Ham could seem like a wonderful choice when searching for a tasty and nourishing treat for your feline companion. After all, your cat requires protein to maintain the health of its muscles and other tissues, and ham is a protein-rich deli meat.
Can cats however eat ham? Are there any concerns and how safe is it? Cats can indeed eat ham, thus the answer is yes. But before you provide ham to your pet family member, you need be aware of some concerns.
Nutritional Facts About Ham
As you might have gathered from the information above, ham tends to be high in salt and high in fat, and neither of these qualities is ideal for your furry friend. It’s also completely deficient in fiber, which, although not essential, is helpful to keep the gut healthy.
On the other hand, ham does contain high protein levels, which is crucial for the growth and repair of all of your cat’s body tissues. It also has many essential vitamins, including the B vitamins and selenium, and minerals like iron and zinc.
Is Ham Good For Cats?
Although deli ham is nontoxic and contains beneficial protein and various vitamins and minerals, it’s not the best option when it comes to feeding your cat. Any nutritional benefits are likely to be outweighed by the high salt levels and fat content.
If you’re looking to treat your kitty to a tasty snack, it’s best to avoid ham made from pork and consider turkey ham or even plain chicken, as these meats contain less fat.
And remember, the best food for your feline friend is their nutritionally complete, commercial cat food. After all, it contains the perfect balance of ingredients to keep them in tip-top health. If you give too many extra treats and tidbits, it could upset the balance of their diet and cause health issues.
Do They Like Ham?
Many cats enjoy ham, and although it shouldn’t be given too often and only in small amounts, it does serve one particular purpose, and that’s giving medication.
If your cat is a suspicious character, they might find tablets hidden in their food, and if they’re a little bit feisty, giving them the tablet directly might not be an option. Ham can sometimes be the perfect bribe or disguise to get your kitty to cooperate.
How Much Ham Can A Cat Eat?
Any ham you give your cat must be plain, without additional seasoning, and on its own rather than part of a dish. Extra salt will only add to the already high sodium content, and spicy seasonings could cause irritation.
Other ingredients like garlic and onions can be toxic, so don’t be tempted to offer your cat a bit of your ham salad sandwich. Before giving your cat ham, check the ingredients, and remove any visible fat.
Since any new food could cause your cat to have an upset stomach, it’s best to start by offering a tiny amount. If your cat enjoys the ham and you don’t see any vomiting, diarrhea, or other adverse signs, you can offer a little more next time. Don’t get carried away, though; three or four pieces the size of your fingernail is more than enough.
Can A Cat Eat Ham Everyday?
Because of the salt and fat content, ham shouldn’t be a regular treat. Instead, it should only be given occasionally. That being said, a small amount given once a week or a couple of times a month will do no harm, and your cat might enjoy it.
If you rely on ham to give your cat medication, make sure you give the smallest amount possible. Once the medication course is finished, you could avoid ham for a while in favor of some healthier treats.
The Risks Of Eating Ham For Cats
There are several different risks when it comes to feeding your cat ham. First, fatty foods can be associated with pancreatitis. This very painful condition might cause your cat to vomit and go off their food. This is why it’s so important to remove any fat before offering ham to your cat.
Similarly, any bones should be removed because they could cause damage to your cat’s gut or even cause a blockage. If the ham has been cooked with garlic, onions, or other toxic ingredients, this could make your cat unwell, and seasonings and cooking fats could also cause an upset stomach.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need animal protein as the primary component of their diet. Although ham is a source of animal protein, leaner options like chicken, turkey, or fish are healthier options for your four-legged friend. So, if your cat does enjoy ham as a treat, make sure you’re not giving it too often.