While beef jerky is a popular snack for humans, should we be sharing it with our cats? Since it’s certainly meat, and cats are carnivores, what’s the harm?
Unfortunately, a lot of pet owners don’t pause to consider how the food they are eating may affect their pets, and end up sharing a meal with them that can actually be quite harmful.
Today, we’ll take a look at the case for and against beef jerky, and determine whether you should be giving it to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky?
Cats shouldn’t eat beef jerky, as it contains a lot of seasoning and flavorings that can be harmful to them in larger quantities. While an occasional bite of beef jerky should cause no harm, don’t make it a habit.
Beef jerky made for humans is high in salt. And while we have no problem with large amounts of sodium, cats can’t eat salt. Even a small overdose can lead to dehydration in a cat. This can then lead to further health complications, like kidney failure or stomach upsets.
Some of the seasonings used in beef jerky are also toxic to cats, including onion and garlic powder. While it most likely won’t do much harm in a very small amount, eating too much of it certainly will.
Beef jerky can contain a lot more sugar than is good for a cat. There is also the choking hazard small dry bits of meat pose for cats.
Ultimately, sharing a tiny bite of jerky with your feline companion shouldn’t be harmful. However, in order to ensure your cat is as healthy and happy for as long as possible, stick to giving them cat food and cat snacks.
Can Cats Eat Organic Beef Jerky?
Cats shouldn’t eat organic beef jerky, as it is made with the same ingredients as regular jerky that are just organic. While a healthier option for humans, it’s still a bad choice of snack for a cat.
Organic beef jerky is just as high in sodium as the regular kind, and the types of seasonings used in it are the same too. While it shouldn’t cause any harm in occasional small quantities, you shouldn’t give your cat organic beef jerky as a snack.
Can Cats Eat Chicken Jerky?
Cats shouldn’t eat chicken jerky, as it is just as full of sodium and seasoning as beef jerky. While these ingredients make it more tasty for humans, they also make it harmful for cats.
Chicken jerky is essentially no different than beef jerky, it’s just made from a different kind of meat. The manufacturing process and seasoning list is usually quite similar.
The high salt and seasoning content in chicken jerky won’t harm your cat in small doses, so don’t worry if they snuck a bite of two of it. However, you shouldn’t be giving your cat chicken jerky as a snack.
Can Cats Eat Teriyaki Beef Jerky?
Cats shouldn’t eat teriyaki beef jerky, as it is both high in salt, and can contain large amounts of garlic which is toxic to cats.
Teriyaki beef jerky is just like regular beef jerky in the eyes of a cat. It’s a delicious meaty snack that should be kept well away from them, as its ingredients are bad for them.
Cats need very little salt in their diet, all of which they can get from their regular food. The large amounts of sodium in any kind of jerky can thus seriously harm their health.
The garlic and onion seasonings found in jerky are also toxic to cats. While they should do no harm in small amounts, they can still lead to an upset stomach. Large quantities of jerky can seriously harm your cat.
Can Cats Eat Dried Beef?
Cats shouldn’t eat dried beef, as it is full of sodium and different seasonings that are bad for them. A bite won’t hurt them, but don’t feed your cat dried beef on a regular basis.
Cats love their meat, so if they notice you are eating dried beef, they will sit themselves down next to you and ask for a bite. No matter how tasty it is though, dried beef is high in sodium and seasonings that can be toxic to cats in large quantities.
To ensure your cat stays healthy, give them snacks made specifically for cats.
Is Beef Jerky Toxic To Cats?
While beef jerky is not toxic to cats, some of its ingredients can be toxic in higher quantities. This includes salt, onion and garlic powder and other preservatives.
Giving your cat the occasional bite of beef jerky should be perfectly fine. However, you should never leave a bag where they can get at it, nor leave any of your own beef jerky unattended.
Can Beef Jerky Kill Cats?
Theoretically, too much beef jerky consumed in one meal can kill a cat. While this is not the likelist of scenarios, it is still possible, especially if your cat is older or already has certain health conditions.
The large amounts of sodium in beef jerky can overload your cat’s kidneys and digestive system, and cause severe dehydration. This can lead to both permanent organ damage, and even death in severe cases of sodium poisoning.
Can Cats Choke On Beef Jerky?
Cats can choke on beef jerky when given large pieces of it. SInce its texture is nothing like that of cat food, your cat may not be able to chew it properly.
Cats are used to eating a specific type of food, and their teeth and mouth were made to deal with fresher meats. Beef jerky is rubbery and tough, and can be difficult to chew. A cat may also swallow a piece that is too large, which can either get lodged in their throat, or cause an upset stomach.
Instead of sharing your favorite beef jerky with your cat, get them a cat-appropriate snack they will enjoy just as much, but that will actually be healthy.
What Happens If My Cat Eats Beef Jerky?
If your cat eats beef jerky, they may get dehydrated, experience kidney or digestive issues, and even get very sick, depending on the amount you give them.
Beef jerky is full of ingredients that are not good for cats, like sodium and garlic and onion seasoning. A small amount of beef jerky should cause no issues, but eating lots of it, or eating it often, can lead to various health concerns.
While it may be hard to resist sharing your own snack with your cat, in order to ensure they stay healthy for a long time, only give them foods specifically made for cats.
4 Reasons to Skip Beef Jerky as a Cat Treat
Here is why you shouldn’t be giving beef jerky to your cat:
1 – It’s High In Salt
Salt is used both to enhance the flavor of beef jerky, and to make it last longer. While we humans have no problem with this, our cats are very different.
Eating too much salt can lead to dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance in cats, and can even lead to sodium poisoning which can have serious consequences.
2 – It’s High in Sugar
Beef jerky also has plenty of sugar. While it’s not toxic to cats, it can still lead to weight gain, which can in turn lead to diabetes and other health issues.
Refrain from feeding your cat anything that has added sugar. What they need the most of is protein, and all the things we use to season our food are superfluous to them.
3 – Some of the Seasonings May be Toxic
Both onion and garlic powder are toxic to cats. While a bite of beef jerky won’t cause any issues, eating too much of it can trigger this toxicity.
Seasonings like cayenne and chili pepper can also upset a cat’s digestion, as can all the other strong spices we use to make jerky more tasty.
4- It Can Be a Choking Hazard
Beef jerky is tough and rubbery, definitely not designed to be eaten by a cat. Their teeth are small and very sharp, designed to eat fresh meat in the wild, not a snack made for humans.
A larger bite of beef jerky can get lodged in your cat’s throat, or it may upset their digestion.
Should You Feed Beef Jerky to Your Cat?
The long and short of it is simple: you shouldn’t feed beef jerky to your cat. Even though it’s a meat treat, it’s full of ingredients that can ultimately cause your cat a lot of harm.
Find other delicious cat treats your feline will enjoy. The market is literally drowning in them, and you will certainly be able to find something that fits both your budget and their dietary needs.
Remember not to overfeed your cat, especially not from scraps from your own table.
Wrapping It Up
Giving your cat beef jerky is not the best idea. Instead, find cat-appropriate treats they will enjoy just as much, but that will also keep them healthy and purring away for a long time.