cubes. Sprinkle some crushed up snackies on top (Cosma or any snacks you like the best), and, as the “cherry on top”, add a dried fish (from the kitty snacks selection, not hooman food). A dish fit for a cat king!
As an alternative, if you’re not a fan of raw meat or pieces of meat in general, ask the chef to add the tasty broth to some cooked meat, your usual wet food or a flavour of food you’re usually getting on special occasions.
How would any cat ever walk away from a piece of 100% meat or fish, dried up, tasty and ready to snack on? It’s like with hoomans and their cheesecake - you might be full, but there’s always space for some cake! Choose from some good old freeze-dried snackies (the legendary “Cosma” is always a good choice), dried meat or ask hoomans to prepare some on their own by cutting thin stripes of raw meat and putting them in the oven for a couple of hours on low temperature, with the doors slightly open. Tasty, healthy and, if you have a lot of meat laying around, easy to make into a nice stash of treats just in time for the New Year!
The menu that our fabCat meowsterChef prepared is obviously just a suggestion that you can use on special occasions, but you can use some of it to spice up your kitties’ everyday food or even to make it easier to switch them to a better diet. Read one of our previous articles to find out how to get your cat from a fussy eater to a happy foodie here:
Our meowKitchen chef used some ideas from the article as a bonus here, but believe us when we say that cat “spices” and diversifying your cat’s food might be the key to overcome the barrier between the old and new, better quality food.
How is it for you, fabCats, with the Catmass menu for the hungry kitty? Are you preparing something special, sticking to the usual canned food or maybe allowing for some minor kitty sins and sneaking things off the table? Leave us a comment with your propositions for a kitty Catmass menu - we’re curious what will your furries sit down to this Christmas Eve!