Can Cats Eat Pepperoni?
If you’re a busy cat owner, like me, then you’ve definitely had one of those times when you’ve forgotten to stock up on cat food. When such times come about you feel the compulsion to give your cat whatever’s in the fridge.
She should be able to eat whatever you eat, right? Have you ever had one of those moments where pepperoni was the only thing left in your fridge and you thought “It tastes fantastic, let me give her some!”? Well, here’s a question for you: can cats eat pepperoni?
Pepperoni, as you may already know, pepperoni is a popular pizza topping. Here we’re talking about the type made from American salamis. It’s meat, so it definitely must be good for your cat, right? This cured meat is soft and just overflowing with flavour. Your cat, no matter how picky she is with her food, is bound to love it too bits. It’s also got a nice juicy red color. What’s not to love!
There’s a reason why pepperoni has such a distinct flavour and taste: its sodium content. This is part of the reason pepperoni tastes like pepperoni. However, what makes it so great for humans also turns out to be what makes it terrible for cats.
Pepperoni is just too salty for a cat. A single slice of the stuff is packed with about 100 milligrams of salt. That’s a lot! Would you like to know how much sodium is packed into an entire slice of pepperoni pizza? 683 milligrams! Cats can’t handle that much pepperoni. Go to any vet worth their salt (pun intended) and they will quickly tell you that the recommended amount of salt that should go into a cat’s belly is 21 milligrams a day. Giving your cat a single slice of pepperoni pizza is equivalent to pumping over 30 times the recommended daily portion. If that’s not the definition of an overdose then I don’t know what is.
That said, your cat could very easily suffer from severe salt poisoning if you feed her with pepperoni. You can tell your cat is suffering from salt poisoning if you see certain symptoms in her. These include nausea, diarrhoea, the lack of appetite and extreme lethargy. If you notice your cat doing a drunken walk, experiencing little seizures, and producing particularly copious amounts of urine, then those are clinical signs of salt poisoning.
The easiest way to help your cat get over the poison is by giving her something like plain boiled meat to help ease her stomach. Do this as soon as you notice clinical signs of salt poisoning. If it doesn’t work, you’ll have to rush her to the vet.
Salt poisoning is a strong reason why you shouldn’t feed pepperoni to your furry little friend. Exposing your cat to so much salt content at once is not considerate, and she’d probably tell you she doesn’t appreciate it, if she could. However, as bad as it is, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Pepperoni is a cured meat, meaning it goes through the same processes that other cured meats go through to help them last longer. Cured meats are have nitrates added to them to prevent the growth and proliferation of harmful bacteria and make them last longer. Nitrates also add a lot of flavour to cured meat and contribute to the distinct taste and flavour of pepperoni.
Again, what’s good for the human isn’t necessarily good for the cat. Nitrates can be, and frequently are, poisonous for cats. In this respect, cats aren’t the only creatures that experience nitrate poisoning; it’s also common in other animals like horses and canines. There are some clear symptoms of nitrate poisoning in cats, including the lack of an appetite, extreme lethargy, and profound weight loss. That’s another reason why you should keep pepperoni away from your cat.
If you still aren’t convinced by the salt and the preservatives, how about all the spiciness of pepperoni? Pepperoni is right up there on the scale of foods that are simply too spicy for cats. With ingredients like garlic, black pepper, and red pepper, pepperoni is basically a ticking time bomb waiting to go through a major spicy explosion in your cat’s belly.
One of the worst things you can give to your cat is garlic. Garlic is not a good food to feed your cat because she can go through some adverse reactions to it. It can cause severe gastrointestinal irritation. She can also experience severe inflammation of her intestines and stomach. This won’t happen quietly, letting your cat move on with her life. She will be experiencing a tonne of pain the whole time and might experience other auxiliary effects, such as damage to her red blood cells and give your cat low white blood count.
There are some obvious symptoms that can tell you when your cat is suffering from garlic poisoning. If you notice she’s weak, has no appetite, and is producing dark, wine-red urine, then she’s likely suffering from garlic exposure. You shouldn’t waste any time in getting her to the vet as her life will probably be depending on it.
What’s even worse about giving pepperoni to your cat is that your cat doesn’t always know what’s good for her. She only has a grand total of 500 taste buds in her tongue. You, on the other hand, have north of 9000 taste buds. That means your cat probably won’t be able to taste the spice in the food she’s eating and it will be already too late by the time the signs show. It’s your responsibility as a pet parent to keep such foods away from her.
But What if Your Cat likes it?
Can cats eat pepperoni? Yes. Should they? No. But what happens if your cat develops a taste for the spicy pizza topping? What do you do then? Remember to be firm with her. Under no circumstances, whatsoever, should you give in to your cat’s demands. She might give you that cute stare that is the bane of all cat parents. However, you should think about all the damage pepperoni could do your cat’s body. Some of these symptoms could even kill your beloved pet if not severe enough. That’s why you should remain firm and not give the spicy cured meat to her.
Sometimes, when your cat gives you a hungry look, she’s simply telling you she’s hungry becase she hasn't ate for long. It might not be that she’s developed a particular fondness for pepperoni. One thing you can do is increase how frequently you feed her.
Topping it up
Can cats eat pepperoni? Yes, but it’s risky and a bad idea. Pepperoni can lead to some serious health effects in your cat and cause severe stomach pain at the least. You should keep pepperoni away from her and stick to healthier alternatives like certain cat foods instead.
Remember, your cat is like your child. She won’t always know what’s good for her and will sometimes rely on you to make the right choices on her behalf. Being firm about not giving her some foods shows her you love her.
As appealing as it can seem, pepperoni is not good for your feline friend. The sodium content in it alone can cause some serious problems for your cat. Your cat’s digestive system might not have been well equipped by the billions of years of evolution behind it to deal with a food as spicy as pepperoni either. And don’t even get me started about the tonnes of preservatives found in pepperoni that could pose some serious health risks to your cat.