We all know that cats can be like vacuum cleaners sometimes—if you drop a piece of food on the floor, your cat might get to it before you have a chance to pick it up. So, what should you do if your cat gets its paws on a piece of ham?
Since cats are carnivores, you may think that a piece of ham is no big deal for a cat to have, and it may even seem healthier than processed cat food. However, this question is not as easily answered as you might think. Ham is not typically toxic to cats, but it is not exactly healthy. Depending on how it is prepared, it can be bad for your kitty.
The remainder of this article will discuss whether cats can eat ham (both cooked and raw), whether you should allow them to, and what to do if your cat eats some ham before you can stop them.
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Can cats eat cooked ham?
Technically, yes, your cat can eat ham. As a carnivore, meat is not going to be outright harmful to your cat. A little piece of ham may even be used as a tempting treat to get your kitty to take something like a pill or paste medication. However, cooked ham is not a part of a balanced feline diet, and it may upset your kitty’s digestive system.
Ham is very high in salt and fat. It is also often cooked using ingredients that are definitely not good for cats, such as onions and garlic. So, before giving your cat a piece of cooked ham, be very careful to note all of the ingredients used in cooking.
Can cats eat raw ham?
Again, this is a question that is not so straightforward. Technically, yes, your cat can eat raw ham/pork. It may seem to be safer than cooked ham due to the lack of potential for harmful seasonings and other ingredients. However, raw meat carries a risk of parasites and other diseases for your cat. Before giving your cat raw meat, ham or otherwise, you should always consult with your veterinarian.
What happens if my cat eats ham?
Most likely, nothing is going to happen if your cat eats a little bit of ham. According to veterinarian advice, no more than ten percent of your cat’s daily diet should consist of human food or other treats. So, unless your cat is eating a ton of ham, they will most likely be okay. However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on them to make sure.
What should I do if my cat ate ham?
If your cat managed to get their paws on some ham without you noticing, or before you could stop them, it is a good idea to keep an eye on them to make sure that they are okay. Watch out for symptoms such as these:
- Sluggishness or unusual tiredness
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
- Hiding from human contact
If any of these symptoms appear in your cat after eating ham, you should seek immediate veterinary attention.
Additionally, if your kitty has a history of heart disease or other illnesses, the high salt content of ham may pose an additional problem. So, if this sounds like your cat, it is a good idea to head things off and take them to the vet.
What are the risks of feeding my cat raw ham?
Although feeding your pets a raw diet has become increasingly popular in recent years, there are many risks to feeding your cat raw pork.
Your cat can get sick due to the bacteria and potential parasites which live in raw meat. And, not only can your kitty get sick, but it is very possible that you or your family members can get sick. If your cat eats contaminated raw meat, they will then go on to groom themselves and possibly shed that contaminated saliva all over the house.
If you pet your cat, you are also putting yourself at risk of being exposed to these contaminants. Not only this, but even preparing and handling the raw meat carries a risk with it.
Lastly, most homemade raw diets are not consistently nutritionally appropriate for your cat. You run the risk of your cat becoming malnourished and missing out on essential nutrients that they need for a complete and balanced diet.
Should I feed my cat a raw diet?
Whether or not you should purposely feed your cat a raw diet is a decision that should be made between you and your veterinarian. Although there are benefits as well as the risks that come with feeding a raw diet, many people do not believe that these benefits outweigh the risk of your cat or family members getting sick.
It is recommended by most veterinarians that if you are going to feed your cat a raw diet, you should only do so under careful specialist supervision. There are some commercial raw diets available, where you can purchase prepackaged raw meat to feed your cat. These options are often safer than a homemade raw diet, as they are more consistent in terms of nutritional value.
If you do decide to feed your cat a homemade raw diet, make sure that your vet is on the same page as you. You should be consulting with them at every turn, ensuring that you are giving your cat a nutritionally complete diet and that they are not getting sick from the mishandling of contaminated meat products.
Ham, whether raw or cooked, is one food which you should make sure to keep an eye on your cat if they manage to consume. Although ham is not outright bad for cats, the high salt and fat contents may pose a risk to some, especially cats with preexisting conditions. Some of the ingredients that are often used to season cooked ham are also dangerous for cats.
Raw ham may not carry the risk of additional ingredients with it, but you do run a risk of your cat becoming infected with parasites or other diseases from contaminated meat. If you choose to feed your cat a raw diet intentionally, you should make sure to do so under the close supervision of a veterinarian.