Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? How To Make Homemade Beef Jerky For Cats

Last updated on February 11th, 2023 at 07:49 pm

Can cats eat beef jerky? No. It can induce dehydration, or, in the worst situations, it can give cats sodium poisoning.
Image Credit: Lucas Pezeta/Pexels

When you go to the snacks section of any pet store, you’ll often see that they offer beef jerky as a common snack. It’s usually offered to dogs, so we all assume that cats can also have those, right? Can cats eat beef jerky? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. It needs a few explanations to let you know how it can affect your cat and how safe or how toxic it is.

In this article, we will help you understand the risks behind feeding your cat beef jerky. Take note that it is not fatal in moderate consumption, but there are other components of beef jerky that might affect your cat’s overall health. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

What is Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky for pets and humans is made from the same procedure called dehydration. Beef jerky is beef strips that are dried and seasoned with salt to make it harder. Note that it can also be made from other animals such as goats and pigs. It can be made by smoking the meat or curing the meat. No matter how you do it, it still involves a significant amount of salt. Take note of that as salt will be involved also in our explanation regarding beef jerky and cats.

Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky?

Cats can eat a lot of things, but it also includes a lot of things that veterinarians and experts won’t recommend. Beef jerky isn’t one of the toxic foods that cats shouldn’t consume. Like dogs, they can eat it in moderation. But, even though they can, doesn’t mean it’s okay. Beef jerky isn’t healthy for any of your pets, especially if you buy beef jerky from a store designated for people.

Commercially made beef jerky for pets has been made for pets to consume, and beef jerky for humans is made for people, not animals. If you happen to have a taste of beef jerky, you’ll know that it is tough and salty. With the amount of salt that is usually used for beef jerky, our cats risk getting sodium poisoning and trust me, it’s not a fun experience for your cats.

According to PetMD, cats who experience Sodium poisoning can experience seizures and other symptoms, or worst, comatose. Imagine having your cat experience all that moments just because you risk giving it beef jerky. Of course, as we said, it can be alright if they ate it in small amounts, but if not, that is the risk your cat is going to take.

To help you understand it better, let’s take a look at the reasons why you should not let your cat have beef jerky.

  • Beef jerky is made of salt, and too much of it can cause sodium poisoning. It’s a fatal condition for your cat. That’s why vets don’t recommend putting salt in any of your pet’s food.
  • Aside from sodium poisoning, your cat can also experience severe dehydration because of the salt content of beef jerky. As you may now, dehydration is fatal and your cat will need to be put into IV fluids to control it. But, you should get your cat to the vet on time to avoid death.
  • Beef jerky is tough to eat. Because it is dried, it is really tough to chew. It’s the same concept with dried mangoes and dried meats, when you eat them, it feels like chewing your gum. Your cat won’t be able to chew it properly and thus resulted in just swallowing it. This usually results in choking.
  • There are a lot of alternatives to sweetening that can be used for cat foods, but normal sugar is used for marinating jerky. Sugar can cause diabetes in cats.
  • Some cats, or pets in general, can have allergic reactions caused by beef.
  • Beef jerky contains seasonings that are highly toxic to cats like Onion Powder and Garlic Powder and we don’t have to explain how toxic onions and garlic are to our pets.

Now, let’s go back to the main question, can cats eat beef jerky? Yes, but it is not safe and should only be consumed in moderation. Do not overfeed your cat with this snack or might as well, do not do it at all. We suggest that you take a look at some healthy alternatives, or create your own beef jerky for your pet. In that way, you can make sure that all ingredients are healthy for your feline friend.

Do Cats Like Beef Jerky?

There’s no doubt that like people, cats love tasty foods and beef jerky has that amazing aroma and taste that your cat will surely go crazy for. So, yes, cats like beef jerky. But as we said, it doesn’t matter if they like it or not as it will not change the fact that beef jerky isn’t healthy for them.

Cats are obligate carnivores, and they cannot live healthily without eating meat of any kind. But, as cat owners, we have to be careful about what type of meat we feed to our cats. Cats who live in a wild can be fed for themselves without damaging their own body because they are smart. They know what’s good and what is not. As for domestic cats, they rely solely on our guidance, that’s why it is important for us to know what to feed and what not to feed.

You can provide a lot of alternatives to feed your cat and let them get the protein they need. Here are some alternatives you can provide for your lovely feline friend.

  • Low-fat meats such as turkey and chicken.
  • You can also use Dried Fish which are perfectly healthy for your cats. It’s high in Omega 6 and 3 which your cat uses to maintain healthy joints and bones.
  • Vegetable snacks like carrots.

As you can see, there are a lot of options out there aside from beef jerky. There are also cat-friendly beef jerky in the market, but hey, you can also make them from scratch. That way, it will be healthier and you will be sure that there are no preservatives or anything added to it.

How do you Create Homemade Beef Jerky for your Cats?

As we mentioned earlier, if you really want to give your cat a few beef jerky every now and then, you can actually create one at home. Of course, without the additional seasoning that common beef jerky has. Don’t worry, it’s really simple, here’s how:

  1. Chop the beef into tiny pieces. We don’t want our cat to choke on it so make sure that you make the beef in a size that they can easily eat.
  2. Boil the beef for about 20 minutes until it can easily be eaten by your cat.

Another way is to microwave it. Use baking paper and round up the tiny bits of beef jerky. Microwave it for about 15 minutes for each side at 50% power. Do not forget, allow it to cool first before feeding it to your cat. Your cat might have limited taste buds, but they can surely feel if the food is cold or hot.

What Should you do if your Cat Ate a Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky won’t cause any problems if eaten in a small amount. However, if they took in a significant amount, it may cause severe dehydration and sodium poisoning. It’s not a fun experience for your cat. If you just saw your cat ate beef jerky and haven’t swallowed it yet, remove it from your cat’s mouth. If your cat ate a human beef jerky or a beef jerky with high salt content, contact your vet immediately. Sodium poisoning isn’t a joke and your vet will know how to remove it and decide whether your cat is in danger or not.

As always, the best course of action is to take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. Veterinarians are trained to help out animals, and they surely know how to manage anything that’s happening to your pets. To prevent further complications or even death, make sure that you consult with them. It’s also good to have their phone number with you at all times, and lastly, make sure that your pet doesn’t eat any toxic foods.

What are the Signs that my Cat is Having Bad Episodes Because of Beef Jerky?

If your cat happened to get their mouths on a beef jerky, the first thing we have to worry about it severe dehydration. Dehydration can be very fatal if not managed with IV fluids as it can easily make your cat lethargic and have unstable vitals. Aside from dehydration, you can also check out these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Fluid accumulation in the legs.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Vomiting.
  • Dark urine.
  • Stumbling.
  • Clumsiness.
  • Skin, lips, and gums that are discolored.
  • Low energy levels.
  • Seizures or tremors.

Remember to take note of these symptoms and tell it your veterinarian as soon as you get there. Do not wait till the symptoms worsen as it may cause a more fatal condition to your cat. It will be easier to just let your cat avoid any toxic foods and be the responsible parent.


Can cats eat beef jerky? Your cat can surely eat beef jerky but that doesn’t mean that it is healthy and advisable. We can compare it to people. People can eat anything they like but that doesn’t mean that it is healthy. Beef jerky can cause sodium poisoning and other tons of medical conditions if they take it more frequently than they should.

As an advice, try to give them some other alternatives such as dried fish or create your own beef jerky at home. It’s healthier and you can make sure that your cat isn’t taking any bad things inside their stomach. We hope that this article helped you understand why beef jerky can harm your cat and why you should just choose other alternatives as snacks.