Can Cats Eat Shrimp?

Cats are amazing creatures. Some of them are picky eaters that are selective about the foods that they eat, but most of them will entertain the notion of trying anything once if it smells and tastes good. When you’re strolling down the pet aisle to select a delicious and nutritious cat food you see quite a few feline foods that are advertised as seafood or ocean varieties. This leads to another common question asked by cat owners. Can cats eat shrimp? It’s seafood, but does it contain anything that can be harmful to cats? After conducting our research, we found the answer to this question.

Can cats eat shrimp?

The answer to this question is yes, cats can eat shrimp. According to Healthy Paws, shrimp is safe for cats to eat, and most of them are attracted to the scent and the flavor. Although it’s a food they can safely eat, some restrictions must go along with feeding the delicious food to your cat.

The benefits of shrimp for cats

Shrimp is full of healthy protein for cats. It also contains quite a few nutrients in the meat of the shrimp. These include iodine, omega 3, copper, zinc, and vitamins E and B12. There are also antioxidants found in shrimp that can help boost your cat’s immune system and ward off illness and disease.

The best type of shrimp

The best kinds of shrimp to feed your cat are those that are caught in the wild. These are healthier versions versus those that have been farmed commercially. Commercially raised shrimp may contain trace amounts of fungicides, antibiotics, or other chemicals that could be toxic. This is why it’s best to feed your cat wild-caught shrimp. You can catch them yourself or find them for sale at most seafood markets, just be sure to check the package to confirm the type.

Can your cat eat raw shrimp?

Categorical explains that there are some types of shrimp that your cat should never be allowed to eat, but raw shrimp can be fed occasionally as a treat if it is safely refrigerated to prevent spoiling. Some vets discourage feeding any raw meats because of the higher likelihood of parasitic or bacterial infections, while others say it’s permissible. The digestive system of the shrimp should be completely removed. Clean, devein and remove the shells and tails from shrimp before feeding them to your cat.

Other types of shrimp you shouldn’t feed your cat

Shrimp that is pre-packaged, processed, and ready to eat should never be fed to your cats. This type is high in salt and other preservatives that are not healthy for cats. They may also contain oils or seasonings that could be toxic. If you feed your cat cooked shrimp, it’s essential for the best nutritional value that you boil the shrimp without any types of oils or seasonings. If you use butter to cook the shrimp, use very little and feed sauteed shrimp sparingly to your kitty.

Other parts of the shrimp that are safe for cats

Cats can also eat the heads, legs, and tails of shrimp. While they don’t look very appetizing to humans, cats love the flavor and there is nothing harmful in these body parts.

Are there any potential hazards for eating shrimp?

Shrimp is not a food that is essential for cats to eat. While there are some definite health benefits for eating shrimp, there are also some hazards you should be aware of. According to Pet Place experts, feeding cats that are not used to eating this rich protein shrimp, can result in gastric upsets in some cats. If cats are fed shrimp that contains seasonings or butter/oil, there is a risk that the cat could develop pancreatitis.

Other dangers shrimp can pose for cats

Shrimp that does not have the tails and shells removed presents a choking hazard. The shells can be sharp and they can lodge in the airway, blocking off the air supply. Raw shrimp has the potential for containing salmonella, listeria, or E.Coli bacteria which can lead to serious illness. Finally, just as some humans have allergies to seafood, your cat could also have a sensitivity or allergy to shellfish. It is important to note that while shrimp may not have any adverse effects on some cats, others may not be able to tolerate any amounts of shrimp. This is why if you decide to give your cat a treat of shrimp, it’s best to start with very small amounts in the beginning and keep the serving sizes moderate, as it’s not intended to become a regular part of your cat’s diet. There is no substitute for a healthy cat formula that is enriched with vitamins and minerals and healthy natural ingredients.

Final thoughts

In most cases, shrimp is perfectly safe for cats to ingest. It is a tasty treat that most of them love. It’s best to feed your kitty shrimp meat that is thoroughly cleaned and has the tail and shells removed. The safest type is wild-caught shrimp that is boiled in plain water without any kind of butter, oils, or seasonings. Start your kitty out with small amounts initially and watch him and see how well he tolerates it. If he doesn’t have any negative reactions to the shrimp, it’s a nice treat that you can feed him occasionally, but not as a steady diet. Shrimp meat does contain some nutritious compounds and it is generally considered a healthy snack for cats on occasion. However, it is not a replacement for a balanced healthy diet. Shrimp can be used for a special treat that you can share with your kitty.

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