GI Upsets From Holiday Food

Veterinarians to Cats in Roanoke, VA, Helps With Stomach Troubles

GI upsets from holiday food can put a damper on festivities. For cat parents in the Roanoke, VA, region, Veterinarians to Cats reminds us to be vigilant. Why does holiday food create more problems for felines? This month, we look at some of the problems related to holiday food that veterinarians may encounter when treating patients.

Special Concerns for a Cat’s Digestive System

Just about anyone with a cat soon learns the sensitivity of their digestive system. It may not surprise you to learn that “dietary indiscretion,” or an improper diet, is a common cause for disorders. Whether the cat ate some leftovers or nibbled on an unusual plant, signs of vomiting and diarrhea soon follow.

This issue alone is why this time of year can present such a problem for GI issues from holiday food. So, let’s take a look first at some of the foods that many of us have during the holidays. While we might enjoy these, they can cause stomach trouble for cats.

Holiday Food That Can Cause GI Upsets in Cats

According to, pay special attention around these types of foods that we commonly prepare for holiday consumption:

Seasoned Turkey Meat and Skin
Plain turkey itself is generally safe for most cats. However, scraps from turkey highly seasoned with heavy amounts of salt, pepper, and herbs can be unsafe. Consuming fatty turkey skin, even as a scrap, can lead to pancreatitis. Small bones can cause obstruction and be a choking hazard.


Common ingredients in stuffing, both homemade and from convenient boxes, include onion, scallions, or garlic. These members of the Allium family are toxic to cats. Allium poisoning can bring on anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Stuffing that includes raisins can be toxic, as well. Put a stop to the stuffing.

Cranberry Sauce

Added sugar and corn syrup from most prepared cranberry sauce may lead to dental problems, obesity, and diabetes. Much like humans, cats require diligence with sweet stuff.

Problem Holiday Food Combinations for Cats

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Much like turkey, plain potatoes are tummy-safe for cats. Mashing them generally includes heavy amounts of added butter, milk, cream, or cheese. Cats who are lactose intolerant can experience GI issues. As with stuffing, gravy containing onions, garlic, and spices can add to GI upsets.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Plain sweet potatoes might be a treat for cats. However, combining them in a casserole with added sugar, milk, marshmallows, and nuts? These can lead to digestive trouble and blockages in cats.

Green Bean Casserole

Plain beans can be fine for cats, but mixing them with dairy or allium-rich ingredients, like French onions, is not. Beware the added casserole items around your kitty.

Candied Yams

As with sweet potato casserole, the added sugar, butterfat, and more are no-nos for your cat’s digestive tract.

Corn on the Cob

Treating your cat to a plain corn kernel might not cause GI problems. Unfortunately, added ingredients, such as butter and seasonings, can bring stomach troubles.

Tasty Holiday Treats Unfriendly to Your Cat

Macaroni and Cheese

Dairy items in most mac and cheese — butter, cheese, milk, or cream — can bring on gas, diarrhea, and pain. Save your cat’s tummy by keeping them safe from these leftovers.

Pumpkin Pie

Oh, beware the simple pumpkin pie when your cat is around. You might already guess that the added dairy, sugar, and more can bring on GI distress. And the pumpkin spice that many of us love, nutmeg, is highly toxic for cats. No sharing this good stuff as a treat, either.

Eggnog (With and Without Alcohol)

The smallest amount of alcoholic drinks can be dangerous to cats. As above, cream, nutmeg, and the raw egg ingredients are intolerable to the feline GI tract. Keep kitty away from these potential hazards.

Beyond Food, Looking at Other Temptations for Cats

In addition to food, there are other hazards of the holidays that are temptations for cats. These do not escape the notice of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who warn us about:

  • Stocking Stuffers and Pet Treats
  • Tinsel and Ribbons
  • Salt-Dough Ornaments
  • Holiday Plants (Poinsettias, Mistletoe, Berries)
  • Table Scraps
  • Alcohol
  • Food and Snack Bags

What might look appealing and fun for our furry friends could prove harmful. We must be cautious with cats who like to explore, climb, and find some unusual things. Knowing how inquisitive cats can be, it may be safer to keep some holiday items in a secure room.

Limiting Access to Cat Dangers During the Holidays

As diligent as many cat owners may be, we sometimes forget about those we invite into our homes. Try to limit access to anything that might cause GI upsets. Sometimes, well-meaning guests may be unaware of your cat’s stomach sensitivity. Watch when guests arrive and give them warnings on cat safety, as well.

If your cat does experience GI upsets or other issues, remember that Veterinarians to Cats provides feline vet care. We can also offer boarding and other needed services to help you enjoy the holidays. Call today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Play It Safer This Holiday with Special Treats for Your Cat

To wrap it up, it can be best and safer to skip sharing any table scraps with your cat. We can let them know that they are special in other ways by giving them treats and toys that they will enjoy. Catnip toys are always a fun way to keep kitties active and happy.

Being diligent with your cat can help to avoid GI upsets from holiday food. It will also help avoid an unexpected, added expense of a veterinarian bill as part of the festivities. Veterinarians to Cats is thankful to be of service to our clients all year. We wish you and your cats the happiest holiday season.

Are you looking for a new veterinarian for your cats? Call Veterinarians to Cats in Roanoke, VA, at (540) 989-1400, or follow us on Facebook for updates. Our cat veterinarians can treat GI upsets from holiday food.