For many Americans, ham is synonymous with the holidays, while for others, cured pork is a year-round mainstay.
You might assume that cats who eat meat can also enjoy ham, but this is not always the case; in fact, some preparations of ham can be harmful to cats.
Can Cats Eat Ham Safely?
While cats can safely eat ham, it is not a particularly healthy choice for them. According to the Association of American Feline Practitioners, felines are biologically programmed to seek out and consume meat as their primary source of nutrition. which might include ham and other pork products.
“A small piece or two of ham is not likely to be problematic in a healthy cat,” says Renee Schmid, DVM, DABVT, DABT, a veterinarian toxicologist who works with Pet Poison Helpline.
Schmid claims that offering a piece of ham to a reluctant cat is one way to coax it into taking its medication. However, ham isn’t part of a healthy cat’s diet.
It’s probably not good for a cat’s stomach because it’s loaded with fat and salt and may have been cooked with spices that cats are allergic to. Some seasonings, like onions, garlic, and others, can be fatal to cats.
Is ham good for cats?
Ham is safe for cats of all ages and breeds to enjoy on occasion. If your beloved pet is in good health and you limit the amount of processed ham they eat, the sodium content of the meat shouldn’t be a problem.
Your pet will benefit greatly from the iron and protein found in ham.
Vitamins and minerals essential to your cat’s health can be found in abundance in ham.
- Your cat’s teeth, bones, liver, and kidneys will all benefit from phosphorous.
- Thiamine (vitamin B6) helps the central nervous system, heart, and brain function normally.
- zinc – promotes a healthy, glossy coat
Taurine, an essential amino acid for your cat’s growth, heart health, eyesight, and metabolism, is found in ham.
What kind of ham can you give your cat?
Ham that has been cooked eliminates the risk of food poisoning from salmonella and other harmful bacteria. Buying raw ham and cooking it at home is also a safe option because you can regulate the amount of seasoning used.
Lean deli cuts, as opposed to whole meat cuts, are another safe option because they contain less sodium and fat.
It’s safe to give your pet a piece of ham if they’re in good health, eating a balanced diet, and drinking plenty of fresh water and canned food. Before feeding the ham to your cat, double-check that it does not contain any glazing or poisonous herbs.
When is ham not safe for cats to eat?
Chemicals of various kinds are used in the ham processing. The salt content, which is also added for preservation and seasoning, is the most concerning for feline health.
Although you may have grown accustomed to the flavor of processed ham, the sodium content of deli cuts and whole cuts is far too high to be safe for cats.
Excessive consumption is associated with hypertension and damage to the kidneys. As a result, they shouldn’t make it a staple of their diet or a frequent snack.
Store-bought ham that isn’t raw is also seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices. You shouldn’t feed this to your cat because it can make them sick.
When cats eat too much garlic or onion, they can develop toxicity, which can cause their red blood cells to be damaged, as stated by Dr. Burch. Lack of oxygen in the bloodstream caused by red blood cell destruction is potentially lethal.
If you’re wondering why you shouldn’t feed your cat ham, here are a few reasons.
- Sodium levels are extremely high
- High levels of fat
- Possible carcinogen in seasoning
- Could affect the cat’s eating and behavior negatively.
How Much Ham Is Bad for a Cat?
Cats shouldn’t get more than 10 percent of their daily caloric intake from sources other than their regular, balanced diet, according to most veterinarians.
Not much, to put it mildly. Based on calculations made by Banfield Pet Hospital, a single slice of deli ham contains the same number of calories as 20% of a normal cat’s daily food intake.
Schmid warns that excess can have negative consequences: Larger quantities, especially when consumed repeatedly every day, may increase the risk of gastrointestinal distress and pancreatitis. ”
If your cat sneaks some ham from the holiday table without your knowledge or consent, keep an eye out for these symptoms and take him to the vet if he doesn’t start feeling better soon.
- lack of hunger or appetite.
- Hiding (which, according to Schmid, is a common symptom of feline illness)
- Pain in the belly
Schmid warns pet owners of senior cats to avoid feeding them ham because of the health risks associated with its high salt content.
What About Ham Bones?
According to Schmid, cat owners should stay away from giving their feline friends bones because they pose a choking risk. House cats don’t need to eat bones like wild cats do because there are other, less dangerous ways to provide them with the nutrients they need.
A splinter from a real bone, she says, can hurt a cat’s esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
Ham bones tend to be more brittle and break more easily than other types of bones, such as chicken bones. Ham bones that have been cooked pose a greater risk. ”
What about raw ham?
Your cat shouldn’t be fed raw ham. Dr. Burch warns that feeding a raw diet to your cat and other household members can lead to nutritional deficiencies and food poisoning.
Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and Toxoplasma are some of the foodborne illnesses that can be contracted from eating raw pork.
Can Cats Eat Bacon?
Despite its popularity as a human snack food, cats should not be fed bacon due to the high levels of fat, grease, and salt it contains.
The Poison Helpline states that pets may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms from salt poisoning.
There are potential health risks associated with giving your cat more than a small amount of bacon.
Can Cats Eat Pork?
The pork used to make both ham and bacon is the same used in both. Ham and bacon are specific cuts of pork, while pork as a whole refers to the animal itself.
Bacon comes from the belly while ham is typically sourced from the loin. Pork refers to any type of meat that originates from pigs.
The topic of giving your cat raw meat has been discussed online numerous times. However, there is good reason for the ASPCA to include raw meat on its list of toxic foods.
Salmonella and E. coli are two bacteria that can be found in raw pork and cause illness. Parasitic worms found in raw pork can cause trichinosis and other gastrointestinal illnesses.
Health Benefits of Ham, Pork, and Bacon
The healthiest form of pork for humans is lean pork, say the experts. The protein-making components known as amino acids can be found in pork.
Amino acids, found in high concentrations in meat and poultry, are crucial for the development of muscle and the maintenance of a steady state of mind.
Thiamine, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and iron are just some of the vitamins and minerals that can be found in pork.
Thiamine, also known as vitamin B6, is essential for healthy brain, heart, and nervous system function.
Ham has been linked to strong bones and teeth in addition to its role in muscle development. Phosphorus, which is present in ham, plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones and also helps the liver, kidneys, and brain function.
Creatine, taurine, and glutathione are just a few examples of bioactive meat compounds found in pork that contribute to healthy muscle growth and function. It should come as no surprise that pork is the most popular meat consumed worldwide.
Your Healthy Cat Might Enjoy These Foods
Do cats need to avoid all human food? No. However, if you feed your cat a diet that has been approved by his veterinarian, he should get everything he needs.
Here are some human foods that are generally safe for a healthy cat to eat in moderation, in case you and your feline friend ever decide to share a snack.
- Avoiding Xylitol in Peanut Butter
- Fry’d Eggs
- Baked loaves
Offer your cat only a small sample of a new food or treat the first time you give it to her to make sure she likes it before giving her a full serving.
If you have specific questions about your pet’s diet, be sure to consult your vet.
Steer Your Cats Away From These Harmful Human Foods
Keep these potentially poisonous human foods out of your cat’s reach. Whether you give them to your cat on purpose or Mittens sneaks some when you’re not looking, these snacks are harmful.
- Fruits with citric acid
- Flesh of the coconut or its liquid
- To eat grapes or raisin
- Consuming uncooked food like eggs, fish, or meat
- Raw salt
- Products that are sweetened with xylitol.
- Garlic and onions