Cat staring at a plate of raw bacon. Photography © anmbph | iStock / Getty Images.

Can Cats Eat Bacon? Get the Facts

Can cats eat bacon? And if cats can eat bacon, SHOULD they? What happens if a cat eats bacon? Let’s look at the facts surrounding cats and bacon here.
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Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat; their bodies simply require it. (On the other hand, dogs are considered scavenging carnivores, which means they are primarily meat eaters — but they could survive on plants alone if absolutely necessary.) But what about meats like bacon? Can cats eat bacon? And if cats can eat bacon, should they? 

Bacon a plate.
What exactly is bacon and can cats eat bacon? Photography by Bottaci / Shutterstock.

The Basics About Bacon

Before we answer the question, “Can cats eat bacon?” let’s look at what bacon is exactly. Bacon belongs to the pork family, which is one of the more versatile meats that we include in family meal planning. But pork and its counterparts — like bacon and ham — are loaded with sodium, fat and calories that our cats should receive in very small doses.

Should Cats Eat Bacon?

So, can cats eat bacon? Technically yes. Having too much bacon might make them immediately ill (more on that later), but the bigger problem is that bacon can have some negative long-term effects on our felines. Many cats — especially as they age and are kept strictly indoors — do a lot more sleeping than hunting or playing. They really need a careful nutrition profile to counteract their lack of movement.

With a sleeping schedule of 16 to 20 hours per day (yes, you read that correctly), it doesn’t leave much time for the cat’s body to burn off the dense calorie profile of bacon or any other pork products. Bacon especially contains a lot of sodium and fat, which is no better for pets than it is for us.

Simply put, eating too much salt can lead to the following conditions for your cat:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Obesity
  3. Dehydration
  4. Clogged blood vessels

Can Cats Eat Turkey Bacon?

Cats eating turkey bacon isn’t a better alternative to your usual bacon, either. Turkey bacon should also be fed to cats in very small doses due to the high amount of sodium and preservatives required in making the product.

Can Cats Eat Bacon Bits?

You might also be wondering, “Can cats eat bacon bits, then?” Again, you should avoid the artificial bacon bits that you may sprinkle on salads for the exact same reasons why over-processed, sodium-rich products are not a great idea for your cat’s wellbeing.

Can Cats Eat Bacon Raw?

While it’s generally important for any type of pork product to be cooked thoroughly to avoid parasites, you can feed your cat an occasional piece of raw bacon. However, the lack of actual health benefits is still present so you are strongly advised to consult with a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist before feeding your cat any type of raw meat.

Cats Can Eat Bacon as Treats?

So, when should you feed a cat bacon? Bacon and bits of ham are particularly good to hide pills on a short-time basis, or as a high-level reward (think after a nail-trimming session or a trip to the vet). Remember: If it’s an occasional treat, it will likely be appreciated that much more by your cat.

“We love our pets and want to give them treats, but we often don’t think about treats from a caloric standpoint,” says John P. Loftus, PhD, DVM, at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “It adds up over time. Better to show our love in ways other than food.”

What Happens If Your Cat Eats a Lot of Bacon?

If your cat unexpectedly ingests a hefty portion of the bacon you were going to serve to guests at a Sunday brunch, you may find that he gets an upset stomach and eventually vomits (so watch where you step). But the likelihood is that he’ll be just fine, and hopefully you have extra bacon to cook for your guests!

Thumbnail: Photography © anmbph | iStock / Getty Images. 

Read more about what cats can — and can’t — eat on Catster.com:

Can cats eat …

9 thoughts on “Can Cats Eat Bacon? Get the Facts”

  1. About two months ago, a female cat appeared at my door. She was clean, flea-free, and spayed. Someone had to have discarded her! I feed the same quantity of dry cat food to her as I do to my male cat. He’s svelte, and she’s chubby! I’ve reduced the amount of food I feed her to 1/4 cup.

    both in the morning and evening She’s always asking for more, more, more. I throw any food left in my male cat’s dish away since she will eat it.

    1. Most spayed female cats put on weight. This kitty was probably in the house just eating and sleeping with no real exercise. Is this what is taking place now in your home or is she outside? Dry foods are full of fillers that go right through them therefore in a short time are hungry again. A good dry food is Purina kitten chow. Kitten food has more protein and vitamins. Maybe a trip to the vet to rule out worms or diabetes. The bottom line is she is still hungry. As her now fur parent you need to find out why. Also cats are different just like people.

  2. Nutritionally-Informed

    Hi;
    I would encourage pet owners who feel inclined to inform themselves, that despite the fact that there are (potentially) minor problems with bacon w.r.t. sodium, and nitrites, animal fat should be very well metabolized by an obligate carnivore, and I would be much more concerned with the corn and other carbs, that are in cat food.

  3. So what I get from this article is it’s best not to feed our cats bacon at all. No matter how it comes. And as the article says, as they age we must become more cognizant of their diets.

  4. My boy is 13. I have helped him successfully fight diabetes when he was 8, and then get surgery after he got blocked twice when he was 3.
    Not to be disrespectful of the author, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I would only give my boy his flavors of wet food and nothing else
    Then again, that’s just me. Only an overprotective father :)

  5. Inside or outside cat? If outside I bet you are not the only one feeding her. If inside, YOU are responsible for the amount of food she eats. A normal size cat will eat about a can of wet food a day. (Wet/canned food is better because cats rarely drink enough water.) Dry food will make them fat and overeat because it is sprayed with a compound that addicts the cat to the food. They will eat until they explode.

    Do not EVER put a cat on a crash diet. It leads to liver problems. Cut her food back just a little bit and make her lose the weight slowly.

    I think if you switch to canned food and closely monitor her food intake she will be fine. Wet food is more filling and the cat will not get as hungry between meals. Feed 2-4 times a day.

    Good luck and I hope this helped.
    Randy

  6. A female cat showed up at my door about 2 months ago. She was clean, had not fleas & was spayed. Clearly, someone dumped her! I feed here the same amount of dry cat food I feed my male cat. He’s skinny & she’s FAT! I’ve cut back on the portions I give her to 1/4 cup

    morning & evening. She’s alway demanding more, more & more. If my male cat leaves any food in his dish I put it away because she will eat until she is stuffed.
    What can I do about here weight gain. Do I further reduce here food in take to 1/4 C a day?

    Thanks,
    Anne

    PS your ap insists I enter a url for my nonexistent website, so I entered yours!!!

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