Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? (2023 Full Guide)

Beef jerky is a quite famous snack among us. A packet of beef jerky will not miss in our kitchen. Don’t we?

Occasionally, we may give those to our furr balls. They seem thrilled to eat them.

There are carnivals. They like meat, so beef jerky is nothing more than dried meat. Isn’t it?

But, did you ever think that beef jerky could harm your cat?

Well, it appears that it’s possible in some cases.

So, let’s dig deep into this matter and clear everything we need to know to ensure the safety of our cats.

Can cats eat beef jerky?

Yes. Cats can eat beef jerky, and they’re a good source of protein. However, the selected beef jerky should be a quality product with minimum sodium, salt, MSG, and nitrites.

Is beef jerky bad for cats?

Even though it is a good source of protein, you should not give them regularly.

beef jerky for cats

You may have asked why? Well, the main reason is we do not believe the commercial beef jerky products so much.

Most of these products contain highly toxic elements such as;

According to ASPCA, the above items are highly toxic to cats; even if there are used in human foods.

Well, we all know those items are really toxic to ourselves too. It’s kind of 3x toxic to cats.

Can beef jerky kill cats?

Technically speaking, it won’t kill your cat. However, if it is given regularly, then beef jerky could increase the amount of food preservation elements in your cat’s body. 

Then eventually, it will make your cat vulnerable to a deadly illness.

can cats eat beef jerky

 Therefore, my advice is to educate yourself properly on this matter to know A to Z about beef jerky.

Okay, let’s move into the next part in detail.

Is it good to feed dried beef to your cat?

A small bite shouldn’t cause too much harm, but a huge one could cause more problems.

These delectable treats were developed for people, not for cats. Because of this, they frequently contain high levels of sodium, spices, and preservatives—ingredients suitable for human consumption but not for cats.

can cats eat beef sticks?

While cats are obligate carnivores and may consume meat, beef sticks are not a suitable diet for them.

Beef sticks are often highly processed and heavy in salt and artificial flavorings, both of which can be toxic to cats in big quantities.

Furthermore, beef sticks may contain components that are harmful to cats, such as garlic or onion powder.

If you want to offer your cat a treat, stick to meals that are specifically designed for cats, such as cat treats found at most pet stores.

What happened if you overfeed beef jerky to your cat?

As I mentioned earlier, too much beef jerky is not good.

What about if you overfeed beef jerky on a single day.? Do, not worry. Nothing will have happened to your cat.

The most important point is not to feed beef jerky daily, or in other words, regularly.

By the way, if you happened to overfeed beef jerky, then you need to be alert about the water content requirement of your cat.

Cats are not good drinkers. Most of the time, they consume their water requirement through their food.

is beef jerky good for cats

That’s why most vets are recommending wet cat foods for your cats and kittens.

So, in the beef jerky case, it has nothing called water. It’s dried meat. To make the case complicated, it has salt too.

I think you know that salt will make you thirsty very much..! Same goes for your furry ball too.

Due to this reason, you need to make sure that your cat’s water bowl is filled with water.

If it’s possible, make sure that she is drinking water.

Beef jerky compound?

Up to this level, I have mentioned all the points that you need to be alert for your cat’s safety.

Now, let’s see how much nutrition beef jerky contains.

The following nutrition information table is derived from the data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The table contains the information for 90g of beef jerky. It is an equal amount of 1 cup.

Nutrition ProfileAmount in beef jerky (90g)

Other than these co-nutrition elements, there are several macro- nutrition available in beef jerky.

Potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and vitamin b12 can be seen in beef jerky.

But, remember, these vitamins and minerals amount is not enough for your cat. The amounts are really small for a single serving.

cat eating beef jerky

Also, you could not increase the serving amount, hoping to increase the mineral and vitamin values.

It will do more harm than good due to other major nutrients such as sodium, fat, and sugar.

Different types of beef jerky are available in the market

There are lots of brands available in the market for beef jerky.

But, there aren’t many variations for them. Mostly, we can divide them into two sections.

