It is fun how the internet can turn something that was never meant to go viral into the most talked-about topic. When Meatmen published a blog post asking if it was okay for cats to eat salami, they concluded the felines should enjoy the cured meat, but only as a treat. That became the start of memes going around with people posting sarcastic comments that end with “as a treat.” However, as internet users continue making light of the question “can cats eat salami?” we have to take it seriously to avoid misleading pet owners into regularly feeding their cats with salami. Here is why you should think twice before throwing that small piece of salami to your cat.
It has serious health drawbacks
Cat Tree Giveaway published that there is no straight-up answer to “can cats eat salami?” and it is up to the pet owner to make sound judgment based on what the vet advises. However, cat owners should know that salami is composed mainly of pork, which should be enough to avoid it as cat food. Pork usually has high-fat content meaning that with regular treats, your furry friend can develop obesity and diseases associated with being overweight such as diabetes mellitus.
Secondly, salami, being processed food contains a lot of salt. Salt, even in humans, should be consumed in moderation, therefore in pets such as cats and dogs, it can be toxic. While some believe that a cat can consume three times more salt than is necessary without risking their health, others have reported that too much sodium causes salt poisoning. As a result, you will observe a few signs that include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, non coordination, excessive urination or thirst, seizures, and tremors. In extreme cases, your cat can go into a coma.
Additionally, salami usually has some red wine as a preservative. Even if it is only a small amount, you should remember that a cat’s body is much smaller than ours. Therefore even that insignificant amount of red wine poses a risk to the feline’s health by overworking its liver and kidney as it filters toxins. In kittens, the effects can be lethal since even their organs are not yet mature enough to be put under such pressure of detoxifying. Some of the alcohol poisoning symptoms to watch out for include dizziness, dehydration, and low body temperature.
Salami is not complete without garlic, which Catster highlights as being toxic even in the smallest amounts. The article explains that garlic belongs to the allium family, and in massive consumption, cats’ red blood cells are damaged, resulting in hemolytic anemia. Moreover, garlic leads to gastroenteritis. Even if it is only used as a seasoning in salami, the belief that it does not harm as a treat is wrong; regular consumption will have serious side effects.
How to ensure salami does not cause harm to your cat
The general rule as The Spruce Pets details is that before feeding your cat anything that is not cat food, you must consult your vet. Therefore be it salami or pizza, check to see that your vet approves of your feline eating human food. All the same, most vets agree that while a few bites of human food may not cause any harm to your cat, regular consumption will. Consequently, even once you have a go-ahead, ensure that the salami remains the occasional treat, not a staple diet.
While this may seem a bit ridiculous, it is essential to know your source of salami. It can be hard to track down how even the salami is made, but the less sodium and seasoning it contains, the better for your cat. After all, the occasional treats still are being ingested, and you do not know how long your cat’s body will start getting side effects. Regardless of how little the salt is, the bottom line is that it is present in the salami, causing dehydration. Therefore once your furry friend snacks on the cured meat, you should provide it with enough water to wash away the excess sodium.
Should you continue eating salami?
Now that we have established that salami can be fed to your cat but only in moderation, are you not worried that the same health concerns you have for your feline could be yours to deal with later? In 2016, The Local published an article stating that WHO warned us that eating cured and processed meats, was as bad as smoking a cigarette. That may be a harsh comparison, but WHO said that salami and ham were among the leading causes of cancer, and once you eat 50g of processed meat daily, you have an 18% chance of developing colorectal cancer.
They clarified that the amount of meat consumed played a huge role in one’s chances of developing cancer, but Italians were not scared. One local butcher said his parents ate salami nearly daily, and his mother lived to be 91 while his father passed away at 97. However, similar to how you trace the source of salami to feed your cat, what you consume should also be of high quality. Italians cannot give up their lifestyle; hence they advocate for checking the quality of the products. Their opinion seems to be supported by a cancer expert who was the chairman of the WHO committee that warned us against consuming processed meats.
Professor Stewart said he would continue eating the foods because the aim is not to stop consumption entirely but to reduce intake. If at all a cancer expert is recommending that we should consume salami and other cured meats, it is no wonder that even pet owners find it challenging to stop feeding salami to cats; they are unable to stop eating it. All the same, now that you have the information, you are better placed to make informed feeding habits for both you and your furry friend.