Can I Feed My Cat Shrimp?

As carnivores, cats must get their nutrition primarily in meats, such as chicken, beef, fish, and more. However, not all human foods are safe for cats to eat. That is why cat owners must know what foods are safe and toxic for their pets.

If you’re wondering if cats can eat shrimp, read on to find out. If they do, how much can they eat per day? Is it safe to feed them raw or cooked shrimp? Can kittens eat shrimp, too? What are the benefits of feeding shrimp to cats? All these questions will be answered in this article.

Can I feed my cat shrimp?

Cats can eat shrimp. Not only will they enjoy its taste, but it is beneficial for their health, too! Shrimp can be steamed, boiled, broiled, baked, grilled, or plain. Your pet will surely enjoy this seafood because of the shrimp’s texture, smell, and flavor.

can I feed my cat shrimp
Image credit: sintec from Pixabay

Shrimp makes especially a great snack for indoor cats who are not allowed to prove and practice their natural hunting skills. Moreover, the unique taste of shrimp, compared to the usual kibble and wet food, will allow your cat to taste an unfamiliar yet delicious flavor.

However, like all other foods, there are rules to follow so that your cat can safely consume shrimp.

See also: Human foods your cat should avoid

How much can I give my cat per day?

Shrimp should only be given to cats in moderation. This is because they are rich in sodium and cholesterol and could risk your cat’s health if given excessively. That’s why shrimp should never be a meal replacement for your cat.

A small- to average-sized cat should not be more than half of a jumbo-sized shrimp. For larger cats, one shrimp should be enough. The safest way to give shrimp to your cat is to devein it and cook it without any seasoning.

Although you love spoiling your feline friend with yummy treats, it is still important that they get their treats in moderation. Moreover, giving your cat delicious treats too frequently may cause him to become picky about his dishes. At some point, he may even stop eating his regular food and would instead beg for you to give him human food. Not only will it build discipline, but most of the cat’s needed nutrients are found within properly formulated cat food – not human food. Therefore, one shrimp, or two at most, is ideal to offer your cat per week.

Another important point to consider is introducing new food to your cat gradually. If it is his first time eating it, make sure to give it in small quantities so as not to cause indigestion or any problems that may put his health at risk. Keep in mind that some cats may be allergic to seafood.

Can cats eat raw shrimp?

Cats can eat fresh, raw shrimp. In fact, the moist texture and fishy smell make it more tempting for your cat. Just make sure to devein the shrimp, removing its digestive tract and not adding any oil or seasoning.

Indoor cats will most especially enjoy eating raw shrimp because it gives them the feeling of hunting the shrimp on their own. Again, raw shrimp’s smell and freshness will give them the idea that they are excellent predators.

Read also: Can I feed my cats sushi or other raw fish?

Can cats eat cooked shrimp?

Cats do enjoy eating cooked shrimp, too. Boiled or steamed shrimp is the safest and best option for cats. Like with raw shrimp, ensure that it has no spices, seasonings, or oil as it will be unhealthy for your cat. Before serving and cooking, clean the shrimp thoroughly.

Can cats eat pre-packaged shrimp?

Processed, seasoned, and pre-packed shrimp should never be given to your cat. These foods contain plenty of sodium that serves as their preservatives. Feeding your cat for a long time can damage their health.

Meanwhile, you can give your cat frozen shrimp so long as no seasoning, salty brine, or batter is added to it.

Can cats eat shrimp shells, heads, tails, and legs?

As mentioned earlier, cats can eat shrimp shells, heads, tails, and legs in both cooked and raw form as long as they are cleaned and no seasonings and spices are added. However, you should be careful with the hard and sharp parts of the shell. These can be dangerous, especially when your cat doesn’t chew on them properly.

Can cats eat shrimp chips or shrimp crackers?

Although shrimp chips or crackers are a safer option than other chips, it is still considered junk food. They usually come with sodium and seasonings, such as onion and garlic. Therefore, store-bought shrimp chips are not suggested for your cat’s consumption. Instead, if you really want to give your cat shrimp chips, you can make some at home to ensure no unhealthy or toxic substances are added to it.

Can kittens eat shrimp?

Kittens can safely eat shrimp. So long as the shrimp is not processed, preserved with salt, or not seasoned, kittens can and will enjoy munching on it. As a matter of fact, introducing a variety of flavors and textures to them at an early age is vital in developing their food preferences.

can i feed my cat shrimp
Image credit: Felix Wolf from Pixabay

Although rare, your kitten might be allergic to shrimp. If it is your first time feeding your kitten with shrimp, observe closely for possible side effects. Call your veterinarian immediately if your kitten starts vomiting or shows unusual behavior.

Health benefits of eating shrimp for cats

So, why should you give shrimp to your cat, anyway? Below are some of the health benefits of feeding shrimp to your cats:

Shrimp is packed with nutrients and antioxidants essential for your cat’s health

This includes vitamins B12, B3, B6, E, zinc, iodine, selenium, phosphorus, copper, and omega-3 fatty oils that help in blood flow and circulation.

Shrimp may help control your cat’s weight.

Shrimp is high in protein and is low in calories, which means that it will not raise the risk of obesity as long as it is given in moderation. Moreover, because of the zinc present in shrimp, the hormone leptin, which is in charge of regulating your cat’s appetite and energy use, is increased in your cat’s body.

Read also our article about possible reasons why your cat is losing weight

Shrimp aids in healthier fur and skin

Once again, the considerable amount of zinc found in shrimp helps make your cat’s fur and skin healthier. This is because zinc is responsible for creating and maintaining new cells. Zinc also helps boost the immune system.

Read also: Why is my cat losing hair?

Shrimp helps boost your cat’s bones

Shrimp is packed with calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are all essential in your cat’s bone health. These minerals help strengthen your cat’s bone mass, bone quality, and bone strength.

Final Thought

Overall, shrimps are safe for cats to eat so long as they are appropriately prepared, as well as given in moderation. Before giving shrimp to your cat, either cooked or fresh, make sure that it is washed, deveined, and no seasonings are added.

Keep in mind that some cats are allergic to seafood. Make sure to observe and pay close attention to how your cat reacts to eating shrimp. Bring him to the veterinarian immediately if your cat is starting to swell, has difficulty breathing or swallowing, and if other unusual signs begin to develop.

References and Further Reading

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