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Can Cats Eat Ham?

By Stacy Painter
April 7, 2021 • 2 min. read
cat sniffing ham

The quick answer: Maybe. If your cat is healthy, they can eat ham, but only in very small amounts.

Ham for cats

Ham is rich in protein which is why it might be so tempting to your kitty. Cats are carnivores, meaning they need to consume protein daily to meet their nutritional needs, so ham might seem like the perfect food. However, we recommend sharing only small pieces of ham every once in a while rather than making it a permanent part of your cat’s diet.

Hazards of ham for cats

Ham is high in sodium which can be harmful to your cat’s health when consumed regularly or in large quantities. Cats don’t naturally tend to drink enough water to stay hydrated (one reason wet cat food is recommended over dry food) so consuming extra sodium can cause them further troubles related to dehydration and sodium imbalance. If your cat has kidney or urinary issues, it’s a good idea to avoid sharing ham and any other high-sodium foods with them.

Plain, cooked ham is your best bet when sharing a nibble with a healthy adult kitty. Added spices, sugars, or mustard can make your cat sick. As with any treat or snack outside of your cat’s regular diet, only share in moderation. Remember that your cat is much smaller than you, so what may seem like “just a bite” can actually be quite a large amount to a cat.

Ham should not replace a balanced cat food diet because it does not contain all of the nutrients your kitty needs, and as previously mentioned, it is high in sodium. 

Kittens have sensitive digestive systems, so it’s best to let them rely on mother’s milk or kitten food until they are more mature and ready to explore new foods.

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for a pet insurance company was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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