Feeding

Can Cats Eat Salami

cat looking at the salami on the table

A while ago, a friend of mine asked me if it was okay to give her cat a slice of salami occasionally. Trying to keep it simple I told her that salami wasn’t healthy for cats. However, a couple of days later my friend told me that she found some articles on the internet that claim otherwise. So, I guess it’s time to address the topic properly. Can cats eat salami? Actually, it’s the wrong question. Cats can and most likely will eat salami. But is it healthy for them? Or is it harmful?

I won’t give you a straight answer right away because there are many kinds of salami with different ingredients. So, I’ll start by presenting the facts about salami and usual salami ingredients.

What Is Salami

Salami is a kind of cured sausage. Typically, it is made of pork. We don’t know when the first salami was made but we know that meat fermentation is several thousand years old. So, it’s an old way of preserving meat, but it never lost its appeal. Today, there are many different kinds and various recipes. For example, pepperoni is an American type of salami made of beef and pork, and spiced with paprika or some kind of chilly pepper. Usually, additional ingredients include salt, minced fat, garlic, spices, and herbs.

Cats and Salami

The basic ingredient for salami is meat. Well, meat is good for cats, so it may appear that salami can be good as well. In theory, it is possible, but it is highly unlikely. Cats need and love meat, but when it comes to salami, it’s about other ingredients. It takes a lot of salt to prepare and produce salami, and salt is not good for our furry companions. Truth be told, cats can tolerate salt pretty good. So, even if it’s not healthy, it’s not a big deal if your Fluffy eats something salty now and then.

Most often salami contains garlic and some spices. Now, it’s getting serious. According to ASPCA, garlic is toxic to cats and even small amounts can cause poisoning. Garlic contains chemicals that damage or destroy red blood cells. The worst part is that it’s not obvious. It can take a couple of days before the symptoms appear. Severeness of a condition depends on the quantity of ingested garlic as well as your cat’s weight, type of breed, and overall health.

In moderate cases of garlic poisoning, cats will fully recover. Complications are possible in more severe cases. If you wonder what to do in case of garlic poisoning, don’t. Just call your vet. Usual symptoms of garlic poisoning are stomach discomfort, fatigue, rapid and shallow breathing, pale gums, and increased heart rate.

Other salami ingredients such as herbs and spices aren’t good for your cat either. They might not be dangerous, but it depends on the amount and type of herbs.

So, it’s obvious that salami can pose a serious threat to your cat’s health.

Is There a Safe Kind of Salami for Cats?

Yes. If salami is made of meat and fat with moderate amounts of salt, it can be safe for cats. But, good luck with finding it. After thorough research, I have found a couple of types, but they all contained an unspecified mixture of herbs and spices instead of garlic. These herbs may or may not be safe for cats. So, in theory, you can find safe salami, if you can track down all ingredients and check them out. But, do you really want to go to great lengths just to find a salami that your cat can eat as a treat occasionally? I wouldn’t, but it’s your choice eventually.

Maybe it’s a better idea to stick to proven formulas and healthy food for your cat. You can buy ready-made cat food, or you can prepare it yourself. It is a bit more difficult to calculate the amounts if you are making homemade meals. But, keep in mind that your cat needs lots of proteins, a moderate amount of fat, and just a little bit of carbs if any. If you prefer a homemade diet, I recommend consulting your vet to create a balanced diet for your Fluffy.

Final Thoughts

There are many myths and false opinions when it comes to cat food. You can find all kinds of crazy ideas about cat food on the internet. It goes from the ideas that cats know exactly what they need, to vegan and raw food diets. My advice is to trust no one but your vet. Ignorance can be as dangerous as deliberate wrongdoing. So, stick with the things that you know and always check newly acquired knowledge with experts. 

As for salami, don’t give it to your cat. Cats might love it because of meat and fat, but it’s the garlic and spices that can be seriously harmful to cats. There are quite enough of healthy alternatives out there to avoid risking your cat’s health.