Cat’s love affair with fishes is undeniable. The felines absolutely love eating a variety of fishes. That is why most of the cat food is available in fish flavors like Salmon or Tuna. Now just like fish, shrimp is also exotