Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? All You Need To Know!

Cats Eating Beef Tacos 1

Are you here to know Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky and some facts around it? If yes, you are certainly in the right place. Let us find out more about Cats and Beef Jerky.

Cats are considered quite violent and ignorant creatures, and still, people prefer them as pets for specific reasons howsoever. Nowadays, we can find several pet owners with very loving and considerate; this accustomed behavior of cats has evolved for years and made them a charming pet choice for humans.

Cats are hardcore carnivores, but because of solicitous domestication nowadays, cats can pretty much sustain on a balanced omnivorous diet. But, biologically, a cat has nutritional necessities that are best fulfilled by a carnivorous diet regularly.

Cat, Pet, Licking, Animal, Tabby Cat

Their transition into a more tender environment has affected their genetic hybridization as a carnivore and made them sustain vegan foods like green veggies, grains, fruits, cereals, etc.

Although there are many vegan food choices as a human, cats are unlikely to thrive and achieve an elite growth rate on completely vegan food. They need a meat-based diet for maximal health benefits.

Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky is a variety of jerky meat produced from thin strips of cooked meat that is further processed into dehydrated chips texture having flavorful substances, preservatives, and various high-quality ingredients.

Beef Jerky is a pretty excellent snack for humans for a while, but if your cat is begging you to give them a piece of that beef jerky, it is recommended to avoid feeding them beef jerky.

Can Cats eat beef jerky

Although a cat’s diet should be meat-based, beef jerky is a packaged variety of meat that contains high amounts of preservatives and processing agents.

It possesses many nutritional benefits but could be potentially hazardous or toxic to cats due to the presence of extra additives while manufacturing the product.

Cats are naturally adapted to fresh, unprocessed meat that is free from any additives and preservatives. Instead of beef jerky that is artificially treated with salt and dehydration, cats would prefer eating small rodents like mice, small birds, and the flesh of a chicken.

What Happens If My Cat Eats Beef Jerky?

Even though feeding beef jerky to cats isn’t severely toxic for their health, the possible threats or disadvantages far outweigh the benefits.

Cat, Kitten, Pet, Striped, Young, Feline

Jerky is processed with elements that are proven to be highly toxic for cats. These elements tend to be harmful to humans too if consumed in large amounts, and cats are merely small creatures :

  • Preservatives (addition of chemicals for preservation of food)
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Nitrites
  • Sodium
  • Flavoring agents like salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and other spices

If you feed beef jerky to your cat, keep the quantity in moderation and don’t overfeed as it may cause retention of harmful preservatives in the cat’s body, resulting in vulnerable and deadly diseases in the long term.

Jerky has too much salt and causes thirst and dehydration in cats, creating problems if your cat is not a frequent water drinker. Ensure to hydrate your cat properly if it somehow eats beef jerky.

Can Beef Jerky Kill Cats?

Consuming beef jerky in moderation and infrequently won’t kill your cat. However, overfeeding may cause fatal health issues, sodium poisoning, fluid buildup, and severe electrolyte imbalance in the body.

Jerky, Food, Beef, Raw, Meat, Cooking

Beef jerky has a significant amount of protein and is low fat for a carnivore, but the artificial additives don’t biologically agree with cats.

As professional advice, vets would suggest you serve jerky to your cats only once a week as an occasional treat and ensuring proper hydration after the serving.

It surely won’t kill your cat, but it is better to avoid it and substitute various cat-specific treats like the cat jerky available commercially for minimal health risks and maximum nutritional benefits.

Can cats eat Teriyaki beef jerky?

Cats Eating Beef Liver 4

No, cats cant eat Teryaki beef jerky at all. Teriyaki beef jerky is made explicitly with a teriyaki marinade which includes ingredients like soy sauce, garlic extracts, ginger, and sugar. These ingredients are toxic for cats and have fatal effects if consumed in large proportions.

  • The presence of soy sauce adds more salt to the jerky that’s already very salty and potentially toxic for cats.
  • The sugar content adds the calorie count with no improvement in the nutritional values making it pointless to consume.
  • The garlic and ginger extracts present in them are toxic to cats in their natural form itself.

