Can Cats Eat Shrimp? The Pros And Cons Of Eating Shrimp Disclosed

Can Cats Eat Shrimp

If you’re a seafood lover, a party wouldn’t be complete without shrimp. This decapod crustacean tastes great whether grilled, baked, pan-fried, steamed, or boiled.

If you can’t resist it, your cat can’t as well. But can cats eat shrimp? Is it safe for cats?   

As loving cat owners, you know by now that some “people food” can do more harm than good to your pet cat.

Since marine creatures like salmon or tuna are commonly included in store-bought cat foods, it’s normal to think that giving your cat shrimp is A-OK. 

Good thing, it’s all right for cats to eat shrimp, but there are a few things to consider.

So, before you cave into your cat’s begging, read on to find out the benefits and dangers of feeding shrimp to your cat. We’ve also included some helpful shrimp-related facts and more.

Related article: Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

Can Cats Eat Shrimp?

As mentioned earlier, the answer to your question: “Can cats eat shrimp?” is a big YES. Cats can eat shrimp. In fact, shrimp is safe for cats

Now, before you give your cat a bowl of shrimp, you need to keep in mind that shrimp is an excellent treat but not an ideal meal replacement. It shouldn’t be part of your cat’s regular diet. 

Although it is packed with protein and cats need a lot of protein in their foods, shrimp does not provide cats with everything they need nutrition-wise.

Thus, it’s essential for you to feed your cat this tasty treat in moderation. A bowl of shrimp in one sitting is a definite No-No. 

Can Cats Eat Shrimp

Which Shrimp Is Best For Your Cat?

In this section, we’ll talk about all the must-know facts about shrimp. Shrimp are not all the same.

Knowing the difference between farmed and wild shrimp, as well as frozen, raw, and cooked shrimp, will help you decide on which one is the healthiest type to feed your cat.

Farm-Raised Vs. Wild-Caught Shrimp

Dubbed as a national obsession by NYT, shrimp is now available worldwide and all year long, thanks to shrimp aquaculture.

Many, however, are quick to assume that wild-caught shrimp is better than farm-raised. This might be true, but not all the time. 

Although shrimp grown in their natural habitat have less saturated fat, they may at times contain mercury. On the flip side, there is a possibility that the farm-grown shrimp you’re planning to buy is filled with antibiotics. But, you’ll also find high-quality farmed shrimp in the market. 

Farmed shrimp often have a higher content of omega 3 fatty acids compared to those in the wild.

Just make sure to pick the ones that are certified by BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices), ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council), or GAA (Global Aquaculture Alliance). Of course, they’re priced higher, but their quality is guaranteed.

Frozen, Raw, Or Cooked Shrimp

If you live near the coast, then finding fresh, raw shrimp is easy. Born predators, cats love the smell and taste of raw shrimp. However, the presence of harmful bacteria puts your cat at risk. 

If you are not close to the shore, you don’t have any choice but to opt for frozen shrimp. You’ll find both wild and farmed shrimp in frozen form.

But, just like fresh, raw shrimp, you can’t be sure that these are free from bacteria, viruses, additives, and toxic chemicals. 

So, which one is the best for your pet cat?

The answer here is any high-quality, cooked shrimp (either farmed or wild-caught) is best for your cat’s consumption since the cooking process kills whatever harmful stuff it contains. Serving shrimp boiled or steamed, without oils, butter, spices, and other seasonings is the way to go. 

To back this up, Dr. Herman – a vet at Fuzzy Pet Health – highly encourages fur parents to stop feeding their cat raw shrimp.

It has to be served cooked, minus any type of seasonings. Its shrimp tails, heads, and shells should also be removed. Removing its vein, aka “digestive tract,” is also suggested.

Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Shrimp

Right now, you’re well aware that your pet cats can eat shrimp. Besides containing a good amount of omega 3 that gives cats fuller and shinier coats and promotes blood flow, your kitty cat will also enjoy these fringe benefits: 

Excellent source of protein. According to WebMD, 3 ounces of raw shrimp contain 12 grams of protein. Considered as building blocks, protein is essential to keep a cat’s immune and nervous system and other organs in tip-top shape.

Low calorie-content. Shrimp, a low-calorie food source, will give your cats the feeling of being “full.” 

Contains Antioxidants. Cell damage caused by free radicals can be prevented with the help of astaxanthin – a type of antioxidant found in shrimp. The same antioxidant also helps in reducing the risk of colon cancer and diabetes in animals.

Can Cats Eat Shrimp? The Pros And Cons Of Eating Shrimp Disclosed 1

Potential Health Issues Of Shrimp For Your Cat

Yes, it’s all right for cats to eat shrimp, but the safety of your kitty should always be on top of your list. Sadly, feeding shrimp to your cat involves risks.

This is especially true if you give this in large amounts. Here is a rundown of some of the health problems your cat might face:

Gastrointestinal Distress

Some cats suffer from food allergies (even seafood allergy). If your cat suddenly looks queasy after eating shrimp and can’t keep the food in its digestive tract and starts to vomit, then your feline friend is likely allergic to shrimp. Contact your vet immediately in case this happens.

