The short answer: Yes, but only in moderation.
The long answer: A type of processed meat that comes from a pork leg cut, ham can be eaten by cats who are known to be obligate carnivores. Ham is high in protein and iron, which are good for your cat. However, they are also often cured with salt and other preservatives, making them unhealthy for your furball. FelineLiving reports that cats can only take in 42 mg of sodium per day. Anything more than that will lead to dehydration and other health complications.
As long as the ham isn’t being given as a meal replacement, you can let your cat eat this pork type occasionally. Refrain from feeding onion or garlic-flavoured ham because these ingredients are lethal for your cat. Also, do not feed your cat ham slices that are glazed or accompanied by heavy sauces (most notably ham served during the holidays!).
How to feed ham to your cat: Before feeding a small slice to your cat, check the label to see the complete list of ingredients used to cure the ham. Better yet, buy from a reputable source. Choose the leaner deli cuts that do not contain spices or seasonings.
Cook the ham properly before giving it to your cat whether through baking or boiling. Never feed your cat raw ham. This may carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella that can cause illness or even death.
Here are three ideas for ham treats your cat will love:
- Give small slices of ham to your cat as her reward during training.
- Strained ham baby food can be turned into a tasty cat treat.
- Chop it up into small cubes, then add them to her wet food.
In summary: Ham may be enjoyed by your cat in small doses, but only if the meat is devoid of sauces, seasonings, or artificial flavourings. Always consult with your veterinarian before feeding your cat human food. Some cats are known to have pork allergies or intolerances. To be safe, feed her a small piece to see how her body reacts to it before including it in your roster of treats.