It’s no secret that our feline friends love the taste of fish, and you’ve probably offered your cat things like tuna or sardines from time to time.
But can cats eat shrimp?
The answer is yes, cats can eat shrimp!
However, there are a few things to be aware of before feeding shrimp to your cat. So, let’s take a look at the nutritional benefits of shrimp for cats, the risks, and how much they can eat!
Nutritional Stats And Facts
Shrimp, also known as prawns, are animals belonging to a group called crustaceans (these have several pairs of legs, segmented bodies and are covered by a hard outer shell), which live in the sea. There are hundreds of species of shrimp, all of which have long bodies with 10 legs and segments.
A 100 gram serving of shrimp contains roughly:
Shrimp are also packed full of vitamins and minerals, including selenium, B12, iron, phosphorus, niacin, zinc and magnesium. They are also an excellent source of iodine, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Shrimp offer some amazing nutritional benefits for humans. They are high in protein but low in calories and cholesterol, making them great for weight loss and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids act as powerful antioxidants and help maintain healthy skin, reduce inflammation, promote brain function, and maintain healthy cells throughout the body.
Shrimp also contain choline—a nutrient similar to vitamin B that is found in the liver as well as various foods. It is thought that choline helps support cognitive function, and some early but limited research even suggests it could help to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Benefits Of Shrimp For Cats
So, shrimp have a huge array of health benefits to humans, but what about cats?
Shrimp are a tasty, low-fat, low-calorie and protein-rich food source for cats. The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in shrimp also offer all the same benefits to cats as they do to humans.
Shrimp are a good source of B12, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and choline, which all can help maintain healthy skin, support a healthy heart and brain function, and reduce inflammation.
Cats can eat all parts of the shrimp, including the head and tail, but the shell should be avoided as it is a choking hazard.
How Much Shrimp Can A Cat Eat?
Cats need to eat a complete and balanced commercial cat food containing all their essential nutrition to stay healthy. But adding fresh seafood will add variety and stimulate their senses. As this is a treat in addition to their usual food, half a shrimp for a small cat or one whole shrimp for a large cat would be plenty.
Although shrimp has many great nutritional benefits for cats, it can also be calorific and contribute to weight gain if given too frequently. Treats should only make up 10 percent of your cat’s daily food intake.
Although cats can eat raw shrimp, it is safer to feed it thoroughly cooked. Raw shrimp can contain harmful bacteria, pesticides and chemicals that could make your cat unwell, but bacteria are destroyed during the cooking process. Don’t use any oils or seasoning when preparing shrimp for your cat. It is safest to remove the shell as this can be a choking hazard.
How Often Can A Cat Eat Shrimp?
We all like to treat our cats and add variety to keep them interested in their food, and shrimp can be a great way to do this. Treats should make up no more than 10 percent of your cat’s daily food intake, and seafood like shrimp should only be offered occasionally, so half to one full shrimp once or twice a week would be suitable for most cats.
Are Shrimps Used In Commercial Cat Food?
Commercial cat foods are carefully formulated to contain everything your cat needs to stay healthy. These foods come in a myriad of flavors, so there is something to suit every taste! Fish is commonly used as the main source of protein because of its great taste and smell, enticing cats to eat.
Shrimp is used in commercial cat food as a source of protein. It is often found in tasty combinations with other seafood, such as salmon and tuna.
The Risks Of Eating Shrimp For Cats
Although shrimp are a safe and tasty form of seafood for cats, there are a few risks that you need to be aware of.
Raw shrimp might contain contaminants, such as pesticides, chemicals and antibiotics that are put into the water where shrimp are farmed. These can still be present in the shrimp when it reaches supermarket shelves. Raw shrimp can also carry bacteria, such as E. coli or Salmonella.
You should cook shrimp before feeding it to your cat to destroy these nasty chemicals and bacteria. Remove the shell as it can be a choking hazard.
Shrimp served in oils, seasoning or brine can be harmful to cats. Brine has a high salt content—too much salt can cause extreme thirst, dehydration, lethargy and weakness, and can be fatal if not treated. Other seasoning and oils can be toxic or cause an upset tummy, so fried or battered shrimp are a big no for cats.
The other key thing to remember is that shrimp should only feature in your cat’s diet occasionally—too much causes weight gain and puts your cat at risk of developing diabetes.
Do Cats Like The Taste Of Shrimp?
Cats love most types of seafood, and shrimps are no exception. Your cat will most likely enjoy the taste of shrimp!
Cats can eat shrimps in small portions. They should be thoroughly cooked with no seasoning or oils, and the shells removed. Remember that too many shrimps can contribute to weight gain, so half to one shrimp per serving is plenty. Shrimps offer several nutritional benefits to cats and make a great tasty treat!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can cats eat frozen shrimp?
Avoid feeding your cat frozen shrimp that has been processed or packaged as these shrimps will contain high levels of salt and preservatives that could be dangerous for your cat. Fresh, unprocessed frozen shrimps are OK if they are thoroughly defrosted and cooked before serving.
What happens when you give a cat shrimp?
When you give a cat shrimp, most will instinctively love it and want more! If you give a cat plain, cooked shrimp, they should not have any issues. However, if you give a cat raw shrimp, or shrimp that has been prepared with oils, brine or seasoning, it could cause an upset tummy.
Are cats allowed to eat seafood?
Yes, cats love seafood! You can give cats seafood as long as it is fresh and does not contain preservatives or additives and has not been cooked in oil or seasoning. Cats should only be fed fish in moderation, as a treat to supplement their usual complete cat food.