People all around the world have dried meat in their homes either this way or that way and beef jerky is one of them. Can cats eat beef jerky?
People preserve all kinds of meat by drying them for thousands of years and basically beef jerky is just dried meat. This preservation technique was invented out of necessity but is now used for its extra flavor. You may want to spoil your kitty with the extra flavor but first you need to ask yourself: can cats eat beef jerky?
Can cats eat beef jerky?
Can cats eat beef? Yes, depending on how you cook it. Are cats jerks? Well, sometimes. But can cats have beef jerky? The short answer is yes, they can but this doesn’t mean they should. Beef jerky is extremely unhealthy for cats and it is not recommended for cat consumption.
Always keep in mind that human foods are for humans and cat food is for cats. As humans, we use a lot of ingredients that are unhealthy for feline consumption. Not only in beef jerky but in almost all the food we consume. The most common ingredient among those is salt.
Cats, like humans, need a certain amount of salt to survive but this amount is so little that they don’t require any additional salt in their meals. There is one particular study that shows that excessive salt consumption does not have any adverse effect on cats.
On the other hand, it is historically advocated that too much sodium consumption can even lead cats to salt poisoning. Also consuming salt causes dehydration and cats are not really good at managing their water intake. Since the issue is still debated in the veterinary world, I personally stay on the safe side and limit the salt intake of my cats.
Is beef jerky safe for cats?
In addition to the academic debate on salt intake of cats, there are some other risks of feeding beef jerky to cats. Commercial beef jerky almost always contain some additives and preservatives. These additives and preservatives can be dangerous for your kitty.
Additives and preservatives are not healthy for human consumption either but the effects of it in human body are so small that they are negligible. However, when you compare your size to that of your cat’s, the little amount of chemicals you consume can be a huge amount for the little furball.
Another issue that makes lots of beef jerky brands unsafe for feline consumption is the usage of onion powder and garlic powder. Both onion and garlic are toxic to cats. If they consume large amounts of onions or garlic, it may even be fatal for them. Therefore, when you see onion or garlic in the ingredients list of any food, keep your cat away from it.
Can cats eat raw beef?
Yes, cats can eat raw beef. Actually, it is healthy for them BUT the risk of salmonella and brucella diseases make cooked beef a better and healthier option. Uncooked meat of any kind of animal may carry these diseases which can be fatal for cats. The same rule applies to raw sausage or Vienna sausage and tuna, too
What other risks beef jerky contains for cats?
Beef jerky is very dry. Cats are evolved to eat fresh meat and such dry and hard food may create a chocking hazard for them. You may think about dry cat food but there is a difference. Dry cat food immediately breaks into small pieces but beef jerky needs some chewing and cats are not that patient.
Conclusion – Can cats eat beef jerky?
After all the information above, can cats eat beef jerky? Yes, they can but it is unhealthy for them. If your cat eats a small amount of beef jerky, don’t panic because a few bites will not do any harm but if your little friend regularly consumes it then it is your responsibility to prevent it.
Except for the meat, nothing in beef jerky is good for cats including salt, sugar, preservatives and additives, seasoning including onion and garlic powder, chilies, etc.
If you want your kitty to consume more meat, it is a great thing and the best way to prepare the meat is boiling it without any salt or other seasonings. Or, you can make your own beef jerky for cats!