Can Cats Eat Ham? - Cat Kingpin
can cats eat ham

Can Cats Eat Ham?

Meat is a wonderful addition to your cat’s carnivorous diet. Because meat is full of the protein that all cats need to maintain a healthy heart, skeletal structure, and muscular system, giving your cat meat as a treat is a great way to give their health a little boost.

Maybe you have a ham sandwich for lunch every day and you’ve always wondered if you can give your cat a little slice of ham. After all, cats are carnivores, and your cat probably seems pretty interested when you take it out of the fridge – but can cats eat ham?

Indeed they can! But just like with most human foods, there are a few things to keep in mind before making your cat a ham sandwich (hint: don’t make your cat an entire ham sandwich!).

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • Cats and Ham – What You Need to Know
  • Can Cats Eat Ham Lunchmeat?
  • Can Kittens Eat Ham?
  • Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Ham
  • Alternatives to Ham for Cats

Cats and Ham What You Need to Know

Ham can be a great addition to your cat’s diet- as long as you don’t overdo it!

Ham is a type of pork (pig meat) that has been preserved either by smoking, wet curing, or salting. Ham is eaten all over the world and has been a part of the human diet for thousands of years. In fact, the first written reference to a ham recipe dates from around 160 BC!

If your cat has a hankering for ham, you can feel good about giving them a little bit. A cat’s diet should always be high in protein, and one slice of ham lunchmeat contains roughly 5 grams of protein!

The one thing you have to keep in mind while feeding your cat ham is the sodium content. Depending on how the ham was prepared it could contain quite a bit of salt, which is not good for your cat’s health.

Can Cats Eat Ham Lunchmeat?

Ham lunchmeat is probably the most common type of ham in the United States. Often used in sandwiches, it’s tasty and easy to prepare and store. If you open up a package of ham around your cat, chances are they will be very interested! Cats love meat and will likely beg for some. But should you give in?

Sure! A little bit of ham is a perfect treat for your cat and is a safe alternative to raw meat. You can even cut up little pieces of ham and put it into your cat’s regular food. Tasty little additions to your cat’s dry food can be a lifesaver if your cat is a picky eater.

That being said, there are some precautions you should take when feeding your cat ham, mostly related to the fact that ham is cured meat and often contains a lot of preservatives, including sodium. Here are a few tips:

  1. The best ham for your cat is a low sodium variety. Too much salt can make your cat very thirsty, and can even cause sodium ion poisoning. While most ham is salty by nature, low sodium is your best bet when it comes to your cat.
  2. Avoid flavored hams, such as honey ham or smoked ham. While they are perfectly safe for humans, many of these flavored hams have extra sugar and additives that aren’t good for your cat. Uncured, unflavored ham is your best bet.
  3. Organic ham is the best choice for both you and your cat! Organic meats of all kinds tend to contain fewer preservatives, no antibiotics, and no growth hormones.
  4. Only give your cat small portions of ham at a time. Too much of any human food may upset your cat’s stomach.
  5. Monitor your cat after you give them ham to make sure they aren’t having any adverse reaction, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

These two cats are enjoying some pieces of ham lunchmeat. They aren’t great at catching them, but they seem to love it anyway!

Can Kittens Eat Ham?

Kittens can eat ham as long as they only consume it in moderation. Kittens have more delicate digestive systems than adult cats do, so care should always be taken not to give kittens anything that may make them feel sick.

If you want to treat your kitten to some ham, here are a few tips:

  1. Just like with adult cats, only give kittens unflavored, low-sodium ham.
  2. Only offer your kitten a few very small pieces – just a taste is enough! Stay away from flavored hams, such as honey ham or smoked ham.
  3. Watch your kitten for any signs that the ham doesn’t agree with them. If your kitten shows any adverse reaction, don’t offer them ham again!
  4. If your nervous about giving your kitten actual ham, there are plenty of meaty kitten treats out there.

This momma cat is bringing her babies a piece of ham sausage (go to the end of the video to see the kittens!)

Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Ham

Ham contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that are great for cats, including vitamin B6, potassium, and thiamine. It’s also a fabulous source of protein, which is an absolutely crucial element of your cat’s diet!

Most cats will also really appreciate a piece of ham now and again. Offering your cat tasty treats is a great way to show them that you love them, and it can create a stronger bond between you and your feline friend.

There’s definitely love in this cat’s eyes. We’re not sure if it’s for the owner or for the ham, though. Maybe both?

Keep in mind that most types of ham contain quite a bit of salt, sometimes as much as 300 mg of sodium per slice! recommended that human beings only consume 1,500 mg of sodium per day, and humans can weigh twenty times more than a cat. Keep that in mind when giving your cat ham- keep the pieces small and aim for low sodium ham.

To put that in perspective, it’s recommended that human beings only consume 1,500 mg of sodium per day, and humans can weigh twenty times more than a cat. Remember those numbers when giving your cat ham- keep the pieces small and aim for low sodium ham.

Alternatives to Ham for Cats

Want to give your cat a meaty treat but worried about giving them actual ham? Well, if the salt content turns you off giving your cat ham, don’t worry- there are plenty of cat treats that contain meat that you can try!

So, Can Cats Eat Ham?

To sum it all up- yes! Cats can definitely eat ham and, if given in moderation, ham can be a delicious addition to your cat’s regular diet.

Don’t forget that you shouldn’t give your cat ham as their primary source of nutrition! Cats do best on a regular diet of high-quality cat food– ham should just be an extra tasty treat for special occasions.

Here are a few final reminders about feeding ham to cats:

  1. Only give your cat ham once and a while, and always in small quantities.
  2. Stick to low sodium ham if you can! Too much salt is bad for cats (and for people, for that matter).
  3. Unflavored ham is the best choice for your cat. Avoid flavored hams such as honey ham, which often contain extra sugar and additives.
  4. Keep an eye on your cat to make sure that the ham doesn’t disagree with them. If your cat has diarrhea, an upset stomach, or any other unusual symptoms after eating ham, don’t feed it to your cat again. If the symptoms continue, bring them to the vet.

If you’re also curious about if cats can eat sausage, you can find out here.

Do you offer a bit of your ham sandwich to your feline friend? Have questions about how you can safely treat your cat to some porky goodness? Let us know in the comments!

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Amanda K.

After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I've been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I've been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.

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