Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? The Ultimate Guides For Pet Owners

3/8/2023 - 2 Comments

It’s worth noting that cats are obligate carnivores, which means their main diet should have meat. For this reason, many pet owners may assume that they can feed their fur babies almost all meat products, including beef jerky.

Beef jerky has been a delicious food for humans for several years. Your four-legged friends may enjoy this snack, too. However, can cats eat beef jerky? It’s a controversial debate among pet owners. What is the truth?

If it’s your first time keeping these adorable pets, you should feed them the right food to ensure their health. Let’s dive into this article to discover the answer!

What Is Beef Jerky?

Before answering the question “Can cats have beef jerky?”, it’s better to get an overview of this snack.

Beef jerky is a nutrient-rich beef snack cooked, cured, and dried to make it shelf-stable and ready to eat.

The manufacturers remove all moisture inside the beef, so this food can be in good condition for a long time without spoiling. Thus, it’s a good snack for on-the-go people.

Most manufacturers marinate their jerky products with liquid ingredients and seasonings. The main ingredient used in most dried meat products is salt, one of the natural preservatives.

Nowadays, manufacturers can make jerky products from different types of meat besides beef. Also, if meat is not your type, you can opt for vegan jerky.

Beef jerky

Why Do Cats Like Beef Jerky?

Unsurprisingly, your cats love eating beef jerky because of its attractive flavor and taste.

Moreover, as shared earlier, felines belong to the family of obligate carnivores. Thus, they mainly consume protein to get amino acids and vital nutrients.

These animals will not gain enough essential nutrients to survive without consuming the protein sources like beef, chicken, and fish.

For this reason, your fur babies may be naturally attracted to this food. Also, it smells tasty to them.

Furthermore, cats are curious creatures. They always want to explore everything around them, including beef jerky, even when they don’t like it.

Whenever you eat this snack, your pets may beg for some pieces. However, you may ask yourself: Is it bad to give my cat beef jerky?

Let’s keep reading to discover in detail!

Why cats love jerky

Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky?

Can cats eat jerky? No! Beef jerky contains artificial flavoring and preservatives, which cause sodium poisoning, allergies, and a choking hazard.

While your four-legged friends may not suffer health issues if you feed them this snack in moderation, it’s advisable to avoid it entirely.

Here are some reasons you should never feed your cat beef jerky.

#1. The Salt Content Is High.

If you overeat jerky products, you often feel thirsty and want to drink lots of water. That’s because the salt content of these meat products is high, which causes you to be thirsty when overeating them.

Salt created from sodium is among the main electrolytes in the human body. It controls the fluid level of the cells.

Eating food with high sodium levels will cause the water to escape from the body cells through osmosis to restore sodium concentration over the cell membranes, which makes you thirsty.

Is beef jerky bad for cats? Yes! Your cats experience the same if they eat beef jerky. Overeating food with high salt content will cause sodium ion poisoning.

Besides, overconsumption of these products with excessive sodium will also lead to heart problems and hypertension in cats.

High salt concentration

#2. The Jerky Texture Is Rubbery.

Most beef jerky products are available in rubbery or leathery textures, which makes it difficult for cats to chew.

This texture is dangerous for your fur babies. Their teeth are sharp but small to tear fresh meat apart.

These animals will find it challenging to eat these meat products. Thus, they will consume pre-emptively, which leads to a choking hazard.

#3. Additional Seasonings May Be Toxic.

Can cats have jerky? The short answer is no! Some added flavorings and preservatives will be dangerous for your four-legged friends.

Some manufacturers may add flavorings like spices, onions, and garlic to make their products more attractive. Unfortunately, all of these seasonings are toxic for felines.

For instance, garlic contains thiosulphate compounds, which may harm your pets’ red blood cells and cause hemolytic anemia.

Your cats require these red blood cells for oxygen transport around their body. Without them, your pets will become tired and struggle with high blood pressure.

Besides, eating garlic, onions, and other spices may lead to gastrointestinal issues in cats.

Additionally seasonings

#4. Silica Gel May Be Dangerous.

The manufacturers often add silica gel packets to absorb excess environmental moisture. Your fur babies may not know that these packets are not edible and consume them due to the jerky smell clinging.   If your pets accidentally ingest these packets, they may suffer from tummy troubles, like diarrhea.

Besides illness, another main issue with these packets is they are easy to suffocate on for your cats.

