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Home > Cats > Can Cats Eat Bacon? Vet-Reviewed Health Facts

Can Cats Eat Bacon? Vet-Reviewed Health Facts

Can Cats Eat Bacon

Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Felines are obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat to survive, so giving them meat off our plates should be fine, right? Wrong! There’s a significant difference between the meat we eat and what’s in your cat’s food, and giving your kitty some of the meat you’re having for dinner could lead to consequences if you aren’t careful.

But what about bacon? Bacon is delicious, so it’s a sure bet kitty would love it, but can cats eat bacon? The answer is, technically, cats can eat bacon, but they really shouldn’t. While bacon isn’t toxic to our furry friends, it is incredibly unhealthy for them (just like it’s pretty unhealthy for us, too). So, while a bite of bacon won’t negatively harm your pet, eating bacon, in the long run, can lead to health issues. Here’s what you should know.

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Why Bacon Is Unhealthy for Felines

Why is bacon so unhealthy for our feline friends? Mostly because of all the fat and sodium it contains. Bacon is an incredibly fatty food since it’s cut from the fattiest parts of ham (just picture how much grease comes off when you cook it), and that fat can be particularly harmful to our cats.

Felines do need fat in their diets, but overdoing it on the fat content in their food can lead to health problems. For one, fat has a lot of calories (9 per gram), and those calories add up over time, which means your pet could gain weight, which could lead to diabetes, liver disease, and more. Plus, carrying around extra weight can put stress on your kitty’s joints. And if your pet is already overweight or doesn’t normally use a lot of energy, those calories will simply worsen the situation.

Then, you have a high amount of sodium in bacon (137 mg a slice!). Sodium works in the feline body much like it does ours (and we know too much sodium for us can lead to a wealth of issues with our health!). Felines should only have about 200 mg of sodium a day, and eating in excess of that can lead to hypernatremia, a condition where the kitty’s kidneys can’t remove salt fast enough. Hypernatremia can cause lethargy, restlessness, diarrhea, vomiting, and even seizures.

This isn’t to say that you can’t give your cat a very tiny piece of bacon once in a blue moon or that something terrible will happen if your kitty steals a slice of bacon from the table. But bacon, in general, isn’t the best food to give your pet.

bacon grease in hot pan
Image by: Artit Wongpradu, Shutterstock

What About Other Forms of Bacon?

Okay, now you know how bad bacon is for felines, so you might wonder if other forms of bacon are safer for your pet.

Raw Bacon

Some think that since the fattiness of bacon is a big part of the issue with feeding it to your pet, not cooking it will make it a bit better (since some of that grease and fat come from how bacon is cooked). However, this is not a good idea! Why is that?

It’s because bacon is pork, and raw pork can harbor bacteria and even parasites. Eating raw bacon could land your pet with a case of trichinosis. So, please don’t feed your cat raw bacon!


Turkey Bacon

Alright, but surely turkey bacon is better, correct? After all, it’s healthier for us. This isn’t entirely true. Turkey bacon might be a smidge healthier than actual bacon, but that doesn’t make it a healthy food. It’s true that turkey bacon has fewer calories and a bit less fat than pork bacon, but it’s still fatty. And, because it’s a processed food, it still contains way too much sodium for kitty; in fact, it has almost the same amount of sodium as regular bacon.

turkey bacon on wood cutting board
Image by: paplemini, Shutterstock

Plant-Based Bacon

But plant-based bacon would be fine for your cat, right? Still not the best idea. Felines are obligate carnivores, so they don’t need plant-based foods. Kitties need meat, which they’ll prefer, so chances are your pet won’t enjoy plant-based bacon too much. Plus, even if the bacon is made from plants, it still has quite a bit of sodium. In fact, MorningStar bacon has more sodium in it than regular or turkey bacon! Plus, there’s also a slight chance plant-based bacon could have another ingredient that is not safe for your pet.

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Final Thoughts

Bacon is not a wonderful food to feed your favorite feline. While it tastes delicious and your cat will likely enjoy it, there’s too much fat and sodium in it, which can lead to numerous health issues in your pet. And while it might seem as if raw bacon, turkey bacon, or plant-based bacon would be better for a kitty, they really aren’t any healthier.

If you can’t resist the pleading eyes, it’s fine to give your pet a bite of bacon every once in a while. But it’s better to give them a treat designed just for them instead.


Featured Image Credit: Warren Price Photography, Shutterstock

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