Can cats eat shrimp?
My cat always begs for a sample of seafood every time I cook some for my family.
It is a good thing that you are checking whether cooked shrimp is safe for cats. After all, not all seafood is safe for cats and that is why you must always check with your vet before feeding it to your cat.
As far as cooked shrimp goes, it is okay to feed your feline friend a bit – provided you prepare it properly.
In this guide, I will tell you exactly how to cook shrimp for your cat and also answer questions like – can cats eat raw shrimp, shrimp shells, etc.
Can Cats Eat Shrimp?
Cats can eat shrimps but in moderation and only when they are properly cooked. Shrimps are high in cholesterol and it is better to feed your cat shrimps once or twice a week. Beware that the tail and shell of shrimps can be dangerous as they could be a choking hazard and may also cause blockage in intestines.
Shrimps are one of the good sources of protein for cats, but you have to check first if your cat is allergic to the ingredients of shrimp. Shrimps are low calorie and rich in Vitamin D and protein. It also has a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which help in reducing the potential risk of cardiovascular diseases in cats.
Can Cats Eat Shrimp Chips?
Vets recommend not to feed shrimp chips or prawn crackers to cats. Commercial shrimp chips contain a lot of salt. Salt, in excess, can cause salt toxicity in cats.
If your cat ends up eating a shrimp chip or two off the floor – it is okay, you need not worry.
However, in excess, too many shrimp chips can cause salt poisoning in cats.
Symptoms of salt poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. In extreme cases, it can also lead to potential injury to its kidneys.
Another reason not to feed shrimp chips to cats is due to the preservatives and flavors in them. These could be hard-to-digest for cats and most cats have sensitive tummies.
So, please keep those chips away from your cat. And if your pet does eat a few, keep an eye out for the above symptoms. If these symptoms do occur, check with your vet right away.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Shrimp?
Does your cat love the fishy taste and flavor of shrimp?
Then go ahead, feed it some – cooked shrimp – I mean.
The quick answer to the question ‘can cats eat cooked shrimp’ is yes, they can. However, you must use minimal seasoning for cooking and also remove the shells and the tail as these are hard to digest for your pet.
In the next section, I will discuss the longer answer to ‘can cats eat cooked shrimp’ focusing on the benefits of this food for your cat.
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What Are The Health Benefits of Shrimp for Cats?
Here are some benefits of feeding cooked shrimp to your cat:
A. Tasty and nutritious
Most cats are known to love the taste and flavor of seafood. Shrimp is one such sea food item and most cats love its taste. It is chock-full of protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
B. Low in calories
Another reason why cooked shrimp is good for most kitten and cats is because it is not a fattening food. Being low in calories, you can add shrimp to your cat’s diet to curb its hunger pangs, keep it full longer, and reduce weight.
C. Could improve your pet’s skin and coat
Shrimp is rich in vitamin B12, zinc, iodine, copper, and omega 3 fatty acids. These nutrients provide your cat with a shinier coat and luxurious soft fur.
Can Cats Eat Raw Shrimp?
You can feed raw shrimp to your cat as an occasional treat provided you source it from wild-caught organic sources that do not add any preservatives, flavors, etc. while storing it.
These days, many farm-raised shrimps are being sold as ‘wild-caught’. Farm-raised shrimp often contains antibiotics, fungicides, and chemicals which are harmful to cats.
Raw shrimp can also make your cat susceptible to salmonella and e.coli bacteria. That is why most vets recommend not to feed raw shrimp to cats.
Lightly cooking the shrimp destroys the bacteria to reduce the risk of such food poisoning.
So bottom-line – Only feed raw shrimp to your cat if you are sure of its source. Otherwise, please stick to feeding well-cooked shrimp only.
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Can Cats Eat Shrimp Shells?
No. Never feed shrimp shells to your cat.
Shrimp shells and tails are a major choking hazard as they can get stuck in your cat’s throat.
Tails and shells of shrimp could cause intestinal blockages in cats.
They also do not offer anything in the way of nutrition to your cat so there is really no need to feed shrimp shells to your feline companion.
Whenever you bring shrimp for your cat, always clean it first and remove all shells, veins, head, and tails. Cook the shrimp (I will tell you how in the next section) before you feed it to your pet.
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How To Cook Shrimp for Your Cat?
Here are the steps to prepare the shrimp for your cat:
1. Clean the shrimp
Wash the shrimp in warm water. Remove the shrimp’s vein, head, and tail.
2. Steam it
You can steam the shrimp for a few minutes until it is well-cooked but not mushy. Cool it completely before feeding your cat. You can also add boiled shrimp over your pet’s kibble or canned food.
3. Bake it
Bake the shrimp in the oven preheated at 350 F for about 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely before mixing it up with dry or canned/wet cat food.
4. Grill it
You can grill shrimp at 350 F for 5 minutes. Make sure the outside of the shrimp has a nice pink color while the inside is white.
Never add any sauce, butter, garlic, or other seasonings to the shrimp when you are cooking it for your cat.
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How Much Shrimp Can Cats Eat Safely
Shrimp is good as an occasional treat for cats. Do not feed more than 1-2 medium to large shrimp or 1 jumbo sized shrimp once or twice a week to your average-sized cat.
Remember: too much shrimp can be bad for your cat because it does contain cholesterol and sodium.
