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Can Cats Eat Bologna? What You Need To Know!

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

slices of bologne

Bologna is not safe for cats to eat, mainly because it contains nitrates and spices that are harmful to cats. This type of lunch meat is highly processed, and most humans will choose not to eat this meat.

Most cat owners will incorporate meat into their cat’s diet to increase their taurine intake, however, bologna lacks this essential amino acid so there is no beneficial health reason to feed this meat to your cat.

In this article, we will be giving you all the answers to whether bologna is safe or harmful to cats and why.

Do Cats Like Bologna?

Bologna is known for its delicious taste and irresistible smell, which is why it can become addictive for cats. Cats have a strong sense of smell and will readily eat bologna if it is offered to them. However, should you be giving your cat bologna as a treat or supplement to their diet?

Bologna is made from very low-quality meats that are mashed together. It smells good to cats and cats tend to be curious about what their humans are eating. If you have been enjoying a bologna sandwich recently, you may have noticed that your cat stares longingly at the food.

Most cats will not show much interest in this meat, especially if it has been heavily seasoned with peppers and other strong-smelling seasonings. Some cats will turn their noses to bologna, but other curious cats may be interested in tasting it. Bologna is far from an ideal treat you should be giving your cat for a variety of reasons.

slices of bologne
Image Credit: Bologna lunch meat style sausage, Glane23, Wikimedia CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Can You Give A Cat Bologna?

Feeding your cat a small amount of bologna will likely not harm your cat, but if you feed it often, it may have effects on your cat’s overall health. bologna should not become a regular part of your cat’s diet and should instead be replaced with safer human-grade meats and their main diet.

Cats find it difficult to digest most human foods, so introducing highly processed meat into their diet will not do well with their digestive tract. bologna is processed with a lot of sodium which has no place in a healthy cat’s diet. This can lead to increased thirst, possible dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. It is for these reasons that we recommend avoiding feeding your cat bologna and other processed and seasoned meats and cold cuts.

The corn starch found in bologna is particularly hard for cats to digest, and the additional seasoning can cause further digestive issues.

Why Is Bologna Unhealthy for Cats?

The typical seasonings and ingredients found in bologna meat consist of:

  • Mortadella
  • Coriander
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice
  • Celery seed
  • Myrtle berries
  • Corn starch
  • Nitrate
  • MSG
  • Paprika
  • Fats
  • Preservatives

Myrtle is toxic to both cats and dogs, and it is a common flavor enhancer in bologna. This plant contains vinca alkaloids which have chemotherapeutic effects in humans and toxic principles in most pets.

Most cold cuts of bologna are considered processed meat by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). It can be processed by smoking, curing, or using chemical preservatives which are not ideal or healthy for cats.

Bologna also has large strips of fat deposits throughout the meat which are unhealthy for your feline. These fat deposits increase release of pancreatic enzymes needed for digestion and may result in a serious condition known as pancreatitis.

ring bologne
Image Credit: Ll1324, Wikimedia CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

What Human-Meats Are Safe for Cats?

Although bologna is not good human-grade meat for cats, there are other options to choose from. This can include cooked lean meats, such as beef, turkey, liver, chicken, and lamb.

The meats should be thoroughly cooked and free from harmful preservatives, growth hormones, seasonings, and other harmful spices. Never give cats raw meat and always ensure that you remove the fat and skin before giving it to your cat.

These safe human-grade meats can be incorporated into your cat’s diet as a treat and should not form part of their main diet unless you are feeding them a home-cooked diet (that includes cooked meats, vegetables, fibers, vitamins and minerals) that have been recommended by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

Final Thoughts

If you do decide to feed your cat bologna, it should be a small unseasoned piece of this meat. Bologna will likely not kill your cat if it does eat a small portion of bologna, but if they eat it regularly the health complications associated with feeding this meat to cats can.

A small piece, typically the size of your thumbnail will probably not harm your cat if it is fed on occasion. However, since there are so many different meat alternatives that are safer for cats, it is not worth feeding.

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