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Can Cats Eat Spam? Our Vet Answers & Explains

Written by: Dr. Luqman Javed DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat

Can Cats Eat Spam? Our Vet Answers & Explains


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Spam, stylized as SPAM, is a brand of processed canned meat (originally pork and ham) made by Hormel Foods Corporation. The term SPAM is an anagram for the phrase “Sizzle Pork And Mmm”. Despite SPAM tasting yummy to us, it is not something you should feed your cat. Even though most varieties of SPAM are not poisonous or toxic to cats, it contains a number of ingredients that can deter your cat’s health if they consume it over a large portion of time.

To get a better understanding of whether or not your cats can eat SPAM, keep reading. In this article, we thoroughly explore whether or not cats can eat SPAM.


Can Cats Eat SPAM?

The answer to this question is complex, as there are several varieties of SPAM, and whether or not a particular variant is safe for cats depends on its ingredients. As a general guideline, here is a summary of the popular varieties of SPAM.

This Variant Is Safe for Cats & Nutritionally the Best Option When Compared to Other SPAM Products
  • SPAM Oven Roasted Turkey – Contains safe ingredients and has a favorable ratio of protein to fat.

Please note that while the Roasted Turkey option is the best when compared to other SPAM varieties, it’s still not nutritionally healthy for cats.

These Variant Are Safe for Cats But Are Best if Excluded From Your Cat’s Diet
  • SPAM Classic
  • SPAM Lite
  • SPAM 25% Less Sodium
  • SPAM with Real HORMEL Bacon
  • SPAM Teriyaki

None of these products are toxic for cats; however, they are very unhealthy in terms of their nutritional yield.

These Variant May Pose Substantial Health Risks & Should Be Avoided
  • SPAM Maple Flavored
  • SPAM Hickory Smoke Flavored
  • SPAM Hot & Spicy
  • SPAM Jalapeño
  • SPAM With Tocino Seasoning

These products contain seasons or flavorings that can be harmful to your cat, as their safety in pets hasn’t been assessed. They are, however, safe for human consumption.

If your cat snuck a bite or two of SPAM when you were not looking, whether or not you should be worried depends on the product itself.

It can definitely be overwhelming keeping up with all the different varieties of a product to ascertain if something your cat ate is harmless or whether or not you should take them to the vet right away.

As a general rule, almost all SPAM products are very unhealthy in terms of their nutritional composition, and some might contain flavorings or ingredients that cats shouldn’t have. Cats would not be deprived of nutrition if they aren’t fed SPAM. Therefore, it’s best to not include SPAM into your cat’s diet as a conscious decision.

Instead, you should look for species-appropriate treats for your cat that wouldn’t cause unnecessary complications or worry.

Photo Credit: lonsdale_007, Shutterstock

Obesity Risk

Obesity is unfortunately on the rise in cats. SPAM can definitely contribute to an overweight pet, as it’s incredibly nutritionally dense. This is in part due to the product’s history. It was used as a wartime “delicacy” of sorts – a meat product with high caloric yield and an incredible shelf life was well appreciated by soldiers in times of war. However, this does mean that the product is quite fattening and unhealthy for cats.

Other Risks

Many other health risks are associated with SPAM consumption, depending on the product your cat consumes. Several SPAM products contain flavoring, which is made from substances and ingredients safe for human consumption but not intended for animal consumption. Therefore, depending on the precise ingredients, the amount your pet consumes, and their general health status, you might end up dealing with issues ranging from an upset stomach, vomiting episodes, or other more concerning signs.

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What Happens if My Cat Eats SPAM?

If you are making your favorite lunch and your cat happens to take a bite or eat the entire can of SPAM while you are not looking, you should double check the ingredients on the product. If your product doesn’t contain toxic or dubious ingredients, your cat should likely be fine. However, it would still be a great idea to monitor them closely for any signs of distress.

Because of how salty and savory SPAM is, your cat is likely to love it. If you are worried about your cat consuming too much SPAM at one time, you can call your veterinarian and talk to them about what to do. With most varieties of the product though, a small bite shouldn’t be too worrying.

It is important to remember that even safe-to-consume SPAM may cause a negative consequence on your cat’s health if your cat eats SPAM consistently over a long period of time. For example, feeding your cat SPAM for dinner every night can have serious long-term consequences.

If you have been feeding your cat SPAM consistently for some time, you should understand that doing so isn’t in your cat’s best interest, and this is definitely something you should stop doing. You may also want to talk to your vet to make sure your cat is in good health. Listen to your veterinarian if they give you any recommendations about your cat’s wellbeing.

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What to Feed Your Cat Instead

Cats are carnivores at heart, meaning that they require a lot of animal protein for optimal health. Because of how common cats are in households today, you will be able to find a variety of commercial cat food at just about any grocery store you go to.

However, not all commercial cat food might be appropriate for your pet, as their needs will change depending on factors like their age, sex, size, neuter status, level of activity, and overall health status. It is important to find high-quality cat foods that aid your cat’s health while keeping them full and satisfied. You can talk to your vet for recommendations. They may also know of cat food selections for cats with specific needs or illnesses.

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Other Foods to Avoid

Even though most varieties of SPAM are not toxic for your cat, there is a long list of foods you should not feed your cat. It is generally a better idea to only feed your cat food or a meal plan approved by your vet. Foods meant for human consumption, especially processed food, vegetables, and fruits, are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

Here are the most important foods to avoid feeding your cat:

  • Expired Pet Food
  • Caffeinated products
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit seeds
  • Fruit stones (like a peach pit)
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Milk (most cats are lactose intolerant)
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Raisins
  • Any candy or processed foods meant for human consumption

cat paw dividerFinal Thoughts

Even though most varieties of SPAM are not toxic to cats, you would be wise to avoid feeding this canned meat to your lovable feline. SPAM is considered unhealthy for cats, and it may lead to obesity and other negative health effects over time. However, if your cat manages to sample a small amount of SPAM while you’re not observing them, they would likely be okay. It is still best to consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat doesn’t seem well after having some SPAM.

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Featured Image: Lyskionva Irina, Shutterstock

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