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Health & Wellness

Can cats eat ham?

Technically, yes — but it’s not the best human food option.

So your cat spends more time counter-surfing than on the actual ground. Can you blame them? There are so many smells to sniff, taps to drink out of and it’s closer to being at eye level with you. But sometimes, their ability to jump on our kitchen surfaces puts them at risk of eating food, like ham, that might be unsafe for them. 

And while this human food might not be technically toxic to cats, it’s not the best snack for them. Read on to learn why ham is best avoided by cats and some pet-friendly alternatives you can share instead.

Can cats have ham? 

If you accidentally drop a piece of ham on the floor and your quick cat eats it before you can intervene, they’ll likely be OK, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, says. But if your cat has a negative reaction to this snack, contact your veterinarian. 

Feeding your feline friend regular bites of ham isn’t a good way to maintain their healthy diet. Not only is this food high in fat and salt, but cats won’t get any nutrients or vitamins from it. 

Are all ham varieties unhealthy for cats?

All ham types (regardless of flavor) aren’t great for cats. Processed meats, like honey or turkey-flavored ham, sausages and bacon, are all high in salt, fat and preservatives and cause obesity and upset stomachs (like vomiting and diarrhea), Dr. McCullough explains. 

RELATED: How to spot metabolic diseases in cats

Can kittens eat ham? 

Like adult cats, it’s best to keep ham away from kittens, Dr. McCullough says. But if your curious feline friend takes a nibble out of your ham sandwich while you’re not looking, they’ll probably be OK.  

What human foods can cats eat?

Even though ham might not be the best option to feed your cat, that doesn’t mean they can’t try other human foods. Cooked lean meats, like turkey or fish (which have omega-3 benefits), are great alternatives, Dr. McCullough says. 

And for the vegetarian pet parents out there, some vegetables and fruits are safe to share with your cat, too. Zucchini, green beans and peas are just some (of several) green options for your cat. Bananas, apples and blueberries are usually safe bets if they want a sweet snack. 

Always consult your veterinarian before giving your cat a human food snack (including commercial treats). And even if your pet’s doctor gives you a thumbs up to serve them a new food item, you should always limit it to less than 10% of their daily caloric intake. 

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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