Protein is one of the essential ingredients cats need in their diet. Whether it’s chicken or fish, our furry carnivores cannot survive without consuming enough amounts of meat. You may have wondered, are all meat-based products safe for your cat to eat?
In short, cats can eat some types of ham in small amounts without it causing any dangerous side effects. Low-quality canned ham or cold cuts have many sodium and preservatives that are dangerous for cats to consume. Other options of meat are healthier for cats.
Even though ham has a lot of protein, a nutrient highly demanded by cats, some types of hams can seriously affect your cat’s health. It’s essential to understand the ingredients of the different kinds of hams before feeding them to your cat.
Does Ham Have Any Health Benefits For Cats?
Ham is a cut of pork from the pig’s rear leg, cured through smoking or curing and conserved by salting. Sliced ham is a well-known and widely consumed form of cold cuts.
Leaner meats like chicken or fish have a lower sodium content than ham and are much better to feed your cat. Even so, ham has some nutrients that may benefit your cat.
Besides protein, cats also need taurine. Ham has a significant amount of this nutrient. Cats do not produce this substance. Thus they need to consume foods that have it constantly. Taurine is necessary for them to maintain a strong heart and digestive system.
Thiamin and riboflavin are vitamins found in ham. They provide energy, protect antioxidants, and also assist in metabolizing the protein.
Vitamin B6, also a substance found in ham, keeps cats’ nervous systems healthy. Cats have sensitive kidneys and need high amounts of potassium to function correctly.
Zinc guarantees a thick and shiny coat. Selenium is also beneficial for the heart, while copper maintains strong bones and helps in healing processes.
You should be careful what kind of ham you feed your cat. Grade A ham is the best choice; avoid the low-quality cheap canned ham. Consider that the less fat and salt that the piece of ham has, the better it will be for your cat.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Ham?
You can serve cooked ham for your cat as long as it is fresh, unseasoned, and only in small amounts. It can be considered a treat to give your cat a protein boost which its tastebuds will surely appreciate.
If your cat is really into ham, you can try buying ham-flavored cat foods to feed it while bringing in the vitamins and minerals they need.
If you treat this tasty snack with moderation and common sense, it can safely be part of your cat’s varied diet.
What About Raw Ham?
Some pet owners think that feeding raw meat to their cats is a way to imitate their diets outdoors. It is not proven yet if raw meat diets are favorable for home cats. Raw meat contains many bacteria, such as Salmonella, which can be a cause for concern.
No matter the case, cats should never be fed raw ham. Preferably, cook the ham until its inner temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Severe food poisoning or trichinosis, a parasitic disease caused by roundworms, can develop when consuming raw pork.
You might need to contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat has been exposed to raw ham and is showing signs of vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. Even though cats are well known for eating raw meat in the wild, it is best to avoid it.
Luckily, most ham products come cooked, and they are only heated to enhance the flavor. Luncheon meats, a cooked mix of pork and cereal, can be considered an option for your cat. Still, it may not be the most fantastic idea to give them to your cat in greater than moderate amounts because of all the fat and salt in them.
Our recommendation is to constantly research and ask your veterinarian beforehand if you would like to feed raw meat to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Bacon?
You may be wondering what happens in the case of ham’s buddy, bacon. This delicious piece of pork may be as delightful to us humans as it can be for cats. Experts advise you avoid feeding it to your cat due to its extremely high fat, grease, and salt quantity.
According to the Poison Helpline, high salt concentrations can poison pets, causing them to have diarrhea and a series of other bad reactions. One bit of bacon is good enough – more of it can result in health risks for your feline friend.
Is Ham Toxic For Cats?
Eating ham is not considered to be risky. However, always keep in mind that your cat should only eat it in moderation. Usually, ham has high amounts of sodium and comes packed with preservatives and salt. Too much sodium is not suitable for cats.
Moderation is key. Even if your cat is begging for more food, don’t be tempted to feed it more when looking into its big kitty eyes. If you need to give your cat some medication or vitamin pills and don’t want to take them, putting them inside a slice of deli cut ham can do the trick.
Why Does My Cat Love Ham?
Ham contains the nutrients carnivores like cats want and need. Primarily carnivores, these animals see meat as a crucial element of their diet. Good quality ham uplifts their energy and boosts their essential vitamins’ intake. All these factors can make your cat feel good when consuming ham, which is why they might love it.
Concerns About Ham
Ham may not be toxic to cats in small amounts, but its high amount of salt can potentially harm their health. Too much sodium is not suitable for humans; cats shouldn’t consume high quantities either. It would be best if you stuck to lean cuts of ham to feed your cat as a wiser choice. Keep in mind that even refined pieces of ham contain more sodium than other types of meats.
Lower quality ham has a lot of salt, additives, and preservatives that are just unhealthy. Large amounts of low-grade cold cuts and canned ham can result in hypernatremia in cats – a condition caused by high sodium levels in the body. These feeding habits can result in poor heart conditions and high blood pressure.
Summarizing why ham can be bad for your cat:
- Exceptionally high sodium levels
- High-fat levels
- Can contain toxic seasoning
- It can affect the cat’s appetite and behavior in a negative way
How Much Ham Can A Cat Eat?
As advised by veterinarians, human food should only be treated as occasional snacks in a cat’s regular balanced diet and should not pass 10 percent of a cat’s daily caloric intake. According to Banfield Pet Hospital, just one slice of deli ham containing 46 calories equals 20 percent of an average cat’s daily caloric intake!
It would help if you were mindful about how much ham you feed your cat, as too much of it can cause stomach problems. If consumption over long periods persists, general health issues can arise.
Cats should not consume more than 42 mg of sodium per day. Their kidneys can’t support heavy amounts of sodium. Because cats are not very attentive about drinking enough water, they can dehydrate with these high amounts of sodium. If your cat regularly eats ham, it can experience high blood pressure, diarrhea, and obesity. Eating processed meats can also slow down a kitten’s growth.
It is safe to say that a small amount of ham on occasions, in a well-balanced diet, can be beneficial for your cat. As long as it’s controlled portions, you do not have to worry.
To sum it up, a little bit of ham as a once-in-a-while treat won’t kill your cat. But poultry, beef, fish, and other meat, are a more natural option for your carnivore friend. Skipping meats that are high in sodium, such as cold cuts and ham, is your best bet, as excess salt can be toxic to cats.
Ham is a safe source of protein for cats. Still, because it doesn’t provide the same kind of lean protein found in other meats we’ve mentioned, it should only be given on occasions as a treat. You should ask for your veterinarian’s approval if it’s your cat’s first time eating ham. Many experts recommend only feed it a small piece and checking how it reacts to it.
Make sure you choose high-quality ham. And if it needs cooking, do not add any extra seasoning. Once you know your cat doesn’t react badly to it, you can chop it up into small cubes and mix the ham into their regular cat food or serve it alone as a prize for good behavior.
If you notice diarrhea symptoms or other adverse side effects, do not keep feeding it to them and call your veterinarian for advice.
“Everything in excess is opposed by nature.” – Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.