Can Cats Eat Ham Or Is It Bad For Them?

Unlike people, cats can’t meet their nutritional requirements just from fruits, vegetables, and legumes. As obligate carnivores, they thrive mainly on nutrients found in meat.

That’s why high-quality cat food offers real meat, whereas cheap foods offer only fillers and meat by-products.

Similar to humans, cats can eat various types of meat – fish, poultry, livestock and so forth. Because of this, cat owners often wonder if it’s okay to feed their furballs with table scraps as long as the treats have real meat in them.

If you’re anything like me, you love spoiling your feline pal. And one of the most appealing treats to cats apart from tuna and salmon is deli meat, such as ham.

But is ham safe for cats to eat?

Can cats eat ham?

Yes. Fortunately, ham isn’t toxic to cats and you can treat your kitty to a slice every now and then.  Ham is quite high in iron and protein, two important nutrients for your furry friend.

If you choose to feed your cat ham, choose leaner deli cuts that are lower in fat than whole cuts.

When is ham not safe for cats to eat?

First and foremost, ham, regardless of its shape, size or brand, should be given to cats only as a treat and not on a regular basis. Secondly, you should try sticking to lean deli cuts. And even then you shouldn’t neglect the labels.

Ham is processed with a bunch of various chemicals. For cats, the most dangerous is the salt content, which is also added for preserving and seasoning.

You may be used to the way processed ham tastes, but the sodium levels in deli cuts, as well as in whole cuts, are far too high for cats. That’s why they shouldn’t eat it as part of their regular diet or snack on it too often.

Moreover, store-bought non-raw ham comes with a bunch of seasoning. Whether it’s the classic honey-mustard glaze or something else, cats shouldn’t eat it.

What’s more, raw ham isn’t safe for them either. Feeding your pet with a raw diet is sometimes a good choice. However, there’s always the chance of a bacteria presence like salmonella, which can be fatal

Here’s a quick list of reasons you shouldn’t feed your cat ham very often.

  • Extremely high sodium levels
  • High fat levels
  • Potentially toxic seasoning
  • Potentially spoils the cat’s appetite and behavior

Is ham good for cats?

Kitties of all breeds and ages can eat ham as a treat once in a while. The sodium levels in processed ham won’t pose a threat to your precious furball if it’s healthy and if it’s not eating ham often.

That being said, let’s review some of the reasons why ham can be good for your fluffy friend.

  • It provides natural animal protein
  • Serves as a nice occasional treat
  • Can offer a boost to the standard reward system for training purposes
  • It will please your kitty’s taste buds

As you can see, there are some advantages to giving ham to your cat. Just remember… moderation.

When can you give ham to your cat?

Cooked ham is safer than raw meat in terms of the lack of lethal bacteria like salmonella. Opting for buying raw ham that you cook yourself is also safe because you have full control over what type of seasoning goes into the meat.

Another safe choice is getting lean deli cuts instead of whole meat cuts because they’re slightly lower in sodium and significantly lower in fat.

If your pet is healthy and takes enough moisture from canned foods and fresh water supplies, you can safely treat it to a slice of ham. Just make sure it doesn’t have any glazing or toxic herbs before giving it to your cat.

So, to sum it up – yes, ham is safe for cats in moderate amounts and on a non-frequent basis.

However, if you truly wish to treat your kitty with something special, opt for a can of premium quality cat food. It’s just as tasty but much more nutritious.

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Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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