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Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky- Is It Safe?

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When snacking on a bag full of beef jerky, you might start to wonder if your cat can have a piece as well. Is this tasty human treat suitable for felines as well? I decided to research and find out, can cats eat beef jerky? 

Cats can eat beef jerky. Beef jerky is high in sodium and can lead to sodium poisoning in cats. Beef jerky can also lead to dehydration, fluid buildup, kidney damage, and choking in cats. 

While cats will likely enjoy beef jerky, it’s just not smart to give them this popular snack. Additionally, a lot of beef jerky is made with seasonings and additional flavors like pepper or jalapeño. These flavorings alone can be harmful to your feline. Have you ever seen garlic beef jerky? Even more harmful than the rest of the flavors, garlic has been toxic for cats – and even lethal in some cases.

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What Happens If My Cat Eats Beef Jerky

If your cat eats beef jerky, there may be some harmful side effects depending on how much you give her.

In general, if you give your furry feline a small sampling of beef jerky, she’ll likely be fine. Though it’s high in sodium and touts other ingredients not necessarily healthy for feline digestive systems, a tiny piece wouldn’t do too much harm. Keep in mind, however, that Kitty might enjoy it!

Even a tiny sample might lead her to scamper into the kitchen every time she hears that beef jerky bag open. If you’re a softie of a pet owner (nothing wrong with that!), you might be tempted to give in whenever she puts on her hard-to-resist begging eyes.

What may seem like a few innocent beef jerky treats, then, could lead to many more severe health complications. Because of the high sodium, too much beef jerky can lead to dehydration and, in extreme cases, permanent kidney damage.

As a general rule of thumb, avoid giving your cats human food at all!

Can Beef Jerky Kill Cats

If a cat consumes too much beef jerky in one sitting, he can, unfortunately, face lethal consequences.

Beef jerky is laden with sodium (ever notice how thirsty you get when you eat it?). While human bodies can handle an overload of salt, cat bodies are much more sensitive to it. If a cat eats too much of this sodium-heavy treat, he can become severely dehydrated. The sodium overdose can lead to swelling of the legs and unbalance; it can also lead to permanent kidney damage.

For some cats, like older ones or those with other underlying health conditions, too much sodium could even lead to death.

Is Teriyaki Beef Jerky Okay For Cats

Teriyaki beef jerky is generally not a good treat to feed a cat.

Though small doses might be more or less harmless (and though your meat-loving feline might adore eating pieces of teriyaki beef jerky!), it’s not a good habit to get into.

The immense amount of sodium in beef jerky is bad for a cat’s digestive system, for starters. Also, the added flavors can affect a feline’s health. While teriyaki is among the less harmful flavorings, one of the most destructive ones is garlic, which is very toxic to cats!

Can Cats Eat Dried Beef

In general, cats can theoretically eat dried beef – although too much is not good for them!

These tasty snacks were created for humans and not designed with cats in mind. Therefore, they’re often loaded with sodium, seasonings, and preservatives; ingredients fine for human consumption, but not for cats.

While a small bite shouldn’t do much damage (we get it, you love to spoil your fur baby!), a large quantity could lead to more issues.

However! There are, in fact, some manufacturers who make beef jerky for cats. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to stick to treats made specifically for felines!

Is It OK To Give Cats Meat

Your cat’s diet should consist mostly of cat food and other foods created specifically for felines; however, the occasional meat snack is okay for your cat to have.

Just be sure that the meat you give to your cat is safe! Small pieces of cooked chicken, beef, turkey, and other deli meats are fine to sample out to her. (And we bet your cat would love it!) Canned or cooked fish is also fine to feed her; cats love fish, after all!

However, in general, ensure that the meat your give your cat is cooked well and not spoiled. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to your cat!

What Ingredients In Beef Jerky Are Bad For Cats

There are a handful of ingredients in beef jerky that are bad for cats. For starters, beef jerky manufacturers load the snack with sodium to best preserve it (and make it more delicious!). Also packed into beef jerky for preserving purposes are, well – preservatives!

While preservatives and sodium are fine for human consumption, cats’ digestive systems are built to handle them.

In addition to ingredients created for long shelf life, beef jerky also have various flavors and seasonings unhealthy for cats. For example, garlic; even if the jerky isn’t specifically garlic-flavored, manufacturers often sprinkle it in for an added taste. Garlic is tasty for humans but toxic for felines!

Can Cats Choke On Beef Jerky

If given too much, cats can easily choke on a piece of beef jerky. The rubbery consistency is unlike that of traditional cat foods and treats; therefore, if a cat gets too big of a piece, she might not be able to chew it as well as she should since the texture is so foreign. Or, she might think it’s chewed thoroughly enough and pre-emptively swallow it.

Because this type of food is thick, tough, and unforgiving, it can be fatal if it gets lodged into your kitty’s throat!

Though it’s tempting to want to share one of your favorite snacks with your cat, it’s best to leave beef jerky out of the picture! Even a piece you think is small enough might still be too big for Kitty’s tiny mouth and throat.

Stick to treats and snacks made specifically for cats!

Can Cats Eat Slim Jims

It’s best to avoid giving your cat a bite of your Slim Jim! Many cat owners may think that since this type of beef jerky is softer, it’s safer to give to a cat.

However, due to many of the ingredients in Slim Jims, it’s still better not to give any to your cat! These snacks are loaded with sodium, preservatives, fats, and other seasonings that could be toxic to your kitty.

A better human-food alternative? Offer him small bits of fresh and well-cooked chicken or turkey. Or better yet – stick to cat treats!

Final Thoughts

Just because your kitty can consume something doesn’t mean you should give it to him. This popular snack was created with humans in mind, not felines. It’s incredibly high in sodium (which is what keeps it so sustainable!); while our bodies can handle such large amounts of salt, cat bodies generally aren’t built for that.

Consuming such a mass quantity of sodium could upset Kitty’s stomach – or worse, give him sodium poisoning. The initial stages of sodium poisoning lead to extreme dehydration; it can cause fluid buildup in the legs, leading to unbalance. In severe cases, sodium poisoning could lead to permanent kidney damage.

So, in general, it’s best to stick to traditional cat treats for your pretty kitties.