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Can Cats Eat Prosciutto? Vet-Approved Nutritional Advice & FAQ

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat Prosciutto

Can Cats Eat Prosciutto? Vet-Approved Nutritional Advice & FAQ


Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore


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

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One might not think cats would be beggars like dogs when it comes to our food, but they can be! If your cat is constantly up in your meals, trying to get a taste of what they’re sure is delicious, you should know what’s okay for them to have and what’s not. A lot of people foods are acceptable for kitties in small amounts, but there are foods that are downright toxic to them.

So, what about prosciutto? Can cats eat it? It’s meat, so it’s probably fine, right? And it is fine as an occasional treat! However, prosciutto definitely isn’t healthy for your pet, so if you’re going to give it to them, you need to limit how much they get and how often.

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Is Prosciutto Healthy for Cats?

As a cat owner, you know that cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need to get most of their nutrients from meat. That means that prosciutto will offer your cat a few benefits. It has amino acids that cats need to build muscle, as well as vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B6 and B12, zinc, and iron. And as meats go, cured meats tend to be lower in saturated fats than fresh meats (though it’s still higher than your cat needs).

That doesn’t mean that prosciutto is healthy for your cat, though. In fact, there are several negatives about the meat that definitely outweigh any nutrients your pet may obtain.

Image Credit: beats1, Shutterstock

The Negatives of Prosciutto

The negatives of feeding your cat prosciutto really make it not worth giving your cat any. Though it isn’t toxic to them, there are things it contains that aren’t good for their health.

First and foremost is the amount of salt found in prosciutto. Cured meats are high in sodium, and this meat is no different. Cats can’t handle eating salt as well as we do; if they overdo it on the salt, it can lead to salt poisoning. Salt poisoning can lead to seizures, vomiting, dehydration, fluid retention, and even death. Though it isn’t likely that the amount of salt in a slice of prosciutto will cause salt poisoning in your cat, it’s still more salt than they need or require.

Then there’s the fact that cured meats, such as prosciutto, typically aren’t cooked, which can lead to parasites lingering. Though curing does kill parasites in meat if done properly, this is hard to guarantee, especially with home curing. So, there could be a chance that parasites, such as the roundworm Trichinella, could be lurking and could harm your pet.

Meat not being cooked also raises the risk of bacterial contamination, such as E. coli or Salmonella. Both of these bacteria can lead to your cat becoming extremely ill and suffering from swelling of the lymph nodes, weight loss, diarrhea, lethargy, and more.

But, wait—there’s more! Prosciutto is often cured using a variety of spices such as pepper and garlic. And some spices are toxic to cats—take garlic, for instance. Your cat eating garlic can result in a breakdown of red blood cells, a high heart rate, blood in the urine, and more. Prosciutto can also lean toward the spicy side, which can be bad for kitty depending on the kind of spice it is. If a spice with capsaicin is used, it can irritate the skin in and around the mouth and possibly lead to an upset stomach.

Finally, there’s the saturated fat in prosciutto. While it’s lower than other meats tend to be, the amount still isn’t good for your pet. Eating too much fat can cause obesity in cats, as it would with us. Obesity can lead to a shorter life span and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.

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Final Thoughts

If your cat has managed to grab a slice of prosciutto and gobble it down, you don’t need to be overly concerned, as it isn’t toxic. However, this cured meat isn’t one that should be given to your cat often. Though there are a few vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your cat can benefit from, it’s more unhealthy than healthy. Prosciutto has an abundance of salt, carries a risk of parasitic and bacterial contamination, may contain spices that will harm your cat, and has more fat than they really need.

If you want to give prosciutto to your cat every once in a blue moon as a bit of treat, it should be okay. But, overall, this isn’t a food that’s great for your feline friend.

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