You are currently viewing Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? Is It a Safe Treat?

Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? Is It a Safe Treat?

  • Post category:Can Cats Eat This
  • Post last modified:December 26, 2023
  • Reading time:8 mins read
Planet Feline is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Share This With Your Favorite Cat Lover!

It’s no secret that cats love their meat! So, you might be wondering if certain meat snacks, such as beef jerky, that you already buy for your family would be okay to give to your four-legged friend.

The simple answer is, NO. It’s not a great idea to give your cat any beef jerky. The reason is pretty simple. Beef jerky is made with too much salt and other preservatives for it to be a healthy snack for your feline companion.

In this article, we’re gonna discuss whether or not it’s okay to give your cats any other similar type of meat snack that’s normally meant for human consumption, such as slim jims and teriyaki jerky.

We’ll also discuss what could happen if you give your cats any type of jerky and what type of alternatives are out there that might be much healthier for your cat instead.

Can Cats Eat Teriyaki Beef Jerky?

Because Teriyaki sauce contains soy sauce and garlic, which are both toxic to cats, this type of beef jerky is also not going to be a safe option to give to your cats. 

Garlic has been proven to be highly toxic to cats. In fact, garlic is almost five times as toxic as onions for both cats and dogs. If your cat has eaten garlic, it could result in a condition known as Gastroenteritis.

Gastroenteritis in cats is the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which in layman’s terms simply means that your cat’s stomach and intestines become inflamed. 

This condition can be caused by many things like bacteria and parasites, but eating toxic foods like garlic will also lead to this condition. 

Some of the symptoms of gastroenteritis include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even dry heaving. So, if you’ve given your cat any type of food that they normally wouldn’t eat and they start having any of these symptoms, it’s time to get to the vet!

Can Cats Eat Slim Jims?

Slim Jims are also not a good alternative meat treat to give to your cat. While it’s true that Slim Jims are mostly made of pork, beef, and chicken, it’s the additives and preservatives that make this treat unhealthy for your cat. 

With that being said, it is safer for your cat than say, teriyaki beef jerky. But there are much safer products out there for your cat that still have pork, beef, and chicken

In general, it’s never really a good idea to give your cat a food product that was made for human consumption. Human bodies metabolize and digest certain foods a lot different than most animals, but especially cats. 

My Cat Ate Beef Jerky! What Should I Do?

If your cat has just eaten some beef jerky or any of the other types of human meat snacks mentioned above, it’s a good idea to monitor their behavior for at least a few hours after they have consumed the meat snack. 

Watch out for any signs of lethargy, dry heaving, or diarrhea. If your cat is behaving lethargic, it might be because they have an upset stomach or even built-up gas.

If you suspect that your cat is having an adverse reaction to beef jerky, then you should definitely call your veterinarian at the very least. They may advise you to bring your cat in right away to get them checked out. 

If your cat has an inflamed stomach or intestines, then they will be able to see that in an x-ray machine and give the proper care before it’s too late.

Alternatives to Beef Jerky

Fortunately for both us and our feline companions, there are some really great alternatives to giving them beef jerky. 

Meat is a staple in a cat’s diet, so there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to meat treats for our cats.

One alternative I recommend that comes close to the size and texture of an actual SlimJim is the Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks Cat Treats. You can get them in chicken, salmon, and even tuna flavors.

There are even quite a few grain-free options out there as well, that will not only keep the allergens away from your cat but also provide plenty of protein for them as well. 

Can Cats Eat Dog Jerky?

A slightly better alternative to giving your cat human meat snacks like beef jerky is to give them dog jerky. 

And because these treats are formulated for dogs, they usually don’t contain any of the harmful additives and preservatives that you will find in human meat snacks, like garlic and onion.

However, it’s still important to check the ingredients on the label before giving any type of dog treat to your cat. 

The reason for this is that some dog treats have ingredients in them that may not be that agreeable for your cat to consume. 

Some dog treats contain Propylene Glycol, which is an agent that is used to retain the treat’s texture, reduce moisture, and prevent bacteria. 

Propylene Glycol is a chemical that comes from Ethylene Glycol, which is often found in antifreeze. However, because it is just a derivative of the other chemical, it is still approved to be used in dog treats.

Whether you are giving these treats to your cat or your dog, I would recommend giving these in moderation. You can always alternate treats so they get a break from the treats that might have this chemical in them.

So basically, giving your cat dog jerky is a slightly better alternative than giving them human beef jerky or Slim Jims.

But I would still recommend giving your cat a treat that was specifically made for them. But this will work in a pinch.

Final Thoughts

In summary, if you accidentally drop a little piece of beef jerky on the floor and your cat quickly eats it, you probably don’t have much to worry about. 

However, I would avoid giving your cat beef jerky and Slim Jims on a regular basis or even as a once-in-a-while treat. And you should especially avoid giving them any teriyaki beef jerky. The risks are far too numerous.

And with all the better alternatives available on the market today, is it even worth the risk of giving your cat a bite off a Slim Jim? In my opinion, avoid giving your cat these types of snacks.