Key Takeaways

  • Can cats eat ham? The answer is yes, but it depends on the type of ham. 😺
  • Smoked ham and cured ham are not good choices for cats due to their high sodium content and the possibility of chemicals. 🙀
  • Canned ham for cats is a relatively good choice. 😺

The Pros of Feeding Your Cat Ham

The Pros of Feeding Your Cat Ham

Can cats eat ham? Actually, there are several pros of feeding ham to your cat. Here are a few nutrients that can be found in ham that are potentially beneficial to felines.


Cats are obligate carnivores, so meat-based protein is one of the most important nutrients for them. It helps build and maintain muscle, skin, fur, and other tissues in the body. Protein is also essential for cats’ energy levels and their ability to fight off infection. In fact, protein is so important that kittens need about three times as much protein as adult cats do.


Zinc is a crucial mineral for cats. It helps with wound healing, supports the immune system and is necessary for certain enzyme reactions. Zinc deficiencies can lead to health problems in cats, including hair loss, skin lesions, weight loss and infertility.


Iron is also essential for cats’ health and can help boost their energy levels. It also helps create strong red blood cells, which are necessary for transporting oxygen around the body. A lack of iron can lead to a condition called anemia, which can cause a cat to feel tired and weak.


This mineral supports thyroid health. The thyroid gland is responsible for many important bodily functions, including metabolism and energy production. When the thyroid is not functioning properly, it can lead to a variety of health problems. Selenium helps to support thyroid health, which in turn helps to maintain optimal overall health for your cat.

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Another benefit of selenium is that it helps to reduce the risk of developing diseases. Selenium helps to boost the immune system and fight off disease-causing pathogens.

The Cons of Feeding Your Cat Ham

The Cons of Feeding your Cat Ham

While there are some pros to feeding your cat ham, there are also some cons that you should be aware of. After all, you need a full picture before giving your cat anything.


First, ham is high in sodium, which can be harmful to cats if eaten in large quantities. Cats who eat a diet high in sodium can develop health problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure), renal failure, and heart disease. If your cat shows any of the signs of sodium toxicity, such as increased thirst or urination, vomiting, diarrhea, or sluggishness, call your veterinarian immediately.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Some kinds of ham contain nitrates and nitrites. These are compounds that are toxic to cats, as they can interfere with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Cats are particularly vulnerable to the effects of nitrates and nitrites. If they eat too much, they may develop health issues.


There are two types of cholesterol: HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). HDL is considered “good” cholesterol because it helps to remove excess cholesterol from the body. However, most types of ham are high in LDL cholesterol, which can be bad for cats’ hearts, as it can cause a build-up of plaque on the inside of their arteries. This makes it more difficult for blood to circulate, and can lead to heart disease. This is especially true for cats who are already at risk for heart disease, such as those who are obese or have diabetes.

Editor’s Note

I hear some patients and friends complaining about their cats that the only thing they want to eat is ham or tuna. Well, if your cat is only interested in eating ham, try mixing wet food in with the ham (or tuna) to gradually reduce the amount of ham she eats. Remember, too much salt from processed meats can be harmful to cats, so it’s best to avoid feeding her ham altogether.

Different Types of Ham

Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of feeding your cat ham, let’s take a closer look at the different types of ham that are available. Then, based on that, we will try to give you a definite answer to: Can cats eat ham?

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Smoked Ham

Smoked ham is made by curing ham with smoke. It is high in sodium, therefore it is not safe for cats to eat. Smoked ham is also high in fat and cholesterol, making it a very poor choice for cats.

Cured Ham

Cured ham is made by curing ham with salt and other chemicals, most commonly sugar. Cats can eat cured ham in moderate amounts, but it is high in sodium and may contain nitrates and nitrites, which can be harmful to cats. In other words, if your cat steals a piece, she should be fine. But she should not be fed cured ham on a regular basis.

Canned Ham

Canned ham is made from cooked pork ham that has been canned in its own juices or a brine. It is a good source of protein and vitamins for cats, and they can eat it without any problems. It’s also low in fat and sodium. Nevertheless, this kind of ham has to be dedicated to cats. Human canned ham is not good for cats.

Raw Ham

Ram ham, as most raw meat, is the safest ham to give to a cat. It hasn’t been cured or treated with anything, and so, it poses minimal risk for your kitty.

How to Feed Your Cat Ham

How to Feed Your Cat Ham

There are a few different ways that you can go about feeding ham to cats. One way is to simply place a piece of ham in front of your cat and let them eat it as they please. Another way is to chop up the ham into small pieces and mix it in with your cat’s regular food. Finally, you can also make a ham-based cat food recipe. Whichever you choose, always start with small amounts to see how well your cat will react to the new food.

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Cats need meat-based protein, which can be found in ham, to help build and maintain muscle, skin, fur, and other tissues in the body.Ham is high in salt / sodium which can cause hypertension in your pets.
Ham also contains zinc. Zinc is a crucial mineral for cats that helps with wound healing and supports the immune system among other things.Ham contains nitrates which are toxic compounds.
Iron is another essential nutrient found in ham. It creates strong red blood cells which are necessary for transporting oxygen around the body. Ham may increase your dog’s levels of LDL cholesterol which can lead to heart diseases.

Can Cats Eat Ham Q&A

Still hungry for some cats and ham knowledge? We’ve got you covered! Here are some frequently asked questions that accompany “Can cats eat ham?”

Is It OK to Give Ham to Cats?

The answer is no. Ham is not a good choice of food for cats, as it can be high in fat and sodium and could cause digestive upset or weight gain. The only safe kinds of ham for cats are raw ham and ham that was made specifically for them.

Why Do Cats Love Ham?

Cats are curious by nature and, as such, they will often be attracted to foods that smell and taste good. Ham has a strong smell and a salty, smoky flavor that cats seem to love.

Is Ham or Turkey Better for Cats?

Ham and turkey are both high in sodium, which can be bad for cats. Turkey is a leaner meat than ham, so if you do decide to give your cat some kind of cured or processed meat, turkey is the better choice. However, it’s best to avoid giving cats any type of processed meats altogether. 

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