Other optional additives in the marinade like vinegar and sesame oil are also harmful to cats in some way or the other, so they should be strictly avoided and not fed to cats.

Can cats eat Jack Link’s beef jerky?

Cats Eating Beef 1

The Jack Link’s beef jerky is a manufactured jerky snack that is quite popular and tasty in Western countries.

Although it is claimed that it doesn’t contain MSG and nitrite contents, it is generally made by marination in several sauces and ingredients, including soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and various premium herbs and spices.

These all ingredients are flavoring substances and preservatives that are potentially harmful to cats and should be strictly avoided to prevent fatal disorders in your cats.

Can Cats Choke On Beef Jerky?

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Yes, if the quantity is not kept in moderation, cats could easily choke on beef jerky. The leathery and rubbery texture of jerky is unlike any other specific cat food, so they aren’t used or conditioned to eat that kind of textured food.

Cats cannot properly chew the jerky piece and eventually swallow it pre-emptively, thinking it’s already chewed well.

It may sometimes be fatal for cats’ digestive tracts, larynx, and intestines to consume such thick and rubbery textured food.

Though it feels compassionate to share everything you eat with your kitty, considering their health factor, you must avoid risky foods and choose those with minimal risks and maximum health benefits.

Can Cats Eat Slim Jims?

For those of you who don’t know, Slim Jims are similar to beef jerky, only the difference being that Slim Jims are meat strips with a mixture of beef, pork, and chicken.

It is also recommended that we give cats Slim Jims due to excessive salt and sodium present in them and other toxic ingredients like preservatives, sugar, seasoning agents, and fats that may harm the cat’s digestion and cause other body disorders.

Instead of feeding these possibly toxic foods to your kitty, go for fresh meat variants like chicken, pork, turkey, etc., or buy specific cat treats.

Why Shouldn’t Cats Eat Beef Jerky?

Along with certain body disorders like sodium poisoning, fluid buildup, and severe electrolyte imbalance, a large amount of sodium in beef jerky could cause sodium ion poisoning or salt poisoning, which has symptoms like :

  • Diarrheatic uneasiness
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Seizures and strokes
  • Abnormal fluid accretion
  • Fatigue
  • Various carcinogenic compounds in it cause cancer

Apart from disorders caused due to excessive sodium, the rubbery and leathery texture makes it difficult for cats to chew and moisten.

Most cat food isn’t of this texture, so they find beef jerky quite different and try to swallow without proper chewing, which may cause choking and many fatal indigestion issues if not kept in check.

White Cat on Black Textile

What Alternatives to Beef Jerky Are There?

There are commercially available alternatives of beef jerky that are free from all the harmful additives, preservatives, flavoring agents, and sodium compounds that aren’t suitable for cats.

Cooked Meat on Plate

They have a slightly easy-to-chew and naturally soft texture so they may not pose any risks for actual choking and indigestion in cats. These snacks are tailored explicitly for cats to consume and are more enjoyable and nutritious for cats.

Also, it is necessary to give your cat cooked meat every time because the raw meat may probably cause indigestion, food poisoning, or gastrointestinal problems due to the bacteria like salmonella, campylobacter, E.coli, and listeria.

Moreover, any form of fish(fresh or canned) is an excellent choice for feeding cats. It ensures the improvement of fur-coat texture, provides essential oils and several vitamins and minerals.

Does Beef Jerky Make Your Cat Dehydrate?

  • Yes, the consumption of beef jerky makes your cat severely dehydrated because the jerky is a form of dried meat with zero moisture processed excessively in salts, spices, and oils. All these ingredients and the processing technique are responsible for stimulating thirst in cats by the biological phenomenon of electrolyte imbalance.
  • So, every time you feed your cat with beef jerky, they will feel thirsty, and you must provide a refreshing drink for them to combat thirst.
  • Salt is a sodium compound and is one of the essential electrolytes of our body, which helps control the fluid levels in our cells. When we consume foods high in sodium, the water in the cells leaves via osmosis to restore sodium concentration across the cell membrane. This water loss causes dehydration, resulting in the stimulation of thirst.
  • This issue is usually resolved in humans because our food has decent water content, but cats don’t have any water content in any of their food. Hence, their body struggles to restore the electrolyte balance in the body.

