Thanksgiving Leftovers and Your Cats
Have you ever wondered what to do with all those dark meat turkey leftovers that no one seems to want? The perfect solution is using it to make healthy treats for your cats using some very easy treat recipe.
Recipe for Thanksgiving Turkey Nibblers
You can create these treats with a dehydrator or a regular conventional oven. If you use an oven, it's critical to watch the meat during the drying process to make sure you don't burn it.
- Preheat your oven to 300° degrees.
- Take your leftover dark meat turkey and cut it into thin slices between ½ and 1 inch thickness.
- Cut off any skin or fat that may be remaining on the meat and scrape off any spices.
- If you're using a dehydrator, place the strips in the unit and follow the dehydrator's guidelines for the time needed to dry meat.
- If you're using an oven, spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- Put your turkey strips on the baking sheet one by one so none are resting on top of each other and there's a bit of space between each on the sheet for air flow.
- Cook them in the oven for about three hours although your cooking time may vary based on your oven and the amount of meat you're cooking.
- While the meat is cooking, be sure to check it often for signs of charring or burning. You are looking to dry the meat so expect it to shrink as it dries.
- At the 2-½ hour mark, check the turkey's progress. You may want to keep it in for another ½ hour to make sure it's dry and cooked enough. When it's done, turn off the over but leave the turkey on the cookie sheet inside.
- Keep the turkey strips in the oven between six to eight hours and remove them when they are totally dry and no longer warm to the touch.
- The strips will need to be stored in an air-tight container to keep them fresh. If you've made a large batch, you can freeze some of them for better storage and thaw as needed.
You can make a delicious turkey loaf for your cat using leftovers from your Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe works well with white or dark meat and makes use of sweet potatoes and carrots from your family meal as well. It's great for freezing and thawing out as needed to supplement your cat's meals.
Turkey and Sweet Potato Treats
- Take some leftover white or dark meat turkey and cut it up into small pieces weighing about 14 to 16 ounces total.
- Place the turkey into a food processor along with 1-½ cups each of leftover mashed sweet potatoes and oatmeal flakes (the old-fashioned type).
- Pulse the ingredients together til it's mixed. The final mix can be lumpy.
- You can also add in one to two tablespoons of chopped catnip or parsley to the mixture.
- Take your mixture from the food processor and place in the molds with a spoon or by hand (be sure to wear gloves if you use your hands!).
- Place the molds in your freezer. It should take between two and three hours for them to fully set.
- Pop them out of the molds and keep the extra treats in an air-tight container in your freezer and thaw as needed.
Pumpkin Kitty Smoothies
If you happen to cook some pumpkin pie, you can save some of the puree to make a delicious smoothie for your cat. This recipe requires that you plain pumpkin with no spices added. It can be from a can or fresh but be sure not to use pumpkin pie mix puree which contains spices that are not good for your cat. To make it:
- Mix half of an eight ounce can of pumpkin in a blender with a half cup of plain non-fat yogurt.
- Blend until smooth.
Alternatively, you can use cat-friendly milk instead of yogurt.
Making Thanksgiving Cat Treats
If you enjoy cooking, you can involve your cat in Thanksgiving and make good use of leftovers at the same time! These tasty recipes make wonderful treats you can give to your own pets, as well as pass along to your friends for their kitties. You can use these recipes for holiday gift giving, kitty birthday presents or anytime you want to make a goodwill gesture. Happy Thanksgiving!