What NOT to Eat for the Holidays

Sick CatAs Thanksgiving draws near, the thought of stuffing ourselves silly with heavenly roasted, lightly steamed, colorful, savory and sweet-smelling foods typically comes to mind – or did – until our cat had an explosive reaction to turkey.


Yesterday, I opened a fresh can of cat food and fed our cats in separate rooms, as usual. When Tim opened the door to clear Jackson’s plate, Jackson hadn’t eaten. Food refusal is absolutely out of character, so I thought he might be sick. Not so. I switched out his turkey with chicken and, obviously hungry, he ate at his usual breakneck pace.

What was up with the turkey? We checked on Jed. He had licked his plate clean. Hmmm.


Several hours after breakfast, lunch was served – all across the dining room floor. Jed was obviously not feeling well and he was the one who ate what the other refused. By dinnertime, Jed worsened. When I served both cats from a completely fresh can, Jed walked right past his food and into the closet where he laid his little head down and closed his eyes.


Jed's Insides

This image is the result of the pool of spew I hopped over on the way to an emergency visit at Nassau Vet. This pile, which I scooped into a Zip-lock on my way out the door, contained some interesting foreign objects including two 1-inch squares of Styrofoam pipe insulation and the severed foot of a favorite cat toy.


After making Jed swallow something akin to Barrium,  strongly suspecting the need for surgical foreign object extraction, conducting a billion dollar intestinal photo-shoot that went straight on ’til dawn, we are finally in the clear. Thankfully, it all came out okay – quite literally.

What isn’t clear is whether Jed ate bad food and then foreign objects to make himself regurge, or if he ate the foreign objects first which then hindered digestion. (Jed, sadly, has a long history of eating small, inanimate objects.) Because Jackson didn’t like the food, I first thought the former. The brand, which I have always had faith in, kindly took a full report, offered an immediate exchange for piece of mind, and said there were no other reported instances on file. That, of course, made me think Jed might have experienced the latter.


Since this event is likely the most memorable portion of this year’s Thanksgiving experience, we’re hoping that Jed doesn’t dine next on led pipe braised in anti-freeze. We’ve already dismembered the feet, ears and tails from his collection of stuffed toys and removed the last of the Styrofoam pipe insulation. Still, he’ll probably find something we’ve overlooked – or create it. Like Jed’s vet, the wonderful Dr. Sanford, said, “The biggest danger to Jed is Jed himself.”

And then Jed rolled down the hall, still in his carrier, as all the hospital staff came to laugh at what they swore (some with more than 22 years experience) they’ve never seen a cat do before.


In an effort to stay ahead of the game, we’re strategizing now on how to safely decorate the cats’ first Christmas tree. Visions of sugar plums aren’t dancing in my head. Rather, I’m envisioning diagrams, pullies, counterweights, heavy bolts and large, indigestible baubles.

Cheers to hoping our “star” cats don’t become tree toppers …


  1. Oh my! What fiendish little kitties you have. Christmas is definitely going to be entertaining to say the least. I'm glad Jed come out on the other side obstruction free with no ill side-effects. I would follow this up by saying "I also hope he learned his lesson" but from my observations, cats very rarely learn any sort of lesson especially if it teaches them something life saving.

    • Ashley, you are so right. Lessons we wish they'd learn just float right past. I caught Jed munching on a wicker basket after the trauma. What is he thinking? (And how much stuff do I have to get rid of before he has nothing left to eat?)

  2. The eating of foreign objects as he is doing is called pica.

    Just in case you don't know this – the water at the base f a Christmas tree is very toxic to cats. Just sayin' !!

    • Thanks for the tip about digestive enzymes on Facebook, Bethanne. That's our next layer of defense. And yes, I did know that about tree water, but it never hurts to share that information with everybody here. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. Yikes, I've never heard of cats eating random objects like this. That's interesting. And awful. I'm so glad he is going to be okay. Jed is clearly a unique cat. Good luck with that Christmas tree!

    • Unique – the perfect word. That he is!

      Tim often asks of Jed's various behaviors, "He's going to grow out of this at some point, right?"

      I'm like, "Uh, I really don't know. I've never known a cat like him!"

  4. Wow… scary stuff. Glad that Jed is doing okay. Hope that the rest of your Thanksgiving is uneventful!

    • Thank you! We enjoyed the rest without a hitch … and we still are. Both cats are piled on my legs as I type, each overlapping the other and purring softly. Heaven … for now.

      Hope you had a marvelous holiday.

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