Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? [ Here Is The Answer ]

It can be a very common question among the people having cats that whether your cat is interested in the beef jerky snack, you are munching on as well? Well, your cat might also want to take a nibble of the beef jerky. Felines can also be like human snacks. So then, is it okay for them to eat beef jerky?

The answer is yes and there is more to it. Cats can actually eat beef jerky. But it is not very good to serve beef jerky to cats regularly as it contains high sodium levels and causes easy dehydration. Here is a brief research on how good or bad beef jerky is for cats.

Can a cat eat beef jerky?

Cats love all types of meat, and automatically they enjoy the beef jerky. You can give your cat the snack once in a while but feeding those beef jerky regularly is not a very good move. Generally, many beef jerky is made of a lot of added preservatives and spices like seasonings and jalapeno. These things are not suitable for the feline’s digestive system as the cat’s digestive system does not produce such vital enzymes to digest rich food. In addition to this, garlic beef jerky is even more harmful to cats as they have toxic and lethal effects. Thus, we see that cats can have beef jerky, but they should have it very rarely.

Here are some excellent reasons for not serving your cat beef jerky.

Tough texture

The main procedure behind preserving the meat is drying it first. Naturally, the texture becomes tough. It is hard enough for humans to sink their teeth into the jerky; regardless, your cat has much smaller teeth to tear that complex chunky piece of meat. It can only pull small and fresh slices of meat.

Your cat is also used to your pampering and the cat food you give them. So a sizable, challenging piece of meat might be complicated for them to chew and swallow. As a result, they might choke and lose breath. Also, if your cat has dental problems, it will be more difficult for them to eat hard meat.


Salt is a natural preservative. It keeps away germs and prevents the growth of bacteria. It is often used in jerky for flavoring. But the Salt used is excessively high in sodium. The cat food you feed your cat already has a sufficient amount of sodium. So the sodium from the jerky is now acting as a harmful source for your cat and causes dehydration.


In addition to Salt, the beef jerky contains small proportions of sodium nitrate for better preservations. Although a small amount of this would not harm your cat, this chemical compound is toxic enough and has been a cause of death amongst cats.


There are some varieties of beef jerky that use sugar as a marinade to bring in the sweetness. But cats are not very big fans of sweetness. However, that is not a matter of concern. The sugar content increases the fat levels and contributes to the gain in weight. If you have a diabetic cat, it may raise blood sugar levels.


All homemade foods are pure and free from artificial flavorings and preservatives. But the beef jerky available in stores is full of artificial flavors. Some of the alerting ones are:

Onions and garlic powder

Alliums are very toxic to cats. Even a tiny amount could make them ill. It might be hazardous if taken in more enormous proportions and even cause death. Beef jerky happens to have quite a good amount of onion and garlic in them. The potent powder form of garlic and onion contains a good amount of allium, and hence beef jerky is not suitable for cats.


Cats have a very vulnerable digestive system and do not produce much of the digestive enzymes required to digest essential items. The flavoring in beef jerky contains a lot of spices, especially cayenne pepper, chili peppers, jalapenos, etc. This causes stomach upset in cats. All this may lead to vomiting and diarrhea in them.

Beef allergies

It is a sporadic case that a cat is allergic to meat. But there might be a chance that your cat is allergic to beef. The symptoms can be very mild and similar to humans; itchiness and inflamed skin. But your cat, in addition, can also experience vomiting and an upset stomach.

Bad habits

Your cat might be a beef lover and sits along with you to binge-watch your shows and munch on some beef jerky snacks. But you don’t want to become a habit of your cat keeping in mind all the harm the beef jerky can cause to your cat. This bad eating habit will constantly force your cat to nibble off the food you have or lick off the leftovers. This will lead to upset stomachs in your cat, and eventually, it will fall dangerously ill. You can try replacing the beef jerky with something cat-friendly snack, to avoid the unwanted scenario.

Can cats eat dry beef?

Most cats do not prefer to eat dry beef. The beef, when dried out, has a rough texture and becomes hard to chew. Cats, specifically kittens, have small teeth and find it difficult to chew on the harsh, dry beef. They mostly prefer fresh, soft, and juicy meat. They eat beef jerky even though it is dry because it likes the taste of the added flavors.

But dry beef is not very harmful to cats when it is dried naturally, and no preservatives or toxic chemicals are added. Cats with dental problems might find it challenging to chew on that complicated stuff. But dry beef with preservatives and artificial seasonings and flavors makes it as toxic as beef jerky, and you should avoid giving it to your cats to prevent them from getting sick.

What happens if my cat eats beef jerky?

Your notorious might have managed to take a small bite of the beef jerky in your absence. But you need not worry much in that case. Just keep an eye on them if they fall sick and bring them instant aids.

A large piece of the jerky should be removed from a cat’s sight as it might choke on it and lose breath or try to chew and swallow the large amount as it might affect its digestive systems.

But if your cat has finished the entire bag of beef jerky, then you must immediately take the cat to the veterinarian. He can determine the condition and tell you if your cat is at risk and the symptoms to look out for. Then, you can give your cat the aid or take it to the hospital if the situation gets out of hand.

Can beef jerky kill my cat?

Beef jerky won’t kill your cat. But it matters how much and what type of beef jerky your cat has. If it is homemade and fresh with no preservatives and seasoning, your cat can eat as much as it wants. Indeed meat is healthy for cats and makes their immune system strong.

But if you are feeding your cat the flavored and seasoned beef jerky, it is incredibly harmful to your cat. It weakens the digestive system and causes vomiting, stomach upset, and diarrhea. The high sodium content in the beef jerky causes dehydration in cats and sometimes leads to its death. So it must be avoided to let your cat have the beef jerky brought from stores.

Beef jerky alternatives for your cat

If your cat loves snacks, you can try giving something healthier and cat-friendly instead of the toxic beef jerky—for example, the dried fish. The dried fish is usually not harmful to cats and has no additive preservatives or seasonings.

This is a nutritious snack for your cat and has beneficial factors. It is loaded with omega three and omega six and is very easy to chew. The fish oil in it enhances the quality of the cat’s coat. Also, the dried texture of the fish will help to scrape your while they chew it.

Along with this, you can also try giving your cat bananas, cheese, melon, carrots, rice, etc., to your cat during snack time if the cat has no problem with it.


Beef jerky is a ubiquitous snack for cats, and the cats love the taste. It is nutritious and good for the cat’s health provided it has no added flavoring or harsh preservatives. On the other hand, some stores selling beef jerky are highly toxic for cats because they contain high sodium and spices, which causes dehydration, stomach problems, and vomiting in cats.

You must be very careful about what you give your cat to avoid any kind of trouble. Just in case your cat manages to eat a good amount of beef jerky, take it to the vet immediately, and the risk can be avoided.