Can Cats Eat Ham Or Is It Toxic?

Russell Cargill

can cats eat ham

Ham is one of the many staple foods we eat, and while most of us think cats can eat ham. But it is not quite that simple for our furry friends.

In some cases, high-calorie meat can be harmful to some cats, depending on how it’s prepared.

So can cats eat ham? Read on to find out why it’s not a great idea to feed cats ham. 

Can Cats Eat Ham?

Ham isn’t toxic for cats and is safe for them to eat on occasion. Although ham is high in protein, it contains high amounts of salt and fat. Because of this cats shouldn’t consume large amounts of ham.  

Ham can be a great way to entice your cat into taking medication or eating their food, but it isn’t part of a balanced diet. 

If you’re feeding your cat ham as an occasional treat, they’re unlikely to have any bad reactions. Feeding human foods like pork, especially cold cuts and other meats with high sodium levels should never replace a healthy cat food diet.

Meat like ham can be cooked with additional spices and ingredients, which may cause an upset stomach if given in large quantities. Therefore, when providing ham as a special treat, stick to small portions to avoid any abdominal pain. 

Never serve your cat spoiled meat and make sure that the quality is high to avoid any parasitic worms within the meat. 

Low-quality meat can cause your cat to get infectious diseases like trichinosis. This can lead to severe health issues in your feline and worsen any pre-existing health issues they may have. 

Why Do Cats Like Ham?

Cats are obligate carnivores and require a diet made up mostly of raw meat and animal proteins. Many cat owners have switched to a raw food diet as they mimic wild cats prey.

Whether prepared for human consumption or made into cat treats, the smells of natural animal protein are enticing to cats. Ham also mimics the texture of other wet food cats are generally drawn to for their more pungent smell and soft texture.

Although your cat will be tempted to beg for your ham products, it’s vital not to give them ham as a meal replacement for their dry food. 

When To Avoid Feeding Ham To Cats

You should avoid feeding your cat ham if they have chronic gastrointestinal issues or pancreatitis. Pork products can worsen these symptoms and lead to additional problems such as: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Reduction of appetite

If you start to see these signs in your feline friend, stop feeding them any cooked or raw pork products immediately. If the symptoms don’t resolve on their own relatively quickly, it may be a sign of food poisoning, in which case your cat should see a veterinarian right away. 

It’s unsafe to feed overweight cats pork, instead feed them cat food specifically formulated to help them lose weight. Pork is high in protein and fat and has higher sodium levels than most meat protein, it can also cause additional weight gain. 

One slice of deli meat has about 50 calories which is 20% of your cat’s daily intake. If you’re giving this tasty treat in higher quantities, your cat is going to be eating too many calories per day. 

This will lead to obesity and excessively high levels of sodium. Consuming high sodium content can cause additional problems like heart disease and high blood pressure. Cat owners with elderly pets should avoid ham products due to the increased risk of health problems. 

Many human foods are safe for cats to eat but, if you’re giving ham scraps to your cat, be cognoscente of what the ham was cooked with. Several human foods are highly toxic to cats, like onions and garlic. 

If your pork was cooked with one of these ingredients, your cat is likely to experience digestive upset or food poisoning as a result. 

Therefore, it’s always safer to give your cat food that’s been purchased at a pet store. This is the only way for you to confirm that it’s free of any potentially harmful ingredients. 

Are Cat Ham Treats Good For Your Cat?

Ham should always be fed in small quantities but, pork can be used as an alternative to chicken, beef, or lamb treats but isn’t the most nutritious source of protein. 

Pet parents should give all pork products in moderate amounts to reduce the chances of salt poisoning and overeating. 

If you’re going to feed your cat ham, make sure they’re pet food rather than cold cuts prepared for human consumption. 

This will ensure the sodium levels are reduced and that there isn’t anything in the preparation that may cause illness to your feline. 

If ham treats are fed regularly, adjust the amounts of food you’re providing to your cat throughout the rest of the day to account for the extra caloric intake. 

Should Cats Eat Ham Bones?

Feeding real bone to your cat can be high risk with very few nutritional benefits. Domestic cats get the fiber they need from their pet food which removes the need for them to get additional fiber from the bones of their prey. 

Bones can be dangerous for domestic cats as they splinter quite easily, which can cause damage to the esophagus, stomach, and gastrointestinal tract. 

If large splinters get stuck, this may pose a problem that requires veterinary attention or even surgery. 

Most ham bones are particularly brittle compared to other common protein sources for cats like chicken or fish. This puts ham bones at a higher probability of splintering and causing damage. 

Cooked ham bones are especially problematic for cats as they’re much more likely to splinter into smaller pieces. 

So while bones can be a good source of protein, fiber, and enrichment, they simply aren’t worth the health risks they pose. For those looking to give a treat to their feline, it’s much safer to buy softer chews at the pet store that your cat can thoroughly break down. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Ham Is Bad for a Cat?

If you feed much more than one slice of ham to your cat as a treat, you’re surpassing their daily calorie intake. 

Can Cats Eat Bacon?

Cats shouldn’t eat bacon in any quantity due to its high fat, salt, and grease volume. Although bacon does provide your cat with animal protein, it isn’t high-quality, unprocessed protein. Bacon can cause salt poisoning, which can result in diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. 

Can Cats Eat Pork?

Cats can eat pork in small portions as long as you remove the bones and cook it thoroughly. Any undercooked meat can carry harmful pathogens causing foodborne illness and bones can cause tearing in the esophagus and stomach. 

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