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Can Cats Eat Ham?

3 min read

Meat products, especially delicious and protein-abundant ham, are one of the most popular foods around the world, enjoyed by humans and probably coveted by most animals too. We can bet you’ve had a cat or dog stare at you, more than once, begging for a bite.

If you’ve ever found yourself in the kitchen making a ham sandwich and ended up wondering “can cats eat ham?”, you might be surprised to know that yes, they can. But, before you go ahead and share your sandwich with your feline friend, there are a few things you should know. 

Can cats eat ham? 

Yes, cats can eat ham. They are obligate carnivores, meaning that their diet requires nutrients that are only found in meat products. However, it’s not the best food they can have. Deli meat is usually overly processed and high in salt so it’s recommended that if you do feed your cat ham, it should only be in small amounts.

A balanced and complete meal is necessary for keeping your cat healthy and cat food contains all the nutrients and protein they need, so it’s best to only offer snacks like ham in moderation. 

Can kittens eat ham? 

A small piece of ham once in a while will not harm a kitten. However, kittens can be very delicate and require special diets when growing up, so it’s best to avoid feeding them anything that might affect their digestive system. 

What kind of ham can you feed your cat? 

Any kind of ham that is low in salt and thoroughly cooked, preferably by yourself. Most deli meat contains preservatives and spices, which can cause issues for your cat. As such, opting for raw ham that you can cook at home comes with the reassurance that you’re not feeding your cat any dangerous chemicals. 

Is ham bad for cats? 

Store-bought ham that’s very processed and high in sodium and other seasoning can lead your cat to have an upset stomach. Garlic or onion, for example, can damage their red blood cells, leading to a lack of oxygen in their bloodstream. It’s also recommended that you avoid feeding your cat raw meats because these can contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. Coli, or Listeria. 

Benefits of eating ham 

As long as it’s offered in small quantities as a treat, ham can provide your cat with some important nutrients. Here are a few of the vitamins and minerals it contains that can support your furry friend’s health: 

  • Vitamin B6 – important for the good functioning of red blood cells, supporting the health of your cat’s heart, brain, and nervous system. 
  • Selenium – a natural mineral, it can help boost your cat’s immune system by contributing to their skin health. 
  • Zinc – helps to boost the health of your cat’s coat and skin. 
  • Iron – prevents anaemia or helps ameliorate the signs of anaemia. 

How should I feed ham to cat 

The safest way to feed your cat ham is to buy it raw and unseasoned and cook it yourself. Another option would be to purchase deli cuts that are low in sodium. Just make sure you check the ingredients and don’t offer too much ham to your cat. Keep in mind that ham will not provide your cat with all the essential nutrients they require and so it’s best to only use it as a treat. If you’re unsure about what nutrients your cat requires, double-check with your trusted vet and they’ll be able to recommend a good diet for your pet. 


Now that you’ve answered your question, ‘Can cats eat ham?’, you can now go ahead and find out more about what other foods you can feed your cat