Does Beef Jerky Make Cats Dehydrate?

The short answer is yes! Beef jerky is one of the salty snacks with a high salt concentration.

Consuming high salt content means your cats take in excess sodium, which causes them to be dehydrated. That’s why they experience extreme thirst.

The high content of salt in these jerky products makes them tasty. Thus, your fur babies will beg you for some pieces.

Nevertheless, felines can’t stand this sodium level like humans. So think carefully before allowing them to try this snack.

Feeding your pets too much jerky leads to salt poisoning (hypernatremia) and kidney damage.

Do you still want to give your four-legged friends some pieces? Ensure you will provide much water for your pets later.

Besides, it’s worth noting that beef can be an allergen for felines. While feeding them beef jerky, monitor them carefully to check whether they are allergic to this meat. If that’s the case, stop giving your cats these snacks.

Generally, your fur babies may become dehydrated if they consume excessively beef jerky. Your pets will show the following signs if they suffer from this issue:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Stumbling
  • Dark urine
  • Clumsiness
  • Low energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors/seizures
  • Discolored skin, gums, and lips

These products cause dehydration

What Happens If Your Cats Eat Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky may cause some adverse side effects for your cats after consumption, depending on the amount you feed them.

While these snacks are high in salt, and the ingredients may be toxic for your pets’ digestive system, they won’t suffer from severe illness if you only provide them with a tiny piece of jerky.

However, don’t feed your fur babies beef jerky often because they may love these products and want more.

These snacks seem innocent, but they will lead to severe health problems, such as dehydration or kidney damage.

See more cat pictures at: Cat Images

What To Do If Your Cats Eat Beef Jerky?

If your pets accidentally consume a tiny piece of beef jerky, don’t worry because they won’t experience severe health issues.

However, if your cats eat a large amount of these meat products, you must find ways to take them away from your pets to avoid choking hazards.

If your fur babies overeat beef jerky with many seasonings and preservatives, visiting your vet is best.

These professionals will decide whether your pets are at risk. After that, they will let you know the signs to monitor and when to bring them to the clinic.

Practical solutions

What Are The Best Beef Jerky Alternatives?

What to give your pets if beef jerky is not suitable? Let’s consider the following alternatives. Your fur babies will surely love them!

#1. Jerky Cat Treats

You can feed your four-legged friends beef jerky specifically manufactured for cats.

These treats don’t have any additives, preservatives, or sodium that may be toxic for felines. Also, they are free from harmful flavorings.

The texture of these products is also suitable for your pets. It’s soft and natural, so your cats will find it more effortless to chew. As a result, the risks of choking hazards are significantly lower.

#2. Low Fat & Unprocessed Meats

Meat sources, such as lean chicken, turkey, and beef, are excellent options for a safer and healthier snack.

Furthermore, you should give your pets cooked meat. While they can consume raw meat, they are more prone to intestinal infections due to bacteria.

#3. Cooked & Canned Fish

Fish is a beneficial option for your pets if you cook it properly. This food contains many healthy oils, which are great for beautiful glossy coats.

You can also provide canned fish for your fur babies. However, ensure these products don’t contain oil or brine to avoid sodium poisoning.

#4. Homemade Jerky

It’s a good idea to make homemade jerky for your pets. It’s much safer and more healthy for your four-legged friends.

You can refer to the recipe in this video:

Healthy alternatives

In A Nutshell

Can cats eat beef jerky? The answer is no! The ingredients, seasonings, and preservatives cause sodium poisoning or choking hazards for your pets.

Instead, you can consider safer and healthier products, such as lean meats, cooked and canned fish, or homemade jerky.

If you notice your pets overeat these snacks, you should consult your vet to have timely treatments.

If you have other questions, feel free to comment below. We will reply to them as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading!

See more:

Can Cats Eat Steak? What Cat Lovers Need to Know

Can Cats Eat Chicken Nuggets? 3 Proven Risks You Must Watch For

Can Cats Eat Smoked Salmon? 7 Possible Risks You Must Know

Can Cats Eat Pork? Pro Tips For Feeding Your Cat

Can Cats Eat Steak? What Cat Lovers Need to Know

About Billy Nguyen
I'm Billy Nguyen, currently CEO/Founder Cat Images, with over 3 years of experience in cat care and training. I hope the knowledge I share brings useful value to promote your pet care effectively.

Leave a Comment