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Can Cats Eat Pepperoni? What You Need to Know!

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

raw pepperoni

Those of us who have extra-hungry cats know that some felines will eat anything they can grab when our backs are turned. Pepperoni is something that most of us have in our kitchens from time to time, and it’s not uncommon for our cats to sneak a bite of pepperoni off our plate during pizza night. Cats are carnivores and can eat all types of meat, right? Unfortunately, pepperoni is not a safe protein source for cats for several different reasons.

Is Pepperoni Safe for Cats?

If your cat happens to get a bite or two of pepperoni, it likely won’t have too much of an impact on them. It is when cats start to eat pepperoni on a regular basis where this food becomes more dangerous. Again, limited quantities of pepperoni aren’t toxic for cats, but it certainly isn’t something that you should willingly feed them either.

pepperoni on a pizza
Image Credit: Jumpstory

What About Pepperoni is Harmful to Cats?

There are dozens of brands that make pepperoni, and each one has its own signature recipe with different ingredients. Some may have foods that are more dangerous for your cats than others. What they all have in common, though, are features that are very dangerous for felines.

1. Sodium

Pepperoni is a meat that is very high in salt. Only two grams of pepperoni have over 24 milligrams of sodium. Cats need less than 45 milligrams of salt per day. If your cat has happened to eat a lot of pepperonis, you might consider calling your vet to ensure that you don’t need to take them in for a visit.

2. Nitrates

Most pepperoni recipes include an additive called nitrates that help prevent the development of certain microbes. These nitrates can be toxic to cats when they eat them in large amounts.

sick cat
Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

3. Spices

You also need to think about all the different types of spices that give pepperoni its flavor. These meats often contain peppers and garlic that could create some gastrointestinal issues. If your cat is showing any of the following signs, you need to take them to the hospital right away:

  • Slobbering
  • Vomiting
  • Loose stool
  • Pale gums
  • Low pulse
Image Credit: Brett Jordan, Unsplash

What Proteins Are Safe for Cats to Eat?

Even though pepperoni isn’t a safe food choice for cats, there are plenty of other proteins that are. Cats are mostly carnivorous and eat a high-protein diet. Which of the meats are safe for cats?

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Deli meats
  • Fish
  • Eggs

All these foods are high in protein and beneficial for cats. Make sure that all meat is cooked properly to kill harmful bacteria that might make your cat sick.

cat eating raw chicken
Image Credit: ophiecat, Shutterstock

Foods to Avoid Giving to Cats

While many foods are safe for cats in moderation, there are a few that need to be avoided at all times. These foods are incredibly toxic and dangerous. If your cat happens to consume some, contact a veterinarian immediately.

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Bread dough
  • Xylitol

What if My Cat Likes Pepperoni?

As a cat parent, it is your job to control what your pets eat and how much of it they are eating. We understand that some cats can be a little demanding when it comes to food, but you’d be devastated if you allowed them to eat pepperoni and something bad happened to them. It wouldn’t hurt to give your cat a single bite of pepperoni occasionally. However, it isn’t necessary for a healthy diet and could create more problems. Even if they are begging, do your best to refrain from giving them pepperoni or other types of salami.

british short hair cat eating
Image Credit: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock

Are There Any Benefits of Pepperoni for Cats?

The only real benefit that a cat would get from eating pepperoni is that it is a good source of protein. As you’ve already learned, a high-protein diet is crucial for a cat’s health. In some scenarios, pepperoni could help a protein deficit, yet there are much safer ways to do this.

If there were ever a time where you absolutely had to give your cat pepperoni, it would be wise to feed them natural pepperonis with minimal seasoning that won’t be toxic or upset your cat’s tummy.

Final Thoughts

Resisting your cat’s begging face isn’t easy. All you want is to give them everything their heart desires. Unfortunately, you sometimes have to make the harder choice and refuse to give them foods that are going to harm them. Pepperonis are not a nutritious choice for your cats, especially when there are so many options that are readily available in most homes. Try to refrain from feeding your cats pepperoni and, instead, provide them with some freshly cooked turkey or salmon as a treat.

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