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Can Cats Eat Beggin’ Strips? Are They Healthy for Them?

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	Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Beggin’ Strips are popular dog treats and have a strong, meaty odor, which may make your cat seek them out. However, Beggin’ Strips aren’t healthy for cats and neither are most dog treats.

Dog treats, like Beggin’ Strips, are intended and formulated for dogs, not cats. They may be two of the most popular pets, but they have different nutritional needs.

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What Are Beggin’ Strips?

Beggin’ Strips are bacon-like strips with a meaty odor and coloration that looks similar to bacon, which is the focus of the marketing. They’re manufactured by Purina.

Though they look like bacon, Beggin’ Strips have small amounts of bacon and many other ingredients, including sodium nitrite, BHA, corn gluten meal, ground yellow corn, soybean meal, wheat flour, sugar, sorbic acid, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysate.

BHA, or butylated hydroxyanisole, is considered “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” based on animal studies. Though it’s often used in animal feed as a preservative and generally recognized as safe, this is something to consider when feeding Beggin’ Strips.

For cats, there’s no nutritional benefit to feeding Beggin’ Strips or other dog treats or food. Your cat has unique nutritional needs that aren’t met by commercial dog food products.

Can My Cat Have Dog Treats?

In short, yes, cats can have a small number of dog treats, including Beggin’ Strips, without experiencing significant toxicity or complications.

Should your cat have dog treats? No, not really. There’s no reason to give your cat dog food or treats when commercial cat treats specifically formulated for them are available.

Cats can’t be maintained on dog food or dog treats. Stealing a bit of dog food or feeding a dog treat in a pinch probably won’t be harmful, but it should only happen rarely.

calico cat having treats
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

Dogs and cats have different nutritional needs. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need animal-based proteins and fats to survive and thrive. Dogs are omnivores and have more flexible dietary needs, so they can thrive on both animal and plant-based ingredients.

Dog food and dog treats don’t offer the nutrients cats need, so feeding a cat these products only add to the calorie count without providing a lot of nutritional value.

Here are some of the nutrients cats need that may not be present in high enough amounts in dog products:

  • Protein: Cats require a minimal protein percentage of 30-35%, though 40-50% is preferred
  • Taurine: Cats require taurine as an essential element. Without it, they can experience health problems like vision loss, weakened hearts, and digestive problems.
  • Arachidonic acid: Cats can’t create this fatty acid—they must ingest it. Without it, cats may develop skin problems or abnormal kidney and liver values.
  • Vitamin A: Cats can’t create vitamin A and must get it from their diet. Without it, they may have poor coat quality, possible night blindness, and muscle weakness.
  • Niacin: Cats can’t make their own niacin, which comes from animal tissue.
grey cat eating food
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Cats can have a small piece of a Beggin’ Strip or other dog treat without adverse effects, but it’s not a healthy choice. There are plenty of commercial cat treats available that give your cat the nutrients it needs, such as protein and taurine, to thrive.

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Featured Image: Two Beggin’Strips (Image Credit: Jennifer Gradl, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

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