Cats are carnivores, which means they follow meat and protein diets.
Pepperoni is a flavorful cured meat that combines pork and sausage: no wonder why our feline friends find it so appealing.
If your cat likes pepperoni or has accidentally eaten some, you may be asking yourself, “Can cats eat pepperoni? Is it safe?”
As a cat lover, I know the last thing you’d want to do is risk your kitty’s health.
I’ve done the research for you, and below I’ll explain if eating pepperoni is safe for your cat or if you’d better keep this tasty salami away from your furry friend.
Can Cats Eat Pepperoni?
The short answer is “no,” feeding pepperoni to your cat is definitely not recommendable.
While pepperoni is a type of meat, it contains spices and preservatives that are harmful to cats.
A feline that consumes too much of this spicy sausage can have uncomfortable (and even severe) side effects.
The spicy ingredients in pepperoni, such as black pepper, red pepper, paprika, and ground mustard, can affect your feline friend’s digestive system by causing diarrhea or vomiting.
Garlic can be really harmful, too.
This herb (like other plants belonging to the Allium family) contains thiosulphates and disulfides, which are toxic substances to both cats and dogs.
If your cat consumes anything with garlic, it could damage its red blood cells, causing conditions such as anemia (lack of enough healthy red blood cells) or methemoglobinemia.
The latter affects the normal functioning of red blood cells, preventing them from releasing the oxygen they carry into the rest of their body.
So, if you were wondering, “Will pepperoni hurt my cat?” now you know the answer is probably yes, especially if consumed in large amounts.
Why Is Pepperoni Harmful to Cats?
Pepperoni is harmful to cats not only because of the caustic spices and herbs already mentioned but also because of the nitrates in them.
The main preservatives in pepperoni are sodium nitrate (NaNO3) and sodium nitrite (NaNO2).
Both nitrates and nitrites preserve pepperoni’s flavor and prolong its shelf life.
If your cat overeats pepperoni or another cured meat with these preservatives, they can experience various minor to severe conditions, such as:
- Constant urination
- Muscular tremors
- Cyanotic mucous membranes
Unfortunately, animals with the most severe nitrate or nitrite poisoning cases could perish from anoxia.
Affected cats can collapse immediately and suffer either a heart attack or stroke.
Pepperoni is also harmful to cats because of its high levels of sodium.
Salt, or sodium chloride, can be poisonous to cats, even in small amounts.
Detrimental side effects can occur even if a cat ingests 0.5 g to 1 g of salt.
The average weight of a domesticated cat is eight to 11 pounds (3.6 to 4.9 kg), and consuming a few grams of salt for each kilogram of their body weight can be fatal for them.
Hence, even one human portion of pepperoni can cause hypernatremia or sodium poisoning for your feline friend.
However, your cat’s reaction will depend on different factors, such as their weight and overall health (if they’re allergic, for example).
Cats intaking excess sodium can cause side effects such as:
- Appetite loss
- A wobbly stride
- Constant urination
The worst side effects of salt toxicity may include tremors, seizures, or your cat going into a coma.
What Happens If a Cat Eats Pepperoni?
As mentioned in the previous section, this will depend on many variables: the amount of pepperoni your cat eats, their size, and overall health status (allergies or other pre-existing conditions), etc.
If your cat eats a tiny portion of pepperoni by accident, it will probably not harm them, or they will experience mild symptoms.
However, if your cat eats large amounts of pepperoni, you should watch them closely for the signs I listed and make a veterinary consultation as soon as you can.
What if My Cat Likes Pepperoni?
Due to all the associated health problems already explained, you should avoid feeding pepperoni to your cat, even if your feline friend loves it.
If you eat pepperoni regularly or occasionally, be sure to store it in a safe place out of your cat’s reach.
And if your cat keeps finding a way to steal some slices, you may want to stop buying pepperoni at all.
Can Cats Eat Any Other Types of Meats?
Sure, cats can eat meats such as cooked liver, chicken, and beef.
Even in moderation, cats can also have shrimp.
However, there are certain types of meat that cats should not consume, which I note below.
Can a cat eat turkey pepperoni?
Even though turkey is used in turkey pepperoni rather than the sausage and pork mix, you should not feed this to your cat.
Turkey pepperoni also has loads of sodium, nitrates, and spicy ingredients that are not good for your feline friend.
Can cats eat a little salami?
A little salami will not hurt your cat if eaten in small amounts.
However, the common ingredients in salami are black pepper, salt, and garlic.
Again, garlic and black pepper are caustic seasonings that could adversely affect your cat’s health.
Can cats eat bacon?
For every 100 g of bacon, there is about 380 mcg of nitrates.
As I explained before, this preservative is not good for your cat, so you should not feed bacon to them.
Can cats eat ham?
A small amount of cooked ham or deli meat ham is ok for your cat once in a while in small amounts.
However, you should not give your kitty large amounts of meat to use as a meal replacement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to your most frequently asked questions about other forbidden foods in a cat’s diet.
What happens if a cat eats pizza?
Cats should not eat pizza as cheese is not needed in their carnivore diet.
Felines are lactose intolerant, so pizza is not the best human snack to share with your furry friend.
However, if your cat sneaks a piece off the table, it should be ok if it is a small serving.
As long as the dough is cooked and not raw, it will not cause alcohol to accumulate in their stomach because of the uncooked yeast.
What are other foods strictly forbidden to cats?
There is a long list of forbidden foods that cats should not eat, which include:
- Caffeinated beverages
- Raisins or grapes
- Dog food
- Raw meat because of E. Coli or Salmonella in it
- Alcoholic beverages
- Raw dough with yeast in it
For the best health results, do not give table scraps to your feline friend.
This will lessen the likelihood of them consuming harmful food.
Pepperoni is a great meat for humans to top pizzas and other delicious baked bread.
However, its spicy herbs, preservatives, and sodium content are harmful to cats, so you should not feed this cured meat to your feline friend.
Instead, feed them their standard store-bought cat food or follow homemade recipes specially tailored for a cat’s meat-based diet.
And if your kitty sneaks a small bite of pepperoni, do not panic.
Probably, it won’t harm them. Look out for the signs I listed, and if they develop any symptoms, contact your vet for guidance.
However, if your cat has eaten large amounts of pepperoni, seek immediate veterinary help to avoid possible severe side effects.
Hopefully, this article has thoroughly answered your queries on this topic.
But if you still have questions, be sure to leave a comment below!