Shrimp is considered a delicious meal. Most meat-eaters love them sauteed, in cocktails, in pasta, and so on. But, some people are allergic to crustaceans. And you might be wondering if it is safe for a cat to eat shrimp.
Yes, cats can eat shrimp without expecting any allergic reaction. Domesticated cats will feel attracted to the smell of uncooked shrimp. And there’s no harm in feeding shrimp, but allergic reactions can appear after prolonged exposure to shrimp.
Here in this article, we will get into more details about cats and shrimps. We will also see the nutritional values of different versions of shrimp. You will learn the instructions on how to include this food into your cat’s diet. Also, before concluding, we will answer some frequently asked questions cat owners may have.
The Nutritional Values Shrimp Can Add To Your Cat’s Diet
As you know, cats are carnivores, and their diets must include protein as the primary nutrient. Shrimps are high in protein. 100g of shrimp can offer from 12g to 24g of protein.
Shrimp contains high amounts of vitamin B12, a vitamin that researchers argue helps with cats’ immune and digestive systems. Your cat is not capable of storing this vitamin, and it will need a daily intake.
Now we will see the nutritional values per 100g of shrimp in the following options:
Nutritional Values In Imitation Shrimp
Imitation shrimp are often made out of plant-based products. This version of shrimp is the one with the lowest amount of protein. Your cat will get 12g of protein out of it.
Sodium and carbohydrate levels are high in this product, so you should be careful. Cats struggle to digest carbs. And when it comes to sodium, excessive amounts of it can compromise your cat’s health.
Can cats eat imitation shrimp? Yes, but make sure you use this as an occasional treat.
Nutritional Values In Raw Shrimp
Raw shrimp comes packed with 20g of protein and no carbs at all. But, on the downside, it doesn’t provide many vitamins. Raw shrimp has calcium, iron, and magnesium. These minerals are vital for muscles and bones.
Can cats eat raw shrimp? Yes, cats can eat raw shrimp. In fact, your cat will love it this way because of the smell of it.
Nutritional Values For Shrimp Cooked In Moist Methods
This high-protein option can be boiled, steamed, or simmered. Your cat will find 23g of protein, along with low carbs. This cooking method also adds vitamin B-6 and magnesium.
But, cooked shrimp has roughly 120 calories. We consider this to be a high-calorie food. Please feed in moderation.
Can cats eat shrimp cooked in moist methods? Yes, just make sure you don’t add salt or any other spices to it.
Nutritional Values In Canned Shrimp
Canned shrimp offers 0g of carbs and 20g of protein. It can provide high iron and vitamin B-12 levels. But, it doesn’t come packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals.
This type of shrimp is high in sodium. You must be careful when you feed it to your cat. Frequent spikes in sodium levels can negatively affect your cat’s health.
Can cats eat canned shrimp? Yes, they can eat canned shrimp. Make sure you serve them out of the can.
Nutritional Values In Restaurant-Cooked Shrimp
Shrimp’s nutritional value will vary depending on the restaurant and cooking style. Be mindful that most shrimp recipes require high amounts of fat. This fat gets transferred to the dish and often exceeds the amount of protein.
Additionally, restaurants will add a series of spices to make food tasty. These spices will probably hurt your cat. For example, a common way of cooking shrimp includes adding garlic. Garlic can be very tasteful and will improve the smell and flavor of shrimp. But this ingredient is toxic to cats.
Can cats eat restaurant-cooked shrimp? It depends. If the restaurant cooked it with few spices, you’re good to go. But, be aware that you might be ignoring some of the ingredients added to the recipe.
How To Safely Include Shrimp To Your Cat’s Diet
You can consider some essential aspects if you want to include something new to your cat’s diet. You will find many options of cat food that offer seafood flavors.
But, it doesn’t mean you can add homemade seafood to your cat’s diet and expect no changes. If you feel like your cat gets crazy about this food, here’s a guide on what steps are a must before feeding shrimp to your cat.
General Handling For All Types Of Shrimp
- Make sure the product is not frozen when you serve it. Cats don’t like frozen food. Your pet most likely leaves it sitting until it reaches room temperature.
- Remove the shell and the vein before serving.
- Use lukewarm water to clean up the shrimp.
- Keep the empty packages out of the reach of your cat.
- If your cat doesn’t eat the whole serving, do not save the leftovers. Shrimp starts decomposing very quickly. And seafood poisoning is widespread.
- Now you know some of the essential aspects, let’s get into specifics:
- Serve a small portion.
- Observe your cat’s interest.
- If your cat doesn’t like it, remove it before bacteria starts to develop.
- Choose frozen shrimp over fresh shrimp. If you are unsure about how long it’s been since the shrimp has been captured. It is safer to go with frozen shrimp.
Cooked In Moist Method Shrimp
- Make sure you don’t add any spices before cooking. These will increase the number of calories in the shrimp. Also, some of them are toxic to cats and can lead to an unwanted visit to the vet. Make sure you don’t include the following:
- Please wait until it cools off before serving.
Important: cooking the shrimp helps to reduce the number of chemicals that are added to shrimp farms.
- Open the can and remove the shrimp from the liquid it comes in. This water is usually high in sodium. Please do not feed it to your cat.
- Rinse the shrimp in lukewarm water to lower the sodium levels.
- Pour the shrimp into your cat’s eating bowl. Never serve directly from the tin can because it could cause injury to your cat.
Can Shrimp Kill Cats?
If you follow all the instructions we have mentioned, shrimp shouldn’t kill your cat. But there are some risks associated with food. For instance, experts claim most food allergies in cats come from meat-based products. Shrimp is not an exception.
Nowadays, more shrimp is produced in farm facilities than wild-caught. Lots of chemicals are added to the shrimp so it can make it to the store shelves. The death rate in shrimp is very high, and farmers usually add pesticides to make sure their shrimp production survives. These pesticides could be a harm to your cat’s health, leading to gastrointestinal distress. Some symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and eventually death if a vet doesn’t take care of them.
Your cat’s calorie intake is another vital thing to consider. Shrimp will add many calories to your cat’s diet, which can lead to obesity. Obesity is related to many health complications. Joint problems, muscle loss, kidney failure are some of them. It would be best if you used shrimp as a treat.
How Can I Tell My Cat Is Allergic To Shrimp?
Observation is critical to determine a food allergy in cats. Your furry friend won’t be able to talk to you and tell you what’s wrong but some visible cues can tell you something is not ok with your cat’s health. Your cat can experience itching and skin irritation. Vomiting can also happen.
If you see these symptoms, try to remember what was the last thing your cat ate. In case you don’t know, ask your household members. And take your cat to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Can Cats Eat Frozen Shrimp?
Yes, they can, and this should be your preferred option. If you want your cat to enjoy this meal, you have to follow the handling instructions for frozen shrimp.
Do Cats Love Frozen Shrimp?
Cats are not attracted to frozen food. Cats don’t like food at temperatures below 105 F. If you want to feed shrimp to your cat, make sure you serve it at room temperature. High temperatures create the illusion of prey recently caught.
Now we have learned about shrimp and the nutritional values it can add to your cat’s diet. We can conclude it is safe for your cat to eat shrimp, and you shouldn’t get any side effects as long as you feed it correctly.
There are many options of shrimp that you can choose from out there. If you feel like cleaning raw shrimp is too much work. You can choose canned or imitation shrimp.
Just be careful when going for cooked shrimp, as they react to it, especially when it comes to seasonings. There are some ingredients such as garlic and onions that could compromise your cat’s health.
We hope this information is valuable enough to many cat owners out there who are looking for answers to this common question.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.