Flavored Beef Jerky – This is the most famous and well-known type. Most beef jerky products we find in the market are flavored. Otherwise, they are seasoned with other food preservation.
My advice is to skip these types as much as possible. The added food chemicals will do more harm than good for your cat.

Raw beef jerky – Technically speaking, there isn’t a beef jerky type called raw. It is always pre-cooked.

But, if you can find beef jerky without flavor or any food additives, then it could be considered raw beef jerky.

Also, the homemade DIY-type beef jerky goes into this category too.

If you can find this type of beef jerky, then you are good to go. You can give them to your cat without much disadvantage.

Advantages and disadvantages of beef jerky as a meal for cats

If we are to judge the beef jerky, then I’ll say it’s good for your cat till you know what you were doing.

As I explain in my earlier sections, beef jerky contains lots of sodium and other food additives. Even though you are giving only homemade beef jerky; it will increase the sodium concentration in your cat (which is bad). 

beef jerky for kittens

But, their ability to provide protein is quite admirable. Cats need protein in their diet to stay active.

The proper way of giving beef jerky to your cat

Now, you may wonder what to do. I’ll simplify it for you.

All you need to do is, take control of the beef jerky amount.

That means, do not give beef jerky as a full meal. Instead of, giving them as a treat. Beef jerky will add more nutrition than your sugar-enriched regular cat treats.

Also, remember, do not give them every day. You can treat your cat to beef jerky 2 or 3 times a week.  

Cats will love them as a treat. Pro Tip: You can use beef jerky (as a positive encouragement) to teach him some good manners.

They will love those and try to eat everything. So be careful. Do not let them eat the whole beef jerky packet.

DIY way of making beef jerky for your cat

Homemade beef jerky is the best. It will reduce lots of problems for you.

I have found this video showing how you can make homemade beef jerky. It’s really helpful, and you can follow the same instructions to make beef jerky for your cat too.

By the way, handling beef, do not forget to follow these guild lines from USDA. These are ensuring both your cat’s and your health’s safety.

  • You need to clean your hands thoroughly before working with meat products.
  • Always use well-cleaned equipment.
  • Keep meat refrigerated at 40 Fahrenheit or below that. Also, when defrosting, use the refrigerator. Do not use your kitchen counter.
  • When steaming or roasting meat, use 160 Fahrenheit.
  • When drying meat, use 130 to 140 Fahrenheit throughout the process. It is a good practice if you could use a food dehydrator for this purpose.
diy beef jerky for cats

Beef jerky feeding related common problems

All right, now, I think you do have enough knowledge to decide whether beef jerky is good or bad for your cat.

However, during my research work on this article, I do find a few more related questions being asked in the cat community.

so, I’ll try to answer them briefly here.

Frequently Asked Questions

can cats eat deer jerky?

Deer jerky, like other types of jerky, is not a recommended food for cats. While cats are obligate carnivores and can eat meat, jerky is often highly processed and may contain ingredients such as preservatives, salt, and other additives that are not healthy for cats.

can cats eat jack link’s beef jerky?

Jack Link’s beef jerky has no difference compared to any other beef jerky brand or raw. They are not recommended for cats due to the details explained in the above section.

can cats eat turkey jerky?

Turkey jerky is not considered a toxic food for cats, but it is not recommended as a regular part of their diet. While cats are obligate carnivores and can eat meat, jerky is often highly processed and may contain a lot of salt and other additives that are not healthy for cats in large quantities. Additionally, some cats may have difficulty digesting jerky, which could cause gastrointestinal upset or choking.

Final Thoughts

Beef jerky is a good food source of protein. But, you need to be careful due to the added toxic food preservation. Providing beef jerky as a treat is the best way you can follow. Further, if possible, giving homemade beef jerky is the best choice other than any commercial product.


Amelia Kteylor

Amelia Kteylor, DVM, attended the University of Georgia. She is a cat expert with 20 years of experiences in field. She has a passion as a writer and editor for pet publishing industry too. Amelia contributes to numerous pet magazines in the areas of pet health and groom. Further, she volunteered in cat rescue centers in her leisure time.

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