Can cats eat ham? Ham is a sweet and savory meat that a lot of people enjoy in sandwiches or main courses. Have you been tempted to feed a piece of ham to your cat because they are staring at you with those big cute eyes as you eat? Is ham safe for cats?
No doubt, ham is a great source of protein, and cats, who are carnivores, require lots of protein. But does this mean they can eat ham as much as they want? It is important to note that cats process human foods differently and their digestive system have evolved from their wild ancestors. So even though ham is full of protein, it doesn't mean cats can eat as much as they want. Keep reading this article to know all you need to know about feeding ham to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Ham?
Cats can eat ham but only in small amounts. Ham itself is not harmful to cats. Big ham slices can be too much to feed to your cat at a time but a small bite-sized piece now and then will not harm your kitty. Cats can enjoy some benefits from ham such as its rich protein content and mineral contents like Iron and Potassium. However, ham is high in sodium which is bad for your cat. As such, ham should not become a regular part of your cat's diet, it should be given to them as a treat.
Is Ham Good For My Cat?
We have already established that ham is not toxic to your cat when fed in the right quantity. But is ham any good for cats? Here are a few things to know when feeding ham to your cat:
Ham is rich in minerals and vitamins such as zinc, iron, vitamin B12, potassium, thiamine, niacin, and phosphorus. Thiamine is good for your cat's nervous system, heart, and brain function. Due to the presence of phosphorus in it, ham supports strong bones and teeth formation.
Ham also contains bioactive compounds like taurine, creatinine, and glutathione which ensure healthy daily growth of your feline's muscles.
Finally, pork is at its healthiest when lean, according to experts. Lean ham is packed with 9 amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are very important in muscle building, digestion, heart function, and vision.
Will Ham Harm My Cat?
Although ham is not toxic to cats and cats can have it occasionally, ham can cause havoc to your cat's digestive system and their health in general if fed in an excess quantity.
Ham contains high levels of Sodium which is added for preservation and as a seasoning. If your cat eats a significant amount of ham, it will cause kidney problems and high blood pressure due to the salt content.
Ham also tends to be high in fat and cholesterol which is bad for your cat. Cats can become obese if they eat ham all the time because of the fat content. This can lead to a series of health complications.
Another thing you should be concerned about is the seasonings. Store-bought processed ham comes with a bunch of toxic ingredients like garlic and onion. Your cat's stomach is not designed to handle these seasonings and they can suffer from digestion issues like vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, and even much worse consequences.
Can Cats Eat Raw Ham?
Cats should not eat raw ham because it is not considered safe for them. Raw ham contains disease-causing bacteria like salmonella and E.Coli. Raw meat can also contain parasitic worms that lead to trichinosis and other infectious diseases.
Generally, raw meat is not recommended for cats because apart from the health risks it poses to cats, it is usually too hard for cats to chew and digest. This may cause choking hazards and digestive issues.
How Should I Feed Ham To My Cat?
The safest option of ham to feed your cat is cooked ham. Cooking ham kills all the disease-causing bacteria and parasitic worms.
It is advisable to feed ham that you have prepared yourself for your cat. That way, you can be sure of what goes into it in terms of seasonings and ingredients. Only serve ham that has been cooked plainly to your cat, without salt and onions or other seasonings. Chop the ham slice into small cube sizes before serving your cat to avoid choking hazards.
Another safe option is getting lean deli ham cuts instead of whole meat cuts. Deli cuts are slightly lower in sodium and significantly lower in fat when compared to whole meat cuts. However, it should still be fed only in small amounts to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Ham Bones?
Bones can easily splinter and get into your cat's esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Without a doubt, we know that if this happens, your cat's life will be put on the line and if not attended to immediately, they may lose their lives. To avoid this, it is best to keep your felines away from ham bones. Your cat's specially formulated cat food is enough to supply all the calcium content your cat needs, hence they will not be missing anything if they don't eat some ham bones.
Can Kittens Eat Ham?
It is not advisable to give ham to kittens, especially those that are still nursing or starting to eat solid food. Their system is not yet fully developed to handle foods like ham and this can cause issues like severe diarrhea and fluid loss. Kittens need their specially formulated cat food to get the complete and balanced diet they need to thrive.
However, once they have completely weaned off and you are considering adding ham as a snack to their diet, consult with your vet to be sure it is safe for them.
Cats can safely eat ham but only in small amounts. Ham is rich in protein which cats need but it is also rich in fats which is not good for your cat. If you choose to serve ham to your cat, make sure it is only occasionally and in small amounts.