Cats are closely associated with eating fish, and because of that, some cat lovers tend to wonder if another delicious seafood is good for feline food: shrimp. It is true that cats may enjoy the taste of shrimp, but that does not mean that it is good for them. So, can cats eat shrimp?
The Carnivorous Fur Ball
No matter the age or breed, cats are carnivores. Their main source of nutrition is meat. This could be chicken, turkey, beef, and tuna, or yes, even shrimp.
However, there are some details that are necessary to consider before buying tons of shrimp for your furry friend.
Is Shrimp OK for Cats?
Shrimp are a great source of protein. Not only that, they are tasty and greatly appealing to the feline palate.
It is important to remember, however, that a fully balanced meal can not be substituted with one single food item. Though nutritious, shrimp does not contain every single nutrient your cat needs on a daily basis.
There are a few guidelines you must deeply consider if you want to introduce shrimp into your feline friend’s diet.
When Can Cats Eat Shrimp?
Cats can only eat shrimp on an occasional basis. Shrimp should only be fed as treats, and not as meal substitutes.
Cats respond well to shrimp’s smell and flavor, so your cat will appreciate such a treat. And if given only once in a while, she will appreciate it more.
Shrimp is nutritious and full of antioxidants and selenium, B-12, and omega-3. It is also, unfortunately, with cholesterol and sodium. Cholesterol and sodium, if consumed regularly, cause obesity, bloating, and other health issues for your feline baby.
Can Cats Eat Raw Shrimp?
When buying the shrimp, you should always opt for a freshly caught wild shrimp. If the shrimp comes in packaging, it is, more often than not, processed.
If the shrimp is ready to eat or is pre-cooked, it is an absolute no-no for your cat. Packaged meat most likely contains impurities that will prove disagreeable to your kitty’s digestive system.
It will surely contain an increased amount of sodium that serves as a preservative. Such high levels of sodium are dangerous for your cat, to say the least.
Other than sodium, such packaged products also contain herbs, spices, and other seasonings that pose a toxic danger to your pet.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Shrimps?
When considering the question of whether can cats eat shrimp, or any other meat for that matter, it is important to tackle the question of whether that meat should be cooked or raw.
In the ASPCA list of toxic foods for cats, raw meat is listed. This goes for shrimp meat, too. Raw meat might be carrying salmonella, E. coli, and other diseases communicable from raw meat.
There are restrictions to your cat’s diet, and raw meat is one prominent line that should never be crossed, for the sake of your kitty’s health.
Other than this, raw shrimp often carries toxic chemicals like antibiotics, fungicides, and other risky chemicals because they are more often farm-raised.
According to Seafood Watch, even what is falsely advertised as wild-caught shrimp usually comes from man-made shrimp farms. So chances are, raw shrimp is really dangerous for cats.
The sure way to make sure that your cat can enjoy shrimp without consequences is to cook it plainly, with no seasonings, no oil, and certainly no chemicals.
“Can cats eat shrimp?” yes, they can. But NOT the whole shrimp. Shrimps consume all sorts of hazardous materials. And the shrimp you are serving your kitty may have consumed something potentially detrimental to your cat’s health.
To make sure that there is nothing in the form of unhealthy cargo going into your cat’s system, you should only feed your cat the meat of the shrimp.
You should remove the vein, head, and tail of the shrimp before thoroughly washing it. The most dangerous part of the shrimp to consume is the digestive tract, so that is what is most crucial to remove.
The easiest way to remove the digestive tract of the shrimp is to butterfly cut the shrimp. Or you can just rip it out completely.
Can kittens eat shrimp?
Depending on the size of your cat, you must choose how much shrimp to feed her in one sitting. It is often more sensible to just give her a small portion.
A large breed of domestic cat (around twelve to fifteen pounds) can safely ingest a single serving of a jumbo-sized shrimp.
Any smaller breeds should only have one regular-sized shrimp at a time.
How About Shrimp Chips?
No matter how much the advertisement says that shrimp chips are made from 100% real shrimp, it is not wholly shrimp. Its base is still loaded with fats, starch, and who knows what more.
As a general rule, stay away from anything processed, anything not directly from the wild. Unless the chips are prepared at home, you be sure it is filled with sodium, onions, and garlic, all of which will seriously put your cat’s health at risk.
If ever you make shrimp chips from scratch, and you want to treat your cat with it, just stay away from seasonings like salt, onions, and garlic. And do not treat your kitty with too much of it.
Cats also enjoy the crispy texture of shrimp shells. As long as prepared healthily, it is safe to feed these to cats.
The shells can either be cooked or raw. It could even be deep fried, to add more crisp for your kitty’s enjoyment.
Can Kittens Eat Shrimps?
It is good to expose your cat to many different foods at a young age. This is essential to build its eating preferences.
As long as the shrimp is prepared in such a way that it is healthy for cats, it should cause no harm.
There are times, though, when your pet is allergic to shrimp. If your kitty turns out to be allergic to shrimp, you should immediately call the vet.
Do not let the minor risk of allergy scare you from feeding shrimp to your cat though. Shrimp is nutritious and extremely tasty for cats. As long as you play things right, your cat need not miss out on chomping on something that will get her excited!