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Can Cats Eat Ham As Snacks, Or Have Ham As Part Of Their Diet?

can cats eat ham

Cats can eat ham without suffering any negative results, but it comes with a warning. Ham is salty, which isn’t great for your kitty’s internals and could make her rather thirsty. And if your cat has an existing heart or renal issue then it’s a definite no-no. However, like so many tasty things, ham is probably okay to share in tiny amounts from time to time. Today I’ll let you know how I let my cat eat ham, and the ways I weighed up this dietary decision.


Can Cats Eat Ham?

A cat’s diet should mimic how they would eat out in the wild as closely as possible. Which is what makes cats crazy for those cans of meat. They naturally eat a moisture-rich, meat-filled diet.

It’s important to aim for mostly high-quality canned foods. These moisture-rich foods can help offset that fact that cats tend to drink less, since they are used to getting moisture in their diet from food. Even when we feed cats dry food, it’s still engineered to provide the protein cats would be consuming out in the wild.

So since cats need meat anyway, it seems like common sense that you could easily feed your cat ham. But whether you can feed your cat ham is actually not as simple as a cut and dry “yes” or “no.”

What makes ham for cats a gray area is that it is very high in sodium. Remember, cats are already prone to not drinking as much as other animals due to relying on moisture from their diets.

A Question of Safety

Ham isn’t outright unsafe for your average cat, but it might be a disaster zone if your kitty already has a kidney disorder of any kind. Blood pressure problems also don’t mix well with salty foods.

can cats have ham

Why Do Cats Like Ham?

Much like my kids, my cat has no concept of what is bad for him. It’s all about taste. He wants pretty much anything I put on my plate to be slid into his dish.

If you’ve ever been around an outdoor cat, you may have seen just how skilled and graceful they are at catching prey. One of the defining traits about cats is just how much they love meat. And your cat’s powerful predatory instincts are aimed at ensuring that he gets a good supply. Some meats are even more flavorsome and tantalizing than others.

The distinctive taste of ham is a great favorite for many people, so it’s only natural that we might be tempted to share some with our furry friends.

But though you may notice that while canned wet food runs a pretty wide variety of meat, from chicken to liver to turkey, you won’t usually see canned ham for cats. Or find ham as an ingredient on a tin of his favorite cat food.

Can Cats Eat Raw Ham?

Feeding your cat only raw meat has become a fad among pet owners. The idea is that you are giving your cat what they ate in the wild, which would be nothing but raw meat. The reasoning goes that since you are feeding your cat what they ate naturally, that will make them healthy and happier.

If you are using a raw diet then there is no reason that unprocessed ham couldn’t make up a small part of it, but be really sure to do your research. There are potential downsides like pathogens and impaction that we still don’t really have good figures on the risks for.

You can give a commercially fed cat a tiny bit of unseasoned raw ham if you’re about to cooked up a joint for the family, but no more than a spoonful. This is what I very occasionally share with my senior cat when he gives me those big eyes in the kitchen, but it’s not often I’m going the whole hog with my roasts!

can kittens eat ham

Did That Ham Upset My Cat’s Stomach?

Cats are individuals. This means that specific foods will impact some of them more than others, or in different ways. So it is certainly possible that ham could give your cat an upset tummy, if your cat has a stomach sensitive to sodium.

Or it could be that how the ham is cooked could make a difference. But by and large, ham should not upset your cat’s stomach.

What About Kittens?

Kittens are young and as such they have more delicate digestive systems. I recommend sticking to your kitten’s complete food when they join you. This will make sure that they get everything they need to stay fit and healthy. It will also minimize the risk of tummy troubles.

There is plenty of time for adding treats later on, once they are well settled in to your home.

Sharing Ham As A Special Treat

When I occasionally share some ham with my cat it’s usually sliced and cooked or cut from a joint. I chop up slivers that would take up no more than the space on a medium sized spoon, and either give them to him when he’s come to the call, or very occasionally on top of his kibble or canned food meal.

Can Cats Eat Ham?

The sodium levels in ham pose little threat to healthy cats if given as an occasional trick, although it can be bad for those with existing health conditions.

Have you given ham to your cat? You can let us know about your experiences with cats and ham in the comments below.



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