Can Cats Eat Shrimp Or Are They Bad For Them?

As carnivores kitties, regardless of their breed or age, must have meat in their everyday diets. Whether it’s chicken, beef, duck or something else, meat is their primary source of vital nutrition.

Numerous cat food manufacturers opt for replacing the main meat ingredient with fish like mackerel, salmon and tuna or simply adding fish meat to the recipe as an additional flavor and nutrient boost. So does this mean cats can eat seafood like shrimp too?

Yes, shrimp are safe for cats to eat.

What’s more, they are highly nutritious, not to mention tasty. But of course, there are some rules you need to follow if you want to feed shrimp to your kitty. And there are some parts of the shrimp, which aren’t safe for cats to eat.

How to feed your cat shrimp?

Here are the basics on what to do and what not to do if you want to introduce shrimp to your pet’s diet.

Can cats eat frozen shrimp and pre-packaged cooked shrimp

Processed, ready-to-eat, pre-packaged shrimp is an absolute no-no for cats. These foods are extremely high in sodium, which serves as a preservative. Such high levels of sodium are unhealthy for your kitty, to say the least.

On top of that, these types of shrimp often include some kind of seasoning. Many spices and herbs can pose a toxic danger to your beloved furball.

On the other hand, frozen shrimp is a safer option. As long as no salty brine or heavy frying batters have been added to the frozen goods, you can treat your pet to frozen shrimp safely.

Can cats eat raw shrimp?

Most veterinarians don’t recommend feeding raw shrimp to cats because of the possibility the shrimp is contaminated with bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

These cases are rare, however, and most cat owners who feed their cats raw shrimp will never have an issue. Shrimp can even be used in raw recipes or just as an occasional treat.

Just don’t add any seasoning to it and make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the shrimp and removed the digestive tract. Similarly to human beings, cats cannot eat the shrimp’s digestive tract.

Can cats eat home-cooked shrimp?

To be honest, home-cooked shrimp is the safest option for your kitty. By cooking fresh shrimp at home you’re in full control of the seasoning and the processing.

Should you decide to cook shrimp for your kitty, stay away from salt, black pepper, and other spices. Also, don’t use too much butter or frying oils and always give the shrimp a thorough cleaning  before cooking them.

Can cats eat shrimp heads, tails, legs?

Many people see shrimp tails, heads and legs as unsightly or even disgustingly off-putting. If these parts of the shrimp don’t increase your appetite, give them to your feline friend. Cats will enjoy shrimp legs, shrimp tails or shrimp heads as much as the meat from the shrimp’s torso.

You can feed your kitty with these parts of the shrimp in their raw or cooked form. Both options will be tasty and both options will smell appealing to a cat.

Make sure to follow the rules I mentioned above. Keep away from the seasonings and make sure the shrimp is clean before your furball starts munching on it.

Can cats eat shrimp chips?

Even though shrimp chips taste light and the seafood meat suggests it’s healthier than potato or corn chips, that’s still junk food. Its base is packed with starch and fat.

Unless you prepare it at home from scratch, it’s also high in sodium and toxic toppings like onion, garlic, etc..

If you make shrimp chips at home, you can treat your cat with it. Just keep the harmful seasonings away, and don’t treat your kitty too often with it.

Can cats eat shrimp shells?

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!

Introducing different textures and flavors to your cat from an early age is essential for developing its eating preferences. And shrimp have a plethora of flavors and textures. As long as the shrimp hasn’t been heavily processed and preserved with salt, you can give it raw or cooked to a kitten.

If for some reason (remains of the digestive tract for example) your cat is vomiting or experiencing indigestion after eating shrimp, call your vet. Although it’s rare, it’s still possible for your pet to be allergic to shrimp.

This possibility, however, shouldn’t scare you away from the idea of feeding your fluffy friend with seafood. Just introduce slowly and watch for allergic reaction indicators, such as hives, itching, or gastrointestinal upset.

Shrimp is a nutritious, tasty and healthy treat that will make most cats out there ecstatic. Don’t deprive your feline furball of its chance to munch on something this good.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

1 thought on “Can Cats Eat Shrimp Or Are They Bad For Them?”

  1. Thanks. My rescue cat has developed a shrimp fetish. I buy bags of frozen cooked shrimp to put in stir-fry dishes and I gave him a thawed one before I added it to my stir fry and he ate it like it was the last meal on earth. Now whenever I open the freezer, he expects me to thaw one out for him. Which, of course, I do because he rules the house as expected.

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