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Can cats eat salami? The great debate

Salami is OK as an occasional treat for cats. Or is it?

They’re obligate carnivores, so meat should be the primary component of a cat’s daily diet. Chicken, rabbit, and fish are obvious choices, but is it OK for cats to eat salami?

A cured sausage consisting of fermented air-dried meat, salami is considered OK for a cat to eat. However, the way it’s processed, and some of its ingredients, render salami particularly unhealthy meat that no cat should have on a regular basis.

There are differing opinions when it comes to feeding cats. Some people say cats thrived well enough on the same foods we ate before the invention of proper cat food and so give them human foods.

Others strongly believe cats should only eat food developed specifically for cats. Then there are those whose cats eat cat food and a little human food now and then.

Once you’ve finished reading, will you decide to let your cat have salami or not?

Can cats have a little salami as a treat?

Cats have no concept of treats but do tend to relish certain human foods that are not ideal as part of their daily diet.

A little salami is OK as an occasional treat for your cat but be careful because they can actually develop an addiction to such meats.

You may rue the day you decided to offer salami to your cat when you can’t open the packet in peace anymore!

A cat sniffing a slice of salami.

Is salami safe for cats?

Its main ingredients are pork and beef which cats can eat on a regular basis, so technically speaking, salami should be a safe meal for cats.

However, as salami is air-dried and fermented rather than thoroughly cooked, there is an occasional chance of it being contaminated with bacteria and parasites.

A cat’s digestive system is known for coping well with some bacteria but certain strains such as salmonella can prove fatal. Symptoms of bacterial food poisoning to look out for include vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite for that last more than one day.

Freezing salami for three days kills parasites but most of the time it is eaten fresh from a deli counter. Parasites are reasonably easy to treat but are still not a pleasant experience, especially if it’s tapeworm your cat contracts.

So if you are about to share salami with your cat, consider these points and maybe you’ll decide it’s not a safe cat snack after all.

Other reasons why salami is dangerous for cats

High salt content

Salami is unsafe for cats when they are fed too much of it. Its high salt content can quickly lead to sodium poisoning.

Cats should not eat more than 40 mg of salt per day and a half-ounce slice of salami contains about 200 mg.

You can see how a cat could easily be subjected to a salt overdose if it regularly eats salami even the smallest sliver of salami. Signs to look out for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and excessive thirst.

If left untreated, salt poisoning can lead to kidney damage, seizures, and even death so if you suspect your cat has overindulged in salami, consult your vet as soon as possible.

Slices of salalmi.

High calories

Cats can easily become overweight if they snack on human foods such as salami. Obese cats are at risk of developing diabetes, heart problems, joint problems, and dying prematurely.

An overweight cat becomes inactive and lethargic. This often leads to boredom eating which perpetuates the problem.

So limit the amount of salami you offer your cat – no matter how much it implores you.

High fat content

Salami is high in unsaturated fat. Though cats need some fat in their diet, they don’t need the added dose that salami offers. It will only increase their chances of becoming obese.

Too many spices

Apart from salt and fat, salami is infused with various spices that could easily give a cat an upset stomach – not something many owners relish dealing with.

If you insist on letting your cat have a taste of salami, make sure it’s as plain as possible.

What deli meats can cats eat?

Chorizo, pancetta, prosciutto, ham, and pepperoni are just some deli meats most cats will eat, given the chance. But that doesn’t mean they should eat them.

As per salami, only feed a cat a very small amount of any deli meat and not on a daily basis. All the same reasons for this advice apply.

Can cats eat cooked pepperoni?

Feeding a cat pepperoni poses similar risks to it eating salami and any other deli meats. Whilst a cat can safely eat a sliver of pepperoni picked from your pizza, there really is no point in it having even a taste of this salty meat.

Though cats can have pepperoni, if you want to really spoil yours with kindness, offer it a healthy snack option such as a plain, roast chicken. As opposed to pepperoni, chicken is low fat, low salt, low calorie, and high in protein.

Whereas pepperoni can create health risks for a cat, chicken is a perfect treat.

A cat with a roast chicken but dreaming of salami.

Can I give my cat prosciutto?

As per other deli meats, a cat won’t come to any harm if it eats a small portion of prosciutto.

Prosciutto is similar to ham and is produced from high-quality pork leg. The meat is covered in salt to draw out the blood.

Though the salt is washed off, prosciutto still has a very high salt content making it unsuitable for cats in more than the smallest quantity.

Can cats eat salami and other deli meats? The verdict

Cats are precious and as their caring owners, we should only feed them the best food to maintain their health. We owe it to them! Salami has no place in a cat’s food bowl!

Cats will happily snack on salami, pepperoni, and many other types of deli meat. They don’t know the health implications. However, we do! And in our hearts, we know they should not eat these salty, processed meats.

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