Skip to content

Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky?

    Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? A Comprehensive Guide to Keeping Your Feline Friend Safe


    As cat owners, we all want the best for our furry companions, and that includes providing them with a safe and nutritious diet. Amidst the plethora of pet treats available, beef jerky is a popular snack among humans. But, can cats eat beef jerky too? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of feline nutrition to address the safety of feeding beef jerky to cats and offer valuable insights on keeping your whiskered friend healthy and happy.

    Is Beef Jerky Safe for Cats?

    While cats are obligate carnivores and can consume meat, beef jerky poses certain risks for feline consumption. Most commercial beef jerky products are high in salt, spices, and preservatives, which are harmful to cats. Additionally, the texture and consistency of jerky may be difficult for cats to digest properly, leading to gastrointestinal issues.

    The Dangers of Feeding Beef Jerky to Cats:

    1. High Sodium Content: Cats have a low tolerance for sodium, and excessive intake can lead to dehydration, kidney problems, and even heart issues.
    2. Spices and Additives: Many beef jerky varieties contain seasonings and additives that are toxic to cats, such as onions and garlic.
    3. Choking Hazard: The tough and chewy texture of jerky can pose a choking hazard, especially for older cats or those with dental issues.
    4. Lack of Essential Nutrients: Beef jerky does not provide the balanced nutrition that cats need, lacking vital nutrients found in a complete and balanced feline diet.

    What to Do If Your Cat Eats Beef Jerky:

    Sometimes you are happening upon this site AFTER your cat has already snuck some beef jerky into their mouths. If your cat eats beef jerky, there may be some harmful side effects depending on how much you give them.

    In general, if you give your furry feline a small sampling of beef jerky, they will likely be fine. Though it’s high in sodium, and the other ingredients are not great for feline digestive systems, a tiny piece wouldn’t do too much harm. Keep in mind, however, that kitty might enjoy it! You may also want to make sure they have plenty of water since the sodium can cause dehydration.

    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.

    If your cat is a master manipulator, don’t even try to give them beef jerky. Some things they are just better to not know about.

    If you suspect your cat has ingested beef jerky, it’s crucial to take immediate action:

    1. Monitor Your Cat: Observe your cat for any signs of discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea. If any symptoms persist, seek veterinary attention promptly.
    2. Remove Access to Jerky: Keep all jerky products out of your cat’s reach to prevent accidental ingestion.
    3. Hydration: Ensure your cat has access to fresh water to help flush out any toxins and maintain proper hydration.

    Can Cats Eat Dried Beef

    So cats are carnivores. But they can’t eat beef jerky because of the sodium. So what about just 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.

    If it is truly just dried beef, then technically it can be safe for cats. But you still want to make sure your give your cats enough water because they are not getting ANY water from the food they are eating.

    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!

    >> You May Also Like: Can Cats Eat Bacon?

    Can Cats Eat Slim Jims

    So beef jerky is bad. But what about 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 still loaded with sodium, preservatives, fats, and other seasonings that could be toxic to your kitty.

    If you really want to give your cat some treats, stick with small bits of fresh, unseasoned chicken or turkey.

    What Ingredients In Beef Jerky Are Bad For Cats

    So beef jerky is “bad” for cats. But what makes it bad for cats?

    Truthfully, 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. (SURPRISE! We have only mentioned it like ten times in the article).

    Also packed into beef jerky for preserving purposes are, well – preservatives!

    While preservatives and sodium are okay 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!

    Safe Alternatives for Treating Your Cat:

    Although beef jerky is off the menu, there are safer and healthier alternatives for treating your feline friend:

    1. Cat-Specific Treats: Opt for specially formulated cat treats that are low in sodium and free from harmful additives.
    2. Cooked Meat: Plain, cooked lean meats like chicken or turkey, free from seasoning and bones, can be given in small quantities as an occasional treat.
    3. Commercial Cat Foods: Stick to reputable cat food brands that provide complete and balanced nutrition for your cat’s dietary needs.

    Consulting Your Veterinarian:

    It’s essential to consult your veterinarian before introducing any new treats or foods into your cat’s diet. They can offer personalized advice based on your cat’s specific health needs and dietary requirements.


    While it may be tempting to share our favorite snacks with our beloved cats, certain foods, like beef jerky, can be harmful to their health. As responsible pet owners, we must prioritize the well-being of our feline companions by providing them with a balanced and safe diet. Opt for cat-specific treats and high-quality cat food, and always seek professional advice from your veterinarian when in doubt. By doing so, you can ensure a long, healthy, and happy life for your furry friend.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *