Text reading 'that's not cat nip' above a cat's head

Can Cats Have Beef Jerky?

Cats are carnivores, and in the wild, they depend on their natural instincts to survive. So naturally, many people assume that beef jerky would be a perfectly fine snack and even good for cats. 

To the surprise of many loving cat owners, beef jerky is not safe for cats. If your feline friend scratched their way into your bag of beef jerky and had a little nibble, they should be fine. But when in doubt, it’s always best to speak to your veterinarian. 

First, Do Cats Like Beef Jerky? Why Do Cats Like Beef Jerky?

Let’s start with the obvious — who doesn’t love beef jerky?

Especially for predatory animals, the smell of meat makes their mouths salivate. And when the domesticated kitties get a whiff of meat, they’ll likely pull out all the stops to get a taste. 

As a pet owner, it is up to you to set boundaries for the animals in your care. Even if their meows make a strong argument, you and your family mascot will be better off keeping the beef jerky out of sight and reach.

[Related: What Is Beef Jerky?]

Why Is Beef Jerky Bad for Cats?

Many cat owners have wondered, is beef jerky good for cats? Unfortunately, we have to respond in the negative.

Basically, it’s the process of making beef jerky that makes it unsafe for cats to eat. 

The Seasonings May Be Toxic to Cats

Just like seasonings can make an otherwise allergy-free food unsafe for people with restricted diets, the same goes for cats.

The many different flavors of beef jerky are made from different combinations of sauces and seasoning. Before giving your cat any type of human food, you should do a deep dive into what seasonings may be toxic. 

The last thing you want is for a tasty treat to lead to a kitty in distress — and you with an expensive new vet bill. 

[Related: How Long Does Beef Jerky Last?]

Added Sugar Can Lead to an Obese and Unhealthy Cat

As much fun as fat cats are to look at, it’s really an unfortunate health problem that many cat owners deal with. 

Especially for the fun new flavors of beef jerky popping up, it’s important to realize the amount of sugar they contain. If your cat gains too much weight, it may need to be put on a specialty diet — which will complicate your life as much as theirs. 

High-Sodium Foods Can Lead to Dehydration

Beef jerky is all about dried-out meat. To accomplish this process, a lot of salt is necessary. Who knew something the cowboys and indigenous people did to preserve their meat supply would remain a beloved food across generations? 

The salty meat we all love can wreak havoc on a cat’s health due to the high amount of sodium.

[Related: Is Beef Jerky Healthy?]

The Texture of Beef Jerky Can Be a Choking Hazard

You know when you go in for a bite of beef jerky, and you have to tear it with your teeth? It’s rough and chewy — just like we like it.

However, this also creates a serious choking hazard for your friendly feline. Keep your cat safe by not allowing it to eat beef jerky.

So, Can My Cat Eat Beef Jerky?

There you have it: It’s best not to share your beef jerky with your cat — no matter how much they want it. Fortunately, there are numerous cat-friendly treats available to keep them out of your beef jerky supply.

[Related: Can Dogs Eat Beef Jerky?]

Explore the Jerky Universe

While your cat may not be able to share your beef jerky, you can still enjoy your favorite food!

Check out our blog to learn more about beef jerky health stats. Then follow us on social and subscribe to our newsletter below!

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