Read This Before You Try To Feed Your Feline Bacon — Your Cat May Thank You!

If your cat is unexpectedly behaving and looking differently after consuming any human food, seek medical attention.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Mar. 18 2024, Published 2:30 p.m. ET

A black-and-white cat licks its lips while staring at a plate of bacon.
Source: iStock

It's Saturday morning, you just brewed the perfect cup of coffee, and your feline buddy is begging for the bacon in your breakfast (or, as a climate-conscious and ethical consumer, vegan bacon.) You pause and think to yourself if cats can safely eat pig-based meats.

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Cats may lick their lips and stare at you with wistful, cartoon-like eyes, but sharing your human food isn't always the best idea for our companion animals. Keep reading below to learn whether traditional bacon and other varieties are safe for cats to consume.

A smiling woman sits on top of a kitchen counter and feeds her black-and-white cat bacon bits.
Source: iStock
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Can cats eat cooked bacon?

Cats are carnivores and should consume safely prepared meats, but according to Petco, bacon is not one of them. Because cooked bacon is high in nitrates and not a healthful food for humans or animals, your cat will not receive the proper balance of nutrients necessary to function.

Additionally, the exceptionally high sodium content in bacon may lead to sodium ion poisoning, which can prove to be fatal for them.

According to Petco, even as much as 0.05 tablespoons of salt can be toxic to your cat, depending on their weight. Some symptoms to be aware of include vomiting, low energy, shaking, breathlessness (or panting), and diarrhea.

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Additionally, the grease accompanying your cooked bacon can cause severe illness, per Petco. The high-fat content present in bacon and its grease may lead to pancreatitis and, ultimately, death.

An orange cat attempts to swat raw bacon off of a white counter.
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Can cats eat raw bacon?

Humans who consume raw meat seem to proselytize about it until they're no longer alive to do so. Feeding any companion animal raw meat is controversial, and a veterinarian should be consulted before doing so.

Also worth considering is that a domesticated house cat has developed different taste preferences and their stomach may handle raw foods differently than both their ancestors and feral, unhoused cats.

According to the UAE-based Purina Arabia brand, raw bacon is not healthy for cats due to its high salt and fat content. Though Purina acknowledges it won't immediately prove toxic to your cat, it should never be a staple food in their diet and should not be cured or prepared with salt.

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A cat stares up at a frying pan with meat inside of it while on its hind legs in the kitchen.
Source: iStock

Can cats eat turkey bacon?

Cats should not eat turkey bacon, either. According to Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS, a veterinarian who writes about cat behavior and nutrition, turkey bacon will not provide sufficient nutrients. Additionally, Dr. Woodnutt writes on that feeding your cat any type of bacon may cause obesity.

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"Although turkey bacon is lower in fat, it still contains lots of sodium because it’s salt-cured. Hence, turkey bacon is still not a healthy option," writes Dr. Woodnutt.

Is bacon bad for cats?

Ultimately, any form of bacon should not be on your cat's plate, even as an occasional treat, due to the high potential for salt poisoning, obesity, pancreas problems, and stomach issues. There are a growing number of more ethical cat treats on the market and safer, more nutrient-dense foods they should be eating anyway.

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