can cats eat lunch meat

Can Cats Eat Lunch Meat?

Yes, cat can eat small amounts of lunch meat with no problems..

..but be aware that lunch meat can be high in sodium (salt), cats are very sensitive to salt so they should not be given large portions of lunch meat as this could contribute to salt poisoning.

You should also be wary of giving your cat lunch meat which has seasonings such as garlic or any spicy seasoning.

The Dangers Of Lunch Meat For Cats:

As mentoned in most cases a bit of lunch mea tis not going to cause your cat any harm at all, however if your cat manages to consume a lot of lunch meat there are a few health risks:

High Levels Of Sodium In Lunch Meat Can Be Dangerous To Cats If Overconsumed

A small amount of salt in your cat’s diet is necessary for normal development however cats are far more sensitive to sodium than we are, this means that too much salt is very dangerous to them and can even cause fatalities in extreme cases.

While a few bites of deli meat isn’t going to cause them any problems regularly feeding them deli meat or even swapping their usual cat food for cold-cut meat can cause problems over time.

deli meat

Lunchmeat is quite salty even for humans, so if your cat gorges itself on it then there is a danger that salt poisoning could occur.

If your cat has devoured a whole packet of lunch meat they will probably be fine however there is a chance that they may show early signs of salt poisoning so watch out for any symptoms.

Salt poisoning can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Dehydration / extreme thirst

In very serious cases excessive salt consumption can even cause:

  • Seizures
  • Comas
  • Death

So by all means allow your cat to try some of your lunch meat but do not let them have a meal made up entirely of it as the excess sodium may cause serious problems.

Some Cold Cut Meat Seasonings Can Be Dangerous To Cats

It is not uncommon for deli/lunch meats to contain seasoning.

For example chorizo often contains pepper and garlic.


The reaction of your cat to different seasonings will depend on how much of the seasoning is present on the meat however cats are far more sensitive to some seasonings than we are.

Spicy Capsaicin In Lunch Meats

Pepper and other spicy seasonings contains capsaicin.

Capsaicin is what makes seasoning hot and spicy.

If your cat ingests it they can get watery eyes, a runny nose, stomach problems and even vomiting and diarrhea.

Most cats will refuse to eat anything that smells spicey because capsaicin is a well-known and very effective cat repellent , in fact one method that gardeners use to prevent cats pooping in their garden is to plant cayenne peppers around the garden perimeter.

Garlic Seasoning In Lunch Meats

Garlic, like onions, contains disulfides and thiosulphates which are toxic to cats. They can damage your cat’s red blood cells making it hard for the cells to carry oxygen and causing extreme breathlessness.

Garlic is extremely concentrated so even a very small amount of it can poison a cat.

Less than half a clove of garlic could make a cat very ill.

Garlic isn’t all that common a seasoning on lunch meats however some do contain it so always check the ingredients before feeding your cat any.

Even if your cat does eat lunch meat served with garlic they will probably be okay as the average cat would need to eat at least 1/3rd a clove of garlic to become seriously ill, which is much more than most lunch meats would contain.

Also Read:
Can Cats Eat Kidney Beans?
Can Cats Eat Quorn?
Can Cats Eat Prawns?

Can Cats Eat Chicken?

The Benefits Of Deli Meat For Cats

Cats are obligate carnivores.

This means they need to eat meat.

There are several stories floating around on the internet of vegan cat owners insisting that their cat also sticks to a vegan diet.

cat eating meat

While these people mean well the truth is your cat will never be anywhere near their best health if you refuse to feed them meat. In fact you are likely to cause health problems and significantly reduce their life span if you feed your cat only vegan food long term.

Lunch meat, deli meat, cold cut meat…whatever you want to call it, is high in protein, it’s exactly what cats need in their diet (minus the excessive salt).

Here are a few reasons why lunch meat is great for cats:

  • Protein is very dense and filling which means your cat will feel fuller for longer.
  • It is very lean.
  • It contains no excess carbohydrates which contribute to weight gain, so is a better choice of snack than many cheap cat treats which may be bulked out with carby fillers.

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