Can Cats Eat Turkey Lunch Meat?

There’s no doubt that they love meat, but can cats eat turkey lunch meat? Even obligate carnivores have their restrictions. Find out here if lunch meat is one of those!

Cats need meat to survive. They use the protein for energy, building muscles, and fueling bodily processes. When they don’t get enough of it, they can experience rapid weight and muscle loss, digestive issues, and even fluid build-up in their abdomen or chest, leading to many health complications. 

IMPORTANT: At, we regularly consult with licensed veterinarians and other industry experts. However, the information found on should not be viewed as veterinary advice. We do our best to help you better understand your cats, but the information on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance.

In this article, I share whether turkey lunch meat is a safe source of protein for cats!

Should Cats Eat Meat?

Many cat owners believe that giving their kitty anything other than commercial cat food will harm them. 

Store-bought cat food is filled with what your feline needs to be healthy, but giving them nutrients straight out of nature is even better! Lamb, chicken, beef, and turkey are all safe to feed your cat when cooked through and prepared with no harmful spices.

Some people feed their cats a raw diet, but if you choose to do this, you need to ensure that you follow all the safe preparation guidelines there are!

Can Cats Eat Turkey Lunch Meat?

It’s okay to feed your cat-cooked turkey every now and then, but you should choose a different type of meat for frequent serving. Turkey is safer than other deli meats, like ham, but it’s higher in cholesterol and fat.

Turkey lunch meat, in particular, is also packed with sodium nitrate. This chemical kills bacteria in deli meats and works well in human bodies, but that’s not the case for cats. 

When salt enters a cat’s body, it becomes a carcinogen. It can also cause heart, liver, and kidney issues.

The Benefits of Turkey Lunch Meat for Cats

Turkey lunch meat should only be given as an occasional treat. While its benefits for your kitty are limited, it does have some.


Turkey contains protein which is an essential energy source for cats. It also helps them develop lean muscles that aid in speed and agility.

Vitamin B 

Vitamin B supports your feline’s immune, nervous and digestive system. 


If your cat has healthy skin and a shiny coat, it’s thanks to the trace amounts of selenium in their food. Turkey is a great source of selenium, but your cat should still only have it in moderation.


Turkey has high phosphorus levels, and your kitty can significantly benefit from this!

Phosphorus binds with the calcium in your cat’s body to create calcium-phosphate, which helps grow and maintain healthy teeth and bones.


Turkey is also loaded with zinc which helps your cat’s mental health age well. 

You should remember to keep your cat’s zinc intake low since too much can irritate your cat’s digestive tract or lead to zinc poisoning.


The sodium content in Turkey lunch meat is exceptionally high and can cause salt poisoning in your cat if consumed regularly.

Cats need salt for proper development and growth, but you can easily overfeed them since almost every food they eat contains some amount of it.

Learn more about Is Ensure Good For Cats?

 Is turkey toxic to cats

Signs That Your Cat Has Salt Poisoning

When cats eat Turkey lunch meat, especially daily or together with other foods (even cat food) that contain sodium, they can get salt poisoning. 

Salt poisoning occurs when the electrolytes in your cat’s body are unbalanced, and their cells have trouble functioning as they should.

Look out for these signs if your cat has eaten high-sodium foods:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excess urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling
  • Vomiting

If you notice these signs in your cat, you should immediately get them to the vet. Salt poisoning is a severe adverse reaction to salt consumption, and your cat could die.

How Much Turkey Lunch Meat Can Cats Eat?

Cats shouldn’t eat more than two or three ounces of turkey lunch meat a week. 

You should serve it as a treat instead of a meal to limit its consumption.

Because it contains so much salt, avoid giving turkey lunch meat to your cats if their cat food already has a high sodium content or if you’re feeding them other foods that contain sodium too. 

Deli Meats That Cats Shouldn’t Eat

Plain-cooked turkey is an excellent alternative to turkey lunch meat! If you’re set on deli meat, though, you can try uncured, low sodium, or oven-roasted options. But, there are some that you should avoid feeding your cat.


Ham is one of the unhealthiest lunch meats you can feed your cat. It’s packed with fat, sodium, and preservatives. 

While animal fat plays an important part in your cat’s diet, the fat content in pigs is just too high for cats to consume regularly. 

If your kitty is lured in by the smell of ham, distract them with a safer option. If you struggle to say no when your kitty meows, the best you can do is avoid eating ham in front of them. 

To Sum it Up

If you’re biting down on a sandwich with turkey lunch meat and your kitty stares at you for a bite, you should offer them something else. They won’t get fatally sick from a little piece, but getting into the habit of feeding them bits of turkey lunch meat could turn bad.

Cats need protein to survive, but there are many other excellent sources of it that are healthier than turkey lunch meat!

I hope this article was helpful! If you have any unanswered questions, ask them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you!

Can cats eat turkey bacon?


Cats can safely consume turkey bacon in moderation.

Is turkey toxic to cats?

Cats can't eat turkey that has been flavored with spices that may be toxic to them, but plain boneless turkey with the skin removed is perfectly safe.

How much turkey can a cat eat?

You shouldn't feed your healthy adult cat more than one ounce of turkey meat per serving.

What happens if my cat eats lunch meat?

Lunch meat contains a lot of salt, and if your cat consumes it, they may experience salt poisoning.

Read more about Is Lunch Meat Bad For Cats?