Can Cats Eat Pepperoni? 8 Health Risks To Consider

It’s possible that you set out some leftover pizza as a snack, only to be called away on the phone. You return home to find your cat munching on a pepperoni pizza.

Do you need to be concerned? Is pepperoni safe for cats to eat? Let’s investigate whether salami is safe for your cat to eat occasionally or if it’s something you need to keep out of your inquisitive feline’s reach completely.

So, shall we?

Is Pepperoni Poisonous for My Cat?

Pepperoni, whether on a pizza or in a packet, appears to be something that would pique a cat’s interest. There’s a lot of flavor in the tender meat, but no one seems to know where it comes from.

While pepperoni may appear appetizing to your cat, it actually contains ingredients that are harmful to them. Cats shouldn’t eat pepperoni because it has artificial ingredients like preservatives and dyes.

It’s true that some of them could make your cat ill. One by one, we’ll investigate these constituents.

So, while giving your cat a small amount of pepperoni won’t kill them, it’s also not a good idea.

pepperoni on a pizza

Interesting Facts About Pepperoni

Dried salami made from pork or beef is known as pepperoni. It is estimated that half of all pizzas ordered in the United States feature pepperoni, making it one of the most frequently requested toppings.

The Italian word “peperone,” for bell pepper, is the source of the English word “pepperoni.” If you go to Italy and ask for a pepperoni pizza, you will probably get bell pepper instead of pepperoni sausage.

What Does Pepperoni Contain?

The proportions of these ingredients and the types of seasonings used by different manufacturers can vary widely among pepperoni brands. Let’s examine the common components of various brands.

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We humans enjoy pepperoni in large part because of its salt content. While an excess of salt is bad for us, the amount of sodium in pepperoni is far in excess of what your cat needs on a daily basis.

The average sodium content of pepperoni is 35.2 milligrams per 2 gram serving. There are nearly 700 milligrams of sodium in one serving of pepperoni pizza.

Let’s see how much sodium your cat needs daily and how much is in a single slice of pepperoni.

The maximum daily sodium intake for an adult cat is 21 milligrams. Yes, one seemingly innocuous slice of salami contains more than half of the sodium your cat needs in an entire day. Yikes!

But if your pepperoni is coming on a delivered pizza rather than from a packet with the ingredients listed, you have no way of knowing what it actually consists of. In fact, cats shouldn’t eat too much salt because it can kill them.

According to the Pet Poison Hotline, it can cause moderate to severe toxicity. Some of the more typical signs of salt poisoning are:

  • Reduced hunger
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constant need to urinate and/or drink
  • Tremors
  • Incoordination

The worst case scenario involves falling into a coma and dying. Call the Pet Poison Helpline or your vet immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat after feeding them more pepperoni than they should have.

We already knew that pepperoni was bad for our cats because of the salt content, but we recently learned that it also contains other substances that can be harmful to them.

Can Cats Eat Pepperoni


Pepperonis are cured meat, so they typically contain a preservative called nitrates to prolong their freshness and prevent the growth of bacteria. Nitrates, if ingested in sufficient quantities, can also be toxic to cats.

Here’s yet another argument against feeding your cat pepperoni pizza.

While it may not be wise to feed your cat table scraps, we have a solution that will make you and your feline friend happy.

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Flavorings and Spices

Finally, the seasonings and spices used to give pepperoni its signature spicy kick aren’t great for your cat.

Garlic, black pepper, and powdered pepper are common ingredients in pepperoni. The robust taste of these treats will likely discourage your cat from overindulging.

Garlic is the most dangerous flavoring option because it can cause anemia in cats. Cats shouldn’t eat garlic because it’s toxic and can cause anemia and stomach problems. Some warning signs are:

  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale gums
  • Lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Raised pulse rate

Although it may take a few days for these symptoms to appear, you should contact your vet immediately if your cat exhibits any of these signs and you recently fed it garlic.

What About Pepperoni is Harmful to Cats?

Dozens of companies produce pepperoni, and they all use slightly different ingredients in their secret sauce.

Some brands may be more likely to sell foods that are harmful to your cats. What they share in common, however, are characteristics that pose serious risks to cats.

1. Sodium

Pepperoni is an extremely salty meat. Pepperoni contains more than 24 milligrams of sodium per just 2 grams.

Salt levels in cats should not exceed 45 milligrams daily. Call your vet to make sure you don’t need to bring your cat in if it ate a lot of pepperonis by accident.

2. Nitrates

Nitrates, a common ingredient in pepperoni recipes, inhibit the growth of bacteria. When consumed in large quantities, these nitrates can be fatal for cats.

sick cat

3. Spices

You should also consider the various spices that go into making pepperoni. It’s possible that the peppers and garlic in these meats will give you a stomachache. The following symptoms indicate that your cat needs to be taken to the vet immediately:

  • Slobbering
  • Vomiting
  • The bowels are loose
  • Pale gums
  • Low pulse

What Proteins Are Safe for Cats to Eat?

There are many other protein options that are fine for cats to eat besides pepperoni. Cats’ natural diet is primarily meat, so they consume a lot of protein. Which of these meats is kitty-friendly?

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Luncheon meats
  • Fish
  • Eggs
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All of these items have plenty of protein and are good for cats. Meat that could potentially make your cat sick should be cooked thoroughly.

cat eating raw chicken

What if My Cat Likes Pepperoni?

It is your responsibility as a cat owner to regulate your cats’ diet and calorie intake.

We get that some cats can be picky eaters, but think about how heartbroken you’d be if something bad happened to them after you gave them pepperoni.

Occasionally feeding your cat a small amount of pepperoni is harmless. But it’s not something you need to eat to stay healthy, and it might even make things worse. Don’t give them pepperoni or salami if they beg, no matter how desperate they seem.

Are There Any Benefits of Pepperoni for Cats?

Pepperoni is high in protein, which is the only real benefit it would provide to a cat.

A high-protein diet, as you know, is essential for a cat’s well-being. While pepperoni might help fill a protein gap in some situations, there are safer ways to do so.

In the unlikely event that you find yourself feeding your cat pepperoni, opt for natural pepperonis with minimal seasoning to avoid giving your cat a stomachache or exposing them to harmful chemicals.

Foods to Avoid Giving to Cats

Many human foods can be consumed in moderation by cats, but there are a few that should be completely avoided. These foods are extremely poisonous and risky to eat. Get in touch with a vet ASAP if your cat ingests any.

british short hair cat eating
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Nuts, macadamia
  • Alcohol
  • Bread flour
  • Xylitol

Final Thoughts

The pleading eyes of your cat can make it difficult to say no. You just want to satisfy their every need.

Sometimes, you have to make the tough call and refuse to feed them something you know will be bad for them.

Even though there are many other foods available, pepperonis are not a healthy option for your cats.

If you want to give your cat a special treat, try not to give it pepperoni but rather some freshly cooked turkey or salmon.

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