Cats can be adorable pets. However, the felines depend on you for their longevity and good health. Cats are obligatory carnivores, which means that they need at least some food derived from animal origins/sources every day to survive. Many people would think that because cats are carnivorous animals, they can consume beef jerky safely.
However, beef jerky is meant for human consumption. It is not suitable food for cats. Therefore, a simple answer to the question “can cats eat beef jerky?” would be “No”.
However, you should also read the article and the information given below to know more about the subject and topic. It will help you take better decisions regarding cat health and the food choices your pet has.
Reasons Why Cats Should Not Eat Beef Jerky
As stated, cats should not eat beef jerky every day and regularly to stay healthy. It does not mean that consuming a small quantity of food would be poisonous for your cat. If your cat has consumed a small piece of beef jerky, it would be fine.
But sustained and frequent consumption of this food must be avoided due to many different reasons. Below are some reasons why you should not be feeding beef jerky to your cat as a treat.
The Dry and Tough Texture of the Beef Jerky
Beef jerky goes through the meat processing plants and the industry processes so that it is transformed and is made fit and suitable for human consumption. Production of beef jerky also improves its shelf life. However, the beef and the meat would acquire a more dry and tough texture after processing.
Cats can tear apart any kind of fresh and raw meat with the help of their sharp and small teeth. However, they would not be successful in tearing, chewing, and consuming beef jerky that has a dry and tough texture. Such meat texture and variety can be a choking hazard for the cat, which may cause health complications in your pet.
The High Salt Content of the Beef Jerky
Beef jerky may have to be stored on the shelves. Therefore, it contains high amounts of sodium, as it acts as a flavor enhancer and a natural and potent preservative. The high salt content can enhance the meat flavor for humans, while also impeding the growth of pathogens including bacteria. For these reasons, some salts, sea sauce, or Worcestershire sauce could be applied to the meat. The use of such ingredients would not harm human health.
Cats are much smaller animals when compared to humans. Therefore, a salt quantity that is safe for humans can be damaging to the health of the cat. Excessive salt in cat food will cause electrolyte imbalance and symptoms and health conditions including dehydration, excessive thirst, confusion, and poisoning among others in the pet.
If medical help is not available within the right time the symptoms may worsen to coma and seizures as well. A heavy dose of sodium can be toxic and life-threatening for cats as well as humans any day.
If the cat is consuming more than the necessary amount of sodium each day through food, it may also cause certain health conditions. These chronic health conditions may include heart problems, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension among others. While intake of small amounts of sodium sometimes is not a concern and a problem, chronic and life-threatening conditions may occur in the cat if it is consuming beef jerky for some time.
Excessive Sugar can Cause Obesity
Adding sugar to the beer jerky and its marinade is a common practice. Most producers and meat businesses may add some sugar to the marinade of beef jerky for flavor and other reasons. While the amount of sugar thus added is small for humans, it can be large for smaller cats. Remember that cats can also suffer from diseases related to sugar metabolism including diabetes. Consumption of salt and sugar should be controlled in all pets including cats. However not all beef has added sugar. You can check it at the store before making the purchase decision.
Seasonings can Cause Toxicity
While the seasonings add flavor to human food and make it delicious, they may be toxic for the cats. For instance, garlic powder and onion powder are toxic to cats. Beef jerky may contain seasonings and spices in addition to sugar and salt. These ingredients (derived from the allium plants species and family) are toxic to the cat. The preliminary symptoms of such toxicity can be vomiting and diarrhea among others. However excessive consumption of garlic can cause serious medical conditions in cats.
Another seasoning that can be dangerous and toxic for the cat is pepper. The stomach and the digestive system of the cat may get adversely affected by chilly pepper and cayenne pepper. Consumption of it in greater quantities can be a cause of diarrhea and vomiting in cats. You would be required to reach out to a veterinarian clinic immediately if your cat consumes such seasoning and starts to show symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
You need to ensure that your cat does not consume beef jerky. However, consuming a small piece and quantity of beef will not do any great harm and there would be no symptoms of a medical condition in cats. If a cat is consuming beef jerky over a long period or has consumed an excessive quantity of it at a time, it may start to show symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting among others.
In such a scenario, you must reach a veterinarian clinic close to you immediately. The animal and pet doctor will try to induce vomiting in the cat so that the toxins are removed from the body. In other cases, IV (intravenous) fluids and medications may be administered.
Allergy to beef is common in cats. There is a high probability that your cat may be allergic to beef jerky as well and may start to show symptoms upon the consumption of the meat. Some of these symptoms may include sneezing, watery/red eyes, running nose, diarrhea, ear infection, facial pain, skin redness, and cough among others.
Apart from ingredients including sugar, salt, and seasoning, there may also be other reasons why your cat should not consume beef jerky. Allergy to beef is one of the most common allergies in cats. Raw and fresh meat can be a good source of protein for your cat that is also safe and can be consumed regularly by felines. However, you should also consult your veterinarian from time to time to get your cat’s health diagnosed and to know about the best procedures for cat feeding and care.