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Home > General > Can Cats Eat Ham? Vet-Approved Nutrition Facts, Types, & FAQ

Can Cats Eat Ham? Vet-Approved Nutrition Facts, Types, & FAQ

Can Cats Eat Ham

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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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Ham is a popular meat found in many people’s homes. Ham can be used as the centerpiece of a meal, put on a sandwich, or fried into bacon. While many people love ham, is it safe for cats? Can cats eat ham? This is a question that people might ask themselves if they find their cat eating bacon or begging for a slice of your dinner. The answer is that yes, cats can eat a bit of ham. Plain cooked ham and won’t harm your cat, but that doesn’t mean you should feed it indiscriminately. Cats should still get most of their food from regular food sources, like wet and dry cat food, not from ham.


Cats Can Eat Ham

The USDA defines ham as meat from the hind leg of a hog that may be fresh, cured or cured and smoked. Cats are carnivorous animals. That means that they primarily eat meat. Since ham is a basic meat, it means that it is relatively safe for cats to eat. In the wild, cats will eat small animals like mice, rats, and birds. While they don’t normally eat pigs or hogs, ham is a safe and delicious meal for cats. However, that does not mean that cats can eat all kinds of ham, and you don’t want to give your cat a heaping plate of the stuff. Ham is very dense, and it can be rich, so eating too much in one sitting can upset your cat’s stomach. If possible, you should only feed unprocessed and unsalted pork to your cat as a treat.

cooked ham in white background
Image Credit: vikiri, Shutterstock

Ham Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size: One slice (145g)1
  • Kcals: 202
  • Total fats: 7.4 g
  • Carbs: 1.54 g
  • Sugar: 1.54 g
  • Sodium: 1420 mg
  • Potassium: 500 mg
  • Phosphorus: 447 mg


Different Types of Ham

Ham is a catch all term for a lot of different pork products. When people read the word ham, they think of many different types of pork. Are all types of ham safe? Most of them are. Here are some of the most common types of ham and whether you should feed them to your cat.

Fresh Sliced Ham

Freshly sliced ham that you can get from a deli or butcher is safe for cats. This type of ham is mostly uncured, unsalted, and not processed. Freshly sliced ham is also precooked and can safely be given to your cat. But you should cut the ham up into small pieces and avoid giving your cat a full slice.

Cooked ham slices
Image by: GSDesign, Shutterstock

Processed Ham (Sandwich Meat)

You can buy containers of processed deli meat from your local grocery store. Most people use this meat for sandwiches. Processed deli meat should not be given to cats. Processed meats have a lot of preservatives and salt added to them to give them a longer shelf life. The preservatives and salt in this type of ham are not suitable for cats, so you should avoid feeding it whenever possible.


If your cat snatches some bacon from your plate they will likely be just fine. You should avoid giving your cat pieces with a large amount of fat or oil on it. Excess fat and salt are not healthy for your cat to eat. However, you can feed small pieces of lean bacon or crispy bacon to your cat. Just don’t make a habit of it. Cats need to be eating dry or wet formulated cat food, not bacon off of your plate.

turkey bacon cooked on parchment paper
Image by: Elena Veselova, Shutterstock

Raw Ham (Or Bacon)

You should avoid giving your cat any type of raw meat. While animals like cats and dogs are better suited to eating raw meat than humans, they can still get sick. Raw meat can contain Salmonella, E. coli, or parasites. This is especially true of pork products as they can contain a parasite in the muscle tissue called Trichinella spiralis. That is why people cook their food to safe temperatures. Just to be on the safe side, you should only feed your cat cooked meat and not raw meat.


The Best Way to Feed Your Cat Ham

To be on the safe side, the best way to feed your cat ham is to buy them cat food that contains ham. You can feed ham from your table, but you should avoid doing that. If you feel like giving your cat tasty ham, you should buy wet food or ham treats for your cat. That way, you know that the ham is safe and specially packaged and cooked for consumption by your cat.

pet owner feeding blue maine coon cat with treats outdoors in garden
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock



Do Cats Like Ham?

Yes. Cats like ham. Some cats even love ham. Ham is a delicious meat that will appeal to most feline appetites. Ham is also salty, and cats often seem to enjoy salty food. But the high level of sodium is one of the reasons you should limit the amount that your cat eats in any one sitting. If you give your cat ham, be careful because they might expect more ham in the future!

Can Ham Harm Cats?

Ham can give your cat indigestion if they eat too much in one go. If your cat is not used to eating large amounts of meat, too much can give them an upset stomach. Signs that your cat is upset include lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. However, ham is not toxic or dangerous to cats, in small quantities on occasion. The exception is if there are additional ingredients such as garlic that are toxic to cats. Seasoned ham should be avoided.

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Cats can eat ham, but domesticated cats should get most of their calories and nutrients from formulated cat food. Cats can eat simple unsalted ham that has been cooked, but you shouldn’t make a habit of feeding it to your cat. Cats love meat, but ham has a lot of salt, and it can contain harmful preservatives that your cat does not need in their diet. Keep the ham on your plate and use it as a sparing treat if you feel the urge to feed it.

Featured Image Credit: NeydtStock, Shutterstock

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