Is It OK for Kittens and Cats to Eat Ham?

Ham is nothing other than dry or wet cured pork leg cut. Wet curing uses brine and other additives to add flavor such as sugar or honey while dry curing uses salt. After curing to preserve them, these leg cuts may be smoked or not.

Common specialties in various regions include Westphalian, Virginia, corned, boiled, black forest, canned, country, city or Smithfield ham, Prosciutto Toscano, Prosciutto di Parma, among many others. Some of their uses include filling sandwiches together with other products such as cheese, as a topping for pizza, etc.

We have already looked at whether cats can eat pork and bacon where we noted the former is ok in moderation while the latter is ideal if not salted or in very tiny amounts as a rare treat.

Can cats eat ham?

Can cats eat ham?
Can cats eat ham?

Yes. Kitties can eat ham. In fact, most will really love it just as they will love pork, bacon, sausages. It is not poisonous to these pets. However, when feeding your cats ham, only give them as a very tiny snack – a bite-sized fed occasionally.

Why shouldn’t you let your feline friend have this pork product as much as it wants? Are these pets not obligate carnivores that depend on mainly animal protein sources?

Firstly, nutritionally, it may seem ok since it has carbohydrates, fats (saturated and unsaturated) and proteins. It also has various vitamins including choline, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, B12, and betaine.

Additionally, it has calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium, potassium, copper and sodium. Of much interest is sodium which is a whopping 1304mg per 100g mainly from the salt used in curing it.

Excessive amounts of salt can lead to increased urination, thirst or sodium poisoning. Also, felines with chronic kidney disease, hypertension, or heart disease should have diets with low salt.

Nevertheless, it is not nutritionally balanced and will not provide all the nutrients these pets require. Therefore, it can only be a snack and not an important part of their diet.

Always, avoid low-quality brands as they have even higher levels of sodium. In fact, always check for the sodium and any detrimental additives or ingredients such as onions, garlic, etc., before deciding whether your feline pal can have a tiny amount or not.

There are brands that are lower in sodium and additives making them slightly better. However, cats still need to eat them in moderation. Also, remove any fats if possible, to reduce instances of pancreatitis.

Finally, in case of any gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea or allergy symptoms, stop giving your kitty ham or other pork products as these pets may be allergic to these products.

Can cats have ham lunch meat or deli?

These hams are part of the luncheon, cold cut, deli or sliced meats often cured or precooked and formed into sliced meatloaves or sausages.

They are higher in fats, sodium, nitrates, and preservatives making them not ideal for your kitties. While a tiny piece may be harmless, try to avoid them as much as possible.

In humans, such as lunch meats and other processed meats contributed to higher incidences of diabetes, and heart problems when compared to even red meat.

What about raw ham?

Ham can also mean the hind leg cut meat, i.e., the one that is uncured or uncooked. We looked at whether cats can eat pork or not including a raw one. This is just a part of pork.

Can cats eat gammon

Gammon is ham which whose curing and smoking is like that of bacon. Your cats can have only a small piece once in a while just as in the case of bacon.

Can kittens eat ham?

A small piece will not harm a fully weaned kitten. However, these kittens require special diets designed for enhancement growth and development. Stick to kitten diets where possible.

Conclusion

While we have said a small amount is safe for cats, we do not mean you let your cat eat several ham slices. Give them one or two bite-sized pieces occasionally.

Finally, avoid those that have expired. Also, provide these pets with enough water in case they make them thirsty being too salty.

See also

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