Is Pepperoni Safe for Cats? What to Do If Your Cat Gets Into a Pizza Box

Meat is a typical component of every cat’s diet, but not every variety has a positive impact on their health as we might think.

Rayna Skiver - Author

Apr. 26 2024, Published 12:27 p.m. ET

Close up of a person's hand holding a pepperoni in front of a black and white cat.
Source: ISTOCK

Can cats eat pepperoni? Well, we all know how persuasive pets can be — it can be hard to say no to their adorable faces. However, as much as we might want to share our food with them, it’s not always a good idea.

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Some foods can cause more trouble than they’re worth. To learn more about what types of meats you should avoid feeding your cat, as well as what kinds are okay, keep reading.

Can cats eat pepperoni?

Overhead view of a black cat hovering over a pepperoni pizza.
Source: ISTOCK

While a tiny bite of pepperoni probably won’t harm your cat, it’s generally best to avoid giving pepperoni to your cat. They might think that it looks delicious or appetizing, but the ingredients that make up the taste are actually what makes it so dangerous.

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First of all, pepperoni isn’t just plain meat — it can contain all kinds of spices, colorings, and preservatives, according to Catster. For humans, these types of things aren’t usually a huge problem. Even though foods like pepperoni aren’t healthy, we can usually consume them without worrying about any immediate toxic after-effects. Cats aren’t as lucky.

Pepperoni is very flavorful — spices like garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, and black pepper are expected. Similar to dogs, cats are very sensitive to certain ingredients. Garlic is often a problem for animals, and when it comes to cats, garlic is considered poisonous.

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If garlic is consumed, cats can experience serious issues within the stomach and intestines. This may appear as symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, or pale gums. It’s always important to contact your veterinarian if your pet is showing signs of serious illness.

Salt is also a no-no for cats. And like a lot of greasy foods, pepperoni is loaded with sodium. While cats can technically eat salt, their threshold is much lower than humans — just a single pepperoni contains their sodium maximum for an entire day. So, if they were to get into a box of pepperoni pizza, the consequences could be severe.

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To know if your cat is suffering from salt poisoning, look for the basic signs like vomiting and diarrhea, as well as symptoms such as increased thirst, lethargy, lack of coordination, and tremors.

Nitrates — the preservative used in pepperoni — can pose a risk to cats, too. Similar to spices and sodium, overconsumption leading to poisoning is the main issue. Keep an eye out for the same previously mentioned symptoms and signs if your cat has accidentally consumed something containing nitrates.

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Can cats eat salami?

Back view of a fluffy orange cat swatting a paw at a cured block of salami.
Source: ISTOCK

Just like pepperoni, there’s always risk involved if you choose to feed your cat salami. A small slice might not harm them, but it’s not exactly safe, either. It’s very high in saturated fat and salt, and it also contains a variety of spices — all of these factors can contribute to uncomfortable or even severe gastrointestinal problems, according to The Spruce Pets.

It’s also important to note that salami is a fermented product — it’s not cooked. This opens up the possibility of bacterial contamination, which could lead to your cat experiencing a high fever, dehydration, and other signs of illness. Again, always check with a vet for any concerns.

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