Is there anything (to meat-eaters) better than bacon? Whether it’s part of your breakfast, sprinkled on pizza or pasta, or put in a sandwich, bacon is a popular meat and while the traditional bacon is made from pork, it’s easy enough to find turkey bacon and meatless bacon!
But is bacon as popular to cats as it is to humans and furthermore, is bacon safe for cats to eat? (After all, it’s not the safest thing for humans to eat, particularly the traditional pork bacon). Can cats eat bacon?
Short answer: Cooked bacon in a small portion is generally quite safe for cats to have. So yes, let your cat have a small piece of your bacon for breakfast once in a while, though don’t be surprised if they keep begging for it!
Do Cats Like Bacon?
Most cats will at least be curious about bacon and will likely be attracted to its smell. Cats are designed to eat meat and (most) bacon is meat, so they will be curious and probably want to eat some of it themselves. Cats also just tend to wonder about what we humans are eating, so the combination of meat and if my human is eating it, I should be too’ is probably what’s making your cat so noisy while you cook breakfast in the morning.
I haven’t had a cat specifically beg for bacon, but they will certainly eat bits that fall to the floor. I also had one cat who was quite curious about the bacon-flavored dog treats and would sometimes lick one! And many other cat owners have their own stories about cats going after bacon, so there certainly is something there that cats like.
Do Cats Hate Bacon?
I haven’t met the cat that hates bacon, but I’m sure they exist. Cats have their taste preferences like any human or other animal does after all. In this case, it could be the salt that puts them off or the texture. But who knows with cats: it could just be that on a time you offered, they felt contrary and wandered off instead of eating it.
If your cat isn’t into bacon, don’t worry about it. They should be getting the bulk of their dietary needs met through their regular cat food anyway, so missing out on a bacon treat isn’t going to hurt them.
Can Bacon Kill Cats?
A small piece of bacon, by itself, will likely not kill your cat, but there are some things to keep in mind in the long term.
Bacon is very high in salt, fat, and grease, all of which can be quite damaging to your cat’s health. Too much sodium for example can quickly lead to high blood pressure, obesity, dehydration, clogged blood vessels, heart problems, and other issues.
Grease and fat also takes it toll, causing a cat to become sick faster and lead a less than healthy lifestyle. Remember that a cat is much smaller than you are, so it takes a lot less of the bad stuff to start doing damage.
Turkey bacon is just as problematic for this as pork bacon, so don’t imagine that it’s better to give your cat. Turkey bacon may have fewer calories, but it still has a lot of sodium and preservatives.
Most of the issues around a cat eating bacon are long-term. But bacon could pose a small risk of choking and a cat could be allergic to some of the other ingredients in packaged meat. (It’s pretty unlikely and if you want to mitigate that, get your bacon from a local butcher so you know exactly what is in it).
Eating too much bacon at once can make a cat throw up, mostly because it’s not food that your cat is used to. The grease can also upset their stomachs, so make sure they can’t get near the bacon pan! But a cat shouldn’t sustain any lasting harm from a small piece every once in a while.
How Much Bacon is Safe for Your Cat?
Assuming that your cat had no negative reaction to bacon the first time it tried a piece, then a safe amount is usually the equivalent of one slice of bacon every couple of weeks, or a small bit of a slice every few days.
Cats should not eat bacon bits because they tend to be overloaded in salt, sodium, and preservatives which are very bad for your cat’s health. Artificial bacon bits are even worse of course since they don’t even have real bacon in them!
Cats can eat raw bacon, but only if it’s fresh and from a clean source like a good butcher. You want to make sure that the bacon is as fresh as possible to prevent bacterial contamination that can cause stomach problems and illness.
If you’re concerned, cook the bacon to prevent bacterial infection, and don’t let your cat get raw meat. Personally, I’d only let my cat have cooked bacon, just to be sure that any bacteria is long dead before my cat eats the treat.
There’s really not much in terms of health benefits for cats when it comes to bacon, other than a bit of protein. Any benefits are swiftly offset by all the sodium and fat in bacon, so it’s definitely not something you should use as a meal replacement. Instead, bacon makes a good treat to have cats take medication, get a reward for putting up with a grooming session, or a little bit as a treat for being just a good kitty.
In short, cats can generally have a small piece of bacon once in a while and suffer no ill effects. Most cats will quite enjoy bacon and will happily eat a piece or two if offered (or they might steal a piece or two if left unattended!)
Make sure to limit how much bacon your cat eats in one sitting though or else they may end up with an upset stomach for their trouble and you’ll have a mess to clean up later. And of course, bacon is not something cats should be eating every day, or they will suffer long-term health consequences.
Does your cat like bacon? Has your cat ever stolen some bacon off your plate (or licked a bacon-flavored treat meant for another pet?)