Weight Gain

Shrimp is high in both sodium and cholesterol. Thus, overeating might lead to an increase in weight. Too much sodium can also make your cat feel thirsty and pee a lot.

Choking Hazard

Although some cats eat shrimp tails, shrimp legs, shrimp heads, and shrimp shells, this shouldn’t be encouraged. For one, these parts are choking hazards. Another reason is that the fish tails and shrimp shells are hard to digest and can cause constipation.

Apart from the three hazards mentioned above, Dr. Herman adds that giving your cats fish-only diets is not an ideal option since this has been linked to Thiamine deficiency. This condition may lead to severe neurological anomalies. 

Can Cats Eat Shrimp

Conclusion

To sum it up, shrimp can be safely eaten by cats in small amounts. One piece of regular shrimp is enough to make your pal purr in happiness. 

Now that you have your answer, we just want to add that shrimp isn’t the healthiest meat source to be included in your cat’s diet.

Your pet is probably better off munching on meat food products like chicken, turkey, and beef or vet-approved cat food. Perhaps you can look for one with shrimp flavor if your pal is craving some crusty crustacean.

Below are some shrimp-ly amazing recipes you might wanna try!

Can Cats Eat Shrimp? The Pros And Cons Of Eating Shrimp Disclosed 2

Tuna and Shrimp Recipe

Samantha Randall

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Cooked shrimp
  • 12 oz Canned tuna in oil
  • 1 Sweet potato large
  • 1/2 cup Plain yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric pharmaceutical grade

Instructions
 

  • Grind the shrimp in a food processor. Poke a few holes in the sweet potato, and cook it in the microwave until soft. 
  • Mash the potato with the skin included. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Let it cool & serve.

Notes

You will need to use pharmaceutical grade turmeric – not the kind you find in the spice section of the grocery store. A substance in turmeric, Curcumin, has been shown to reduce inflammation. The health benefits are increased when you pair turmeric with black pepper.
Thyme is another great herb for dogs & cats. It is rich in antioxidants and has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Before you begin feeding your pet this (or any other) homemade food, be sure to check with your veterinarian. They may recommend adding additional supplements or ingredients to make the food nutritionally balanced for your pets.
Can Cats Eat Shrimp? The Pros And Cons Of Eating Shrimp Disclosed 3

Birthday Cake for Your Cat

Nate Bartlett
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Additional 5 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 2
Calories 145 kcal

Equipment

  • Oven

Ingredients
  

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained
  • 2 tbsp All-purpose flour
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1/8 Shredded mild Cheddar cheese
  • 4 Cooked shrimp peeled

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray 2 muffin tin cups with cooking spray.
  • Combine tuna, flour, egg white, and Cheddar cheese in a bowl. Fill prepared muffin cups equally with mixture.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Garnish cakes with shrimp.

Notes

This recipe will yield 2 cakes. Feel free to halve the portions, or eat 1 cake WITH your cat!
Can Cats Eat Shrimp? The Pros And Cons Of Eating Shrimp Disclosed 4

Invertebrate Soup

Melody McKinnon

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups Chicken stock unseasoned 
  • 110 oz Can baby clams  drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Shrimp minced
  • 1/4 cup Crab or lobster minced
  • 1/2 cup Prawns chopped
  • 1 Sardine packed in water chopped
  • 3 tbsp freeze-dried krill ground
  • 1 tsp seaweed/algae powdered

Instructions
 

  • Combine ingredients in saucepan. 
  • Simmer over very low heat to blend flavors.
  • Let cool before serving.
  • Add to cat's favorite food for additional hydration & flavor.
  • Recipe freezes very well for storage.

Notes

This recipe isn’t intended to be a source of complete, daily nutrition. It can be included as part of a nutritious diet for cats.

Can shrimp hurt cats?

Shrimp will not kill your cat if correctly prepared and fed. Shrimp is not toxic to your cat, but neither do they provide balanced nutrition. Therefore, shrimp should only be fed as an occasional treat. If you want to be on the safe side, you should remove the tail head and shell because they can be hard to digest.

Why do cats love shrimp?

Cats love the soft to firm texture, flavor, and smell of the shrimp and can enjoy it as a healthy snack. Shrimp is a good source of protein, phosphorous, selenium, choline, copper, iodine and vitamin B12.

Can cats eat shrimp skin?

In some cases, it's safe for cats to eat shrimp shells. If no salt, brine, or seasonings have been used, then you can give raw or cooked shrimp shells to your kitty. You can also deep fry them – even finicky cats enjoy foods with a crispy texture. Kittens can eat shrimp too!

Can I feed my cat cocktail shrimp?

Your cat will naturally enjoy raw shrimp more than cooked shrimp. Just as many people prefer fried shrimp, your cat will prefer raw ones. Just don't feed your cat the shrimp from a shrimp cocktail as the cocktail sauce can be harmful to your cat. If you do cook the shrimp, again, make sure it is fresh, raw shrimp.

  • Updated May 14, 2021
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.

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