Can Cats Eat Bacon?

Sizzling hot bacon in a cast iron skillet
credit: VeselovaElena/iStock/GettyImages

It may be a universal law that bacon is the greatest food of all time. From the smell to the taste to the crunch, there may not be a more perfect food. This salty treat puts a smile on many a human face at breakfast time (or any time, really), and it's a great, occasional treat. Is bacon safe for our furry friends, though? Can we share bacon with our kitties, for example? Let's cross our fingers and hope our cats can indulge with us. And if not, it's alright, more bacon for us!

So, what's the verdict?

Drum roll, please! The verdict is yes. It is indeed safe for cats to eat bacon; however, bacon should only be given as a sometimes treat. As obligate carnivores, cats need meat in their diets and the savory and salty appeal of bacon is sure to turn their heads and please their taste buds. A small piece of cooked bacon will not harm your cat and is just fine as an occasional treat. Bacon is not recommended, however, as a daily treat for cats.

What are the concerns with cats eating bacon?

Just like humans, the biggest concern about bacon for cats is the extremely high amount of salt. One small slice of cooked bacon contains about 137.4 milligrams of sodium, which is close to ten times more than the daily recommended sodium intake for cats! Healthy brand name cat foods provide all the sodium content a cat needs and extra sodium is never needed in a cat's diet. Extra sodium, in fact, can be quite a detriment. Too much salt can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Dehydration
  • Salt Poisoning
  • Clogged blood vessels

Along with the salt, bacon is extremely fatty. Coming from the belly of a pig (or the side and back), bacon is absolutely covered in fat and oftentimes prepared without all of the fat being trimmed. This fat is wildly unhealthy, especially for a body as small as a cat's. Even turkey bacon, which is considered a healthier alternative to pork bacon, contains high levels of grease and sodium that can be detrimental to your kitty's health. Too much fat in your cat's diet can lead to digestive issues, obesity and other more serious health problems.

What about raw bacon?

Before feeding your cat any type of raw meat, always consult with your veterinarian. Raw bacon can be fine for your cat if the meat is truly raw and not cured. The meat must also be fresh. Make sure to take the necessary precautions with feeding raw meat like making sure your knife, cutting board, and your cat's bowl are clean.

Conclusion

Fully cooked, bite-sized pieces of bacon are appropriate for an occasional kitty treat. Do not feed your cat bacon on a daily basis! Raw bacon can also be alright for your cat under the advice and guidance of a veterinarian. Large quantities of bacon must be avoided due to the meat's high salt and fat contents. Too much salt or fat can lead to clogged arteries, obesity, high blood pressure and even salt poisoning. Cats are better off sticking to their grocery store cat foods but a small bite of bacon here and there should be just fine. So go ahead, share the love!

Learn more about other human foods your cat should or should not eat. Is garlic safe? How about ham? And don't forget about the bread!