I have a real dilemma here. Every year around this time my family cooks up a storm. Among other things, they roast a huge bird carcass. I mean huge! They call it a turkey or something. Anyhow, every year I see this beautiful, glistening bird… and I never get any! Nor do I get any of the other good stuff my humans cook up. They just dump the usual Friskies in my bowl like any other day. Okay, so I’ve missed the first turkey of the year, but I know another one’s coming at the end of this month—how do I get a piece of it?
Wait a minute—did I hear you say that your humans feed you Friskies? You mean, the cheap, dry stuff from the supermarket? And then they don’t give you any turkey? That’s practically cruelty! Really, you should report them to the ASPCA. I feel bad for you.
Yes, you certainly deserve some turkey during human holiday time, but you also need to keep a few things in mind. Humans eat a lot of food that’s actually toxic to cats—onions for example. If they stick onions in the pan while roasting the turkey (not something I’d personally recommend, by the way), then you should avoid it. Or if they load it up with garlic. We cats don’t take too well to large amounts of garlic, either. Other foods you should avoid include coffee, chocolate, alcohol, yeast dough, grapes, raisins, mushrooms, peppers and large amounts of salt. Keep an eye in the kitchen while the cooking is going on, and don’t even think of begging for any dishes that include these items.
Now back to the turkey. If it’s non-toxic, you certainly should get some. In my household we get some of the giblets—they come in a bag inside the turkey. It’s sort of the equivalent to the organ meat of the normal size birds you may catch on your neighborhood rounds, if you’re an outdoor cat. It’s good stuff. We don’t get all of it, however—my human saves the best parts and cuts them up to put in the stuffing (this really burns me, by this way). Obviously, your humans aren’t considerate enough to even toss you a few giblet chunks, so you may have to take matters into your own paws. Success in an endeavor like this comes down to timing, so pay attention to my instructions. Don’t go after the turkey when it first comes out of the oven. I know it smells incredible and looks inviting, but there are a lot of good reasons to wait. First of all, it’s really hot and you could burn yourself. Plus, it’s not carved yet, so it’ll be more difficult to grab any meat—you can’t tear off pieces with the speed you’ll need. And, as you’re no doubt aware, you’ll get in trouble. You’ll get in trouble regardless, of course, but you’ll get in the worst trouble if you try to tackle the turkey before the humans have had a chance to have any of it. Wait until they’ve carved the turkey and served it. Then give your humans one last chance to redeem themselves by wandering around the table and begging. If you know how to sit up, you might try that—humans think this is really special. If none of this works, and you are still turkeyless, then wait until everyone has finished eating. There will usually be quite a bit of turkey left over. Once the humans have left the table, keep one eye on the turkey. The trick is, you’ll be the only one paying attention to the turkey—the humans are stuffed and probably don’t even want to look at it anymore. As soon as you notice that their attention has drifted away, or better yet, if they’ve left the vicinity of the turkey altogether, go! Leap up, grab the biggest hunk of turkey you can sink your teeth into and make a run for it! Now hide somewhere where no one can get you, and if anyone even tries, growl at them. That should put them off. Once you are done, you can come out again. Prove that you can let bygones be bygones by flopping on the ground and rolling playfully on your back. If you’re lucky, they’ll think it’s cute and forgive you right away.
One last note—avoid the bones when you make your mad dash. Cooked turkey bones aren’t pliable like the bones of freshly killed birds. Cooked bones are loaded with splinters and they’re dangerous. Eat ’em and you may wind up at the emergency clinic. It’s best to go for hunks of meat that have been sliced or have fallen off the bone. Good luck and happy turkey hunting!