Everyone has their favorite guilty pleasure junk food. Definitely not good for you but it sure tastes delicious! Slim Jims, a meat jerky mash-up, is one of those guilty pleasure foods for many people. Given that Slim Jims are made of meat, your carnivore cat may decide to try and steal your snack if given the chance. If so, should you let them? Can cats eat Slim Jims?
Slim Jims aren’t automatically toxic to cats, but they aren’t very good for them either and could cause an upset stomach. Keep reading to learn why Slim Jims aren’t the best choice for your cat.
Can Cats Eat Slim Jims?
Yes. Cats can technically eat Slim Jims. There is nothing within the Slim Jim that is outright toxic or poisonous to your cat. If your cat sneaks a bite of your Slim Jim or snags it off the floor before you have a chance to pick it up, you don’t have anything to worry about. Monitor for signs of an upset stomach such as vomiting and diarrhea but this shouldn’t last long, if at all.
Are Slim Jims Healthy for Cats?
Just because cats can eat Slim Jims does not mean they should. Slim Jims are highly processed and packed full of ingredients that are not healthy for cats.
Slim Jims could lead to several adverse health effects in your cat when eaten frequently or in large amounts. For example, high sodium levels can lead to salt poisoning in cats, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination or even seizures and coma.
Why Slim Jims Are Unhealthy for Cats
Slim Jims is made of beef, pork, and chicken, which by themselves are perfectly fine foods for cats, often serving as protein sources in commercial diets. However, Slim Jims are also loaded with problematic ingredients like corn syrup, spices, and preservatives. They are also high in salt and fat and contain soy and wheat.
Too much salt can actually be toxic to cats, and consuming even one Slim Jim adds a huge extra 210 mg of sodium to your cat’s daily diet. The spices found in Slim Jims could upset your cat’s stomach, causing vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, eating too many fatty foods may cause your cat to develop a condition called pancreatitis, which can be painful and hard to treat.
Wheat, soy, and corn may not be well-tolerated by cats with food sensitivities. Two of the meat ingredients in Slim Jims–beef and chicken–are among the culprits that most commonly cause food allergies in cats.
Because treats should only make up a small portion of your cat’s daily diet (more on this in a minute!) you want to make sure the treats they do get are not only tasty but unlikely to make your cat sick. With those factors in mind, Slim Jims don’t make the cut.
Risks of Feeding Slim Jims to Cats
High Sodium Content
Slim Jims are known for their high amounts of salt, which is one of the main reasons they taste so flavorful.
However, a cat’s stomach is not designed to handle large quantities of sodium. Excessive salt intake can lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, and even kidney damage in cats.
Artificial food additives are synthetic ingredients added to food to enhance its appearance, texture, taste, shelf life, freshness, and nutrition.
In addition to salt, Slim Jims contain artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors that can harm cats.
Cats have sensitive digestive systems; these artificial ingredients may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, or even allergic reactions in some felines.
Slim Jims can also pose a choking hazard for cats. Their chewy texture can be difficult for cats to break apart and swallow properly.
Suppose a cat attempts to swallow a large piece of Slim Jim. In that case, it could become lodged in its throat, leading to a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation.
What Should I Do If My Cat Eats a Slim Jim?
If your cat eats a Slim Jim, don’t panic. The Slim Jim is not outright toxic to your cat, which means your cat should not have any adverse reactions. Just make sure to keep the Slim Jims picked up so that your cat does not eat anymore in the future.
A little piece of a Slim Jim won’t hurt your cat that much. If that’s the case, make sure there’s plenty of fresh water available, so your cat will be able to wash off all that salt. If your cat had too much of them, call a vet right away.
If your cat managed to steal a little bit of your Slim Jim, don’t worry. Worst comes to worst, your cat will suffer from diarrhea and perhaps vomiting.
On the other hand, if your cat ate a serving size’s worth of a Slim Jim or more, you should call the vet. This type of food has plenty of ingredients to poison a cat – and it could cause enough problems to be lethal. Don’t worry, though. The vet will be able to handle this problem right away!
What Are Healthier Slim Jim Alternatives for Cats?
If your cat loves Slim Jims, it’s best to find a healthier alternative for your cat. There are plenty of Slim Jim-like treats on the market that cats love. Use these Slim Jim alternatives as a treat so that your cat gets the delicious flavor without the harmful ingredients.
Specifically, look for freeze-dried and dehydrated treats. These treats will still be very savory and meat-packed for your cat in a way that is reminiscent of Slim Jims. There are many freeze-dried treats to consider, some being made from chicken, whereas others are made from salmon.
There are also treats in stick form so you can easily break a piece off and offer treats and rewards.