Raw or Boiled Beef Meat? What Does the Cat Like to Eat?

The majority of the cats love to eat meat and fulfill their nutritional requirements by a carnivorous diet. You indeed must have been confused sometimes about how to feed meat to your cat—boiled or Raw?

Usually, the preference depends on the individual cat; some like to have it raw, and some prefer boiled and cooked. Cats are pretty intelligent creatures and tend to smell the protein content in the meat; they choose the one with the most protein. Strange superpower! Isn’t it.

It would be best to prepare a dietary routine for your cat that includes highly nutritious food with maximal health benefits and improves overall health.

Grilled Steak on a Ceramic Plate

In some cases, raw beef meat helps maintain an excellent urinary tract and nourishes the body with high-quality proteins, while some cats struggle to digest raw meat properly.

So, gradually introduce and observe different meat products to your cat and set a balanced diet chart for regular dietary requirements.

Generally, raw meat has pathogens and bacterias which can lead your cat to life-threatening infections like immunity issues, deformed jaws, and dental problems.

When we cook or boil the meat, it kills the pathogens and makes the meat product entirely safe for consumption and easy to chew and digest. For more specific details about feeding techniques regarding your cat, contact your veterinarian.

How Often Can You Feed Your Cat Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky shouldn’t be a regular or staple diet choice in a cat’s diet. Cats are predatory, and that’s why they don’t need fruits and veggies to fulfill their nutritional requirements.

Beef jerky is a dehydrated and processed meat made for longer preservation. Nowadays, it is widely used as a quick healthy snack option providing high proteins.

Steak, Meat, Beef Steak, Food, Beef, Eat

Several varieties of beef jerky contain different ingredients, flavoring agents, and preservatives that are hazardous for your cat’s health and have zero nutritional benefits if consumed regularly.

There are various flavors of beef jerky available commercially, like Teriyaki jerky, Peppered jerky, Barbeque jerky, and many more.

As a recommendation, you should feed only plain unflavored beef jerky to your cat only once a week and not more than that.

Flavors of Beef Jerky That Can Be Fatal to Your Cat

Beef jerky is best served with different flavors in its core and has its specialty in marination of those flavors deep in the meat, and the aromatic nature of the dish is worth a try. Potentially, all flavorings in beef jerky are harmful and toxic to cats.

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The additives, preservatives, and spices added for taste and aroma are not suitable for cats and need to be avoided at all costs. Suppose precautions are not taken regarding these spicy ingredients being fatal to cats.

In that case, they may develop a disorder causing Heinz Body Anemia, a life-threatening condition involving the destruction of RBCs in the body. Beef jerky is made in various flavors, which also prove to be hazardous for cats; some of the examples are:

  • Original
  • Teriyaki
  • Spicy
  • Peppered
  • Sweet and Spicy
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Habenero

The only flavor that could be fed as an occasional treat is plain and unflavored beef jerky.

The presence of all marination substances, spicy ingredients, herbs, and flavoring agents results in an imbalance of sodium and electrolyte disturbance affecting blood pressure, homeostasis, and digestion.


Can house cats eat beef?

Cats are generally meat-eaters and enjoy their cooked beef, turkey, chicken, and lean deli meats very well when served in moderation. Avoid giving them raw meat as it has a probable chance of making your cat sick.

Can you feed cats real meat?

Yes, you can feed natural meats to cats, which would adequately fulfill their nutritional requirements and provide them with all necessary vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, and fats.

Why Are Jerky Treats making pets sick?

Jerky treats sometimes harm the cat’s internal systems because of the food’s texture, ingredients, and form. Jerky has quite a leathery texture with various spices, sodium contents, and salt in it. Cooked and fresh meat is a good choice of food for cats. Still, the dehydrated rubbery jerky pieces make cats sick sometimes due to various issues like indigestion, immunity reduction, gastrointestinal disorders, heart problems, and weight gain

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!