For humans, processed ham is popular and loved by many. It is not the healthiest choice of food but appreciated nonetheless for its taste. Because your cat is an obligate carnivore, you may be wondering if it is alright to feed it ham. This brings us to an interesting question, can cats eat ham? Is it safe for cats to eat ham? In this article, we will attempt to answer these and some other questions related to cats hams or bacon.
Can Cats Eat Bacon?
Can cats eat bacon and ham? It is not recommended to feed a cat bacon or ham in spite of their carnivorous nature. With human food, cats like most animals aren’t unable to tell which is safe for them and which isn’t. Which means it is your job as the pet owner to decide.
Bacon is cured and high in sodium. A thin slice of bacon may contain up to 137.4 milligrams of sodium which is nearly ten times above the recommended daily sodium consumption for felines. Go figure!
Cats barely tolerate sodium in the first place and the anything above the required amount can cause salt poisoning – a hazardous condition that could lead to the death of your furry companion.
Furthermore, bacon contains an unsettling amount of saturated fats for cats. It can lead to digestive issues and even more serious complications like obesity and heart disease. Be a good pet owner, ignore those pleading eyes; you’ll be doing a huge disservice to your cat by giving in to its begging and letting him have some of your bacon.
Is It Dangerous For My Cat To Eat Ham?
Another processed meat product, ham is popular around the holidays so it might seem like a good idea to have your cat share in it. So, can cats eat ham? Ham is not so different from bacon and they both contain very high volumes of salt – 100 grams of ham can contain about 1,200 milligrams of sodium. For humans, such a high amount of salt is not healthy either, the reason a lot of health-conscious people avoid ham all together is due to its extremely high sodium levels.
For occasional treats, low sodium ham may be fine for your cat but it still contains too much salt for a cat eat on a consistent basis. This would do him no good aside encouraging him to come begging for food in the future – which is also a bad thing 🙂 it is best you avoid giving it altogether.
Can My Cat Eat Raw Ham Or Bacon?
Not recommended but maybe yes, if it is actually raw and not cured. Though your cat would appreciate the raw treat, it has inherent dangers as well and caution should be taken if you decide to feed your cat raw ham or bacon. Feed your cat only fresh meat and ensure kitchen equipment used as the knife, chopping board and bowls are all clean. It may also be wise to consult your vet before feeding your pet any raw meat at all.
Are There Health Benefits Cats Can Get From Ham?
A tasty treat no doubt, ham may offer some nutritional benefits to your cat. It is a good source of animal protein and cats can receive taurine consuming ham. Taurine is important because it is necessary for a strong heart and a solid digestive system. Ham also contains some essential nutrients like thiamin, riboflavin, zinc, selenium and vital nutrients essential for a cat’s wellbeing.
Now we have addressed the reasons why ham cannot be eaten by the cats on a regular basis. Let’s talk about the benefits of eating ham once in a while. Yes, that’s right. If your cat is healthy it can eat ham on an occasional basis instead of a regular basis. Below is a quick view of the reasons why ham eaten once in a while can benefit your cat –
- Source of natural animal protein
- Good for a treat occasionally
- Can be used as a reward to boost performance while training
- The flavor helps please your cat’s taste buds.
Despite the nutritional benefits of ham, the cons seem to outweigh its pros so it is only safe for cats in moderate amounts, served infrequently. If you wish to feed your cat something special, you could opt for premium cat food, a lot more nutritious and safer than ham.
How To Feed Cats Ham Safely?
Again, cats may eat ham but only occasionally as a treat. So how can it be safely prepared for your cat? You can slice the ham into small bits and pieces; just enough to nibble on. It should not be enough to provide a full meal for your cat and that way, it is easier to digest. So what if your cat begs for more? You simply say NO, Feeding you cat excessive ham can lead to a number of problems.
If your cat must be fed raw ham at all, be certain it is fresh and safe from germs. NEVER feed your cat old and rotten ham – if you can’t eat it, then it’s probably not safe for your cat as well. Ham should not be a consistent part of your cat’s diet.
There are several cat foods in the pet store that are ham-flavored. This is a good substitute for processed ham or bacon which is ideally intended for human consumption. If you really do not want your cat to miss out on the flavor (cats cannot taste anything sweet, so what’s the point?) you should go for it.
If you’re feeding your cat ham, have water nearby as its high sodium content will have your cat thirsty afterward.
Final Thoughts On Cats And Ham
Though a small piece of ham or bacon poses no major threat to your cat, it may be wise not to share this salty goodness with your cat in the first place. Salt is the major ingredient in the preservation of processed meat like bacon, ham and beef and cats are small animals that are better off without it. To further conclude whether or not cats can eat ham. For cats eating ham can be both harmful as well as beneficial for the cat depending on the frequency. For those special days, when you want to reward your cat or want to celebrate a special day, a lean cut of ham would prove just right for the occasion. Everything should be taken in moderation and anything in excess is definitely bad.