Also, the shrimp’s digestive tract could contain toxic stuff that the shrimp has swallowed from the sea water. This could include chemicals too.
That is why, you must make it a point to only select high-quality, wild-caught, organic shrimp. If you go in for farm-raised shrimp, then avoid ones with chemicals, antibiotics, growth hormones, etc.
How NOT TO Serve Shrimp To a Cat
Never serve breaded, spiced, or heavily seasoned shrimp to cats. Avoid cooking the shrimp in spicy sauces with garlic, herbs, and other seasonings.
Many seemingly innocuous seasonings and herbs can be hard to digest for cats and even a small quantity can cause an upset stomach.
The best way to serve shrimp to a cat is plain, raw (if you know the source), lightly baked, steamed, or grilled. You can mix it up with some boiled rice or your cat’s kibble or canned food.
Lastly, always serve shrimp to you cat in moderation. Shrimp is only good as an occasional treat and should not constitute the main meal for your cat.
Can Cats Get Sick from Eating Shrimp?
Cats are obligate carnivore and they need meat. That is also why they need real animal protein in their diet. Most cats are able to handle seafood like fish and shrimp well and they do not typically develop allergies to this protein.
Resultantly, many cat food manufacturers are also adding shrimp, tuna, salmon, and cod fish to their products.
Not only is such food flavorful and tasty for cats, high-quality brands also ensure complete and balanced nourishment for your feline friend.
The answer to the above question: can cats get sick from eating fresh shrimp is NO. If you cook the shrimp properly then cats should not get sick from eating it.
Just make sure to keep the shrimp plain and cook it without any harsh ingredients that could lead to digestive tract issues in cats.
Also Read: Best Cat Food for Diarrhea
Can Cats Eat Dried Shrimp?
Dried shrimp are crunchy and tasty occasional snack for cats.
You can feed a few dried shrimp treats to your cat but make sure that there are no harmful ingredients in it.
Always start with a small quantity at first and then increase it a bit. You can crumble dried shrimp over your picky cat’s food to enhance its taste and flavor.
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Can Cats Eat Canned Tuna?
Vets recommend not to feed even a small bit of canned tuna to cats. It can seem like a natural thing for cat parents to give tuna to their cat. After all, cats love fish, don’t they?
However, tuna meant for humans – the variety that comes packed in cans – can be dangerous for cats. Even a small amount of tuna can cause a condition called steatitis in cats.
Steatitis is fatty tissue inflammation. It is characterized by a lump under the skin and often nutrition is to blame.
Regular intake of canned tuna can cause steatitis lumps in cats. Therefore, you must avoid feeding canned tuna to your cat.
FAQs on Can Cats Eat Cooked Shrimp
1. Can cats eat shrimp cocktail?
Shrimp cocktail comes in the form of a ring of shrimp around a ready-made sauce for dipping the prawns. Avoid feeding the sauce to your cat as it usually has tomatoes, garlic, and other seasonings which are not safe for cats to consume.
Check the shrimp cocktail ingredients listed on the box. If there are no ingredients added to the shrimp and it is simply frozen shrimp, then you can thaw them and feed one or two– no more – to your cat.
Do not feed shrimp cocktail in excess as it could cause digestive upset in your cat.
2. Can raw shrimp kill my cat?
Raw shrimp won’t kill your cat but please do not feed it in excess.
Also, cooked shrimp is always a better choice since raw uncooked shrimp can expose your cat to salmonella or e.coli bacteria. These bacteria can cause food poisoning in cats which can be dangerous.
In general though, raw shrimp isn’t toxic. However, always practice moderation while feeding your pet.
3. Why do cats love shrimp so much?
Most cats love all forms of seafood and shrimp is no different. Cats love their soft and chewy texture as well as their salty, sea-like flavor. Moreover, this food provides your pet with many vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium – so it is a good addition to your cat’s diet.
4. Is too much seafood bad for cats?
There is a great debate raging in the vet and pet-lovers community regarding fish, shellfish, and seafood consumption in cats.
Some vets recommend not to feed seafood to cats in excess because of their mercury content. Also, some brands of cat food with fish are known to contain ash which can cause kidney and urinary tract problems in male cats.
Furthermore, cats that only eat fish end up getting too many fatty acids which can lead to vitamin E deficiency.
Also, cats that only eat cooked salmon or seafood could be at a risk of thiamine/vitamin B1 deficiency.
Due to all of these reasons, it is best to not rely solely on seafood or fish for your cat but also use other protein sources such as chicken, turkey, etc. – as long as they are not allergic to it.
5. Do cats prefer the taste of chicken or fish?
Most cats love the flavor of fish although some are allergic to fish and seafood.
If your cat stops eating chicken, you could switch to fish-based food since a change of taste and flavor can be great for cats, especially the picky ones.
Conclusion – Can Cats Eat Cooked Shrimp?
Yes, cats are allowed to eat cooked shrimp as long as they are not deep fried, breaded, or made using sauces and condiments.
You can also feed raw shrimp in moderation to your cat although you must make sure about their source to avoid antibiotics and growth hormones. Remember all kinds of raw meat can increase your cat’s risk to salmonella poisoning.
Avoid feeding the shrimp tails and shrimp shell as they could cause intestinal blockage and your cat could even choke on them.
As always, check with a vet if in doubt.