What could be better than bacon? It’s crispy and amazing, and a hugely popular part of the classic American and English breakfast.
Let’s face it, your cat is going to be interested in the bacon on your plate.
While cats are carnivores, it’s not a given that cats can safely eat bacon. Bacon has a tendency to be processed, cured, and loaded with salt.
While that all makes it taste better for humans, it makes the answer to the question “can cats eat bacon?” a little complex.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- Cats and Bacon, What You Need to Know
- Can Cats Eat Bacon?
- Can Cats Eat Raw or Uncooked Bacon?
- Can Cats Eat Turkey Bacon?
- Can Kittens Eat Bacon?
- Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Bacon
- Alternatives to Bacon For Cats
Cats and Bacon, What You Need to Know
Bacon as we know it today is a type of cured pork, and is cured either by soaking in a brine (essentially salt water) or simply with dry salt. It is then usually smoked for flavor.
It is thought that bacon originated in the United Kingdom back during the middle ages when meat preservation was a big problem.
Because meat was so precious and so hard to keep fresh, anyone who didn’t have a steady flow of access to fresh meat (which was basically everyone back in the day) had to get a little creative, and drying the meat by salting it was a great way to make the meat last all winter long.
Nowadays, bacon is easy to find and easy to prepare and is especially popular as a breakfast food. But it’s something that even human beings should consume in moderation because it has an extremely high fat and salt content.
While cats fare best on a meaty diet, bacon really isn’t the best meat to offer your feline friend because of all the salt, additives, and inevitable grease.
This cat enjoys a tiny piece of bacon as a treat. See how small the piece is?
Can Cats Eat Bacon?
While bacon isn’t poisonous to cats, it’s not the best cut of meat for them to enjoy. Bacon is extremely high in saturated fat, salt, and grease.
Cats can safely ingest roughly 40 milligrams of salt per day, and one tiny slice of bacon contains nearly 140 milligrams!
If you absolutely can’t resist your cats begging, you can offer them the tiniest bit of bacon once and a while as a special treat. But keep these warnings in mind:
- Plain bacon is best, so avoid flavored bacon.
- Make sure to dry off the grease with a paper towel before offering your cat a piece of bacon.
- Only offer them a tiny, tiny quantity- no bigger than an inch long.
- Don’t make a habit out of it. Giving your cat bacon every day or even every week is a recipe for disaster and can lead to obesity and other health issues.
- Watch your cat carefully to make sure the bacon isn’t making them sick. Digestive upset such as vomiting or diarrhea are sure signs that the bacon isn’t agreeing with them. If your cat becomes ill, skip the bacon next time and bring them to the vet if the symptoms don’t clear up within 24 hours.
Can Cats Eat Raw or Uncooked Bacon?
Raw bacon and uncooked bacon are two different things.
Raw means that the bacon is just a raw, thin slice of pork that has not undergone any special curing or salting process.
In short, raw bacon isn’t the type of bacon you can easily find at the supermarket. This kind of bacon, because it lacks all the additives and salt, is relatively safe for your cat.
However, there are risks associated with feeding your cat raw meat, so do your research beforehand and make sure you’re comfortable with the chances.
Uncooked bacon is simply a piece of bacon that hasn’t been heated up and cooked on a skillet. While it will be less greasy than cooked bacon, it still contains all the additives and salt that make bacon unhealthy for cats and isn’t any better than cooked bacon.
We didn’t think it was possible, but we found one: a cat who doesn’t like bacon.
Can Cats Eat Turkey Bacon?
While turkey bacon is often hailed as a healthier alternative to pork bacon, it still isn’t great for cats because the additives and salt are still present. While turkey bacon contains fewer calories than the traditional pork variety, it also contains less protein.
While turkey bacon is a little healthier for humans, it’s still not healthy for cats.
You can feed your cat a tiny bit of turkey bacon as an occasional treat, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s somehow better than regular bacon for your kitty.
Can Kittens Eat Bacon?
Definitely don’t give your kitten bacon. Kittens are still growing and will be the healthiest if fed a diet of high-quality kitten food, such as Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth, which is grain free and lists meat as the primary ingredient.
Your kitten definitely doesn’t need the grease, sodium, and saturated fat in bacon.
In fact, their tiny digestive systems might not be able to handle it and bacon could make your kitten sick.
It’s also not a good idea to get too creative with your kitten’s diet because you want them to get used to eating cat food. If your kitten were made aware of the existence of bacon, why on earth would they want to eat the boring old dry food you put in front of them every day?
Bacon is ok in very small quantities for adult cats, but not a good idea for kittens.
Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Bacon
While bacon does contain quite a bit of protein, the same can be said for most meats. And bacon contains a ton of additives and salt which isn’t healthy for your feline friend.
That being said, the only real value of bacon lies in your relationship with your beloved kitty. As long as you don’t go overboard, sharing a bit of bacon with your cat can strengthen your bond and is a great way to give your kitty a special treat.
But before you make your cat a full English breakfast (hint: don’t do that), you should be aware of the negatives of bacon for cats:
- Bacon contains roughly 140 milligrams of sodium per slice, 3.5 times the amount your cat should consume a day.
- Bacon often contains quite a bit of additives, none of which are healthy for your cat.
- Bacon contains quite a bit of saturated fat and grease, all of which can cause digestive upset in your cat.
Alternatives to Bacon For Cats
Pet food companies know that cats love bacon, and thanks to that the pet industry has crafted a huge variety of bacon flavored cat treats.
Honestly, as long as the treat is meat flavored, your cat probably wont mind if it’s not made from pork. The best cat treats for your cat are ones that are soft, grain free, and made from high quality meat such as Blue Wilderness Cat Treats.
If it’s just pork that your cat is after, ham can be a healthier alternative to cured bacon. You can offer them small pieces of unflavored, low sodium ham (but still only give them a tiny bit.) Cooked turkey is also a good meat alternative to bacon, as it contains fewer calories and is generally less processed.
So, Can Cats Eat Bacon?
Generally speaking, it’s better not to give your cat bacon. But if your cat is really obsessed and you can’t resist their begging, you can offer them tiny pieces of unflavored bacon as an occasional treat.
Be sure never to give your cat bacon more than once and a while, and make sure they are truly small pieces! One small slice is way too much and can make your cat ill.
Is your cat a bacon fiend? Do they come running over every time they hear that telltale sizzle from your kitchen? How do you treat your cat to “bacony” goodness without compromising their health? We want to hear all about it in the comments!