Pepperoni is a favorite pizza topping everyone would love to share with others. Cats are meat lovers so pepperoni might be a good treat to share the fun of a pizza night. However, you might still have hesitations about whether to share it with your fur friend. Can cats eat pepperoni? Let us answer this question and learn more about it.

Is Pepperoni Safe for My Cat?

Anything consumed excessively is harmful. This saying goes as well for the treats you give to your cats. Cats are carnivores so can cats eat pepperoni? The answer is YES! It is flavorful meat that can be tempting to the feline. It is dried meat from beef and pork which is perfect for a cat’s taste buds. A high protein found in beans is also present in this meat.  However, some ingredients from it can be more harmful than you think. This will be discussed in detail in the next sections. 

Although there is no toxic ingredient in a pepperoni, bacteria might still be present. Raw meat is prone to contamination that creates the listeria or salmonella bacteria. The spices and pepper may also raise a concern. It may cause an upset stomach or indigestion to them which may also lead to vomiting or diarrhea. Prevention is better than cure when it happens.  

What Does Pepperoni Contain?

Businesses have their signature version of pepperoni. Each offers a different level of deliciousness and ingredient percentages that make it. Although, there are usual contents that might be a risk to the health of a feline. Still, can cats eat pepperoni? Yes, they can but with limitations. Continue reading to check how they can still enjoy this yummy meat. 


Salt is a common substance for processed meat, it is what makes up the flavor of most food. A slice of pepperoni already contains a high sodium level. A small slice contains about 32 mg of sodium and a typical slice contains 700 mg. Such levels are already high for human consumption so comparing it to a cat’s diet can be dangerous for their health. Excessive sodium in their diet from more than a slice of pepperoni quickly adds up. An acceptable sodium consumption per day for an adult cat is 21 mg sodium. A kitten with heart disease is much worse when the daily sodium limit exceeds. 

It is better to look out for these symptoms if you think that your cat has consumed more than it should have. 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Extreme thirst 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Seizures or incoordination

If they exhibit the above conditions, have them checked by the veterinarian. Too much salt consumption can bring them into a coma and be fatal for them when left untreated. 


Nitrate is an additive used in food preservation that helps in creating a longer shelf life. It keeps the red color in the meat and prevents the growth of bacteria. Another ingredient to watch out for that is harmful to a cat. This can be poisonous to cats if eaten in high quantities. Some studies also show a relationship between this substance to stomach and colon cancer in animals. 

Flavoring and spices 

There are a lot of flavorings and spices to create that strong yummy flavor in a pepperoni. To create that spicy kick in a pepperoni a mix of spices is used. Common mixes of spices are black pepper, red pepper, paprika, and garlic. With the considerable amount of spices combined, can cats eat pepperoni? A spicy intake will potentially create a stomach issue for a cat’s delicate digestive system such as stomach cramps and bloating.

Among the mentioned spices, garlic is known to be poisonous for cats. Garlic toxicity is a known condition for the feline. It can cause anemia or gastrointestinal issues. If you have noticed concerning symptoms in your cats after eating an amount of garlic, it is best to visit a veterinarian for a check-up. These symptoms may include the following: 

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pale Gums
  • Drooling 
  • Low energy

You may not be able to see these symptoms right after a cat eats garlic. It takes days up to weeks before it appears as anemia is caused by the red blood cells that are destroyed. 

Are There Any Benefits of Pepperoni for Cats?

There is no question that pepperoni is a good source of protein. It can be beneficial for a cat’s health, especially for those experiencing a protein deficit. It will be better to feed them a minimally seasoned pepperoni and be alert on how much they have eaten from it. But if you’re looking forward to preventing the risks it has, cheese, crackers, or canned tuna are options. 

Interesting Facts About Pepperoni

  • It came from the Italian word “Peperone” which means “bell pepper”. It is not impossible to receive a slice of bell peppers than a pizza with a sausage when you grab it in Italy. 
  • It is dried meat from a combination of beef and pork. 
  • The red color of pepperoni is caused by sodium nitrate which is an essential ingredient in making it. 
  • In the USA, 50% of pizza deliveries choose pepperoni as their topping. 
  • Pepperoni is also a spicy food even for cats because of the combined flavorings and spices it contains. 


As a conclusion to the question, can cats eat pepperoni? Yes! You can still give them a share of their pepperoni slice. Sharing the delicious food you are eating with your cat is fun. Considering the smoky spice taste from the pepperoni can be tempting to them compared to a sugary treat from a marshmallow which they cannot taste. Allowing them to enjoy the different tastes of foods. 

However, it is better to give them other food options they can enjoy without getting any health risks from it. There are a lot of food options that are considerably created for them. It is better to be safe than sorry so be a responsible fur parent in terms of giving food we share with them. Also, remember that control is the key to preventing any health risks to a cat’s diet from their eating consumption.

At The Lovable Cat, we believe that every cat deserves to be loved and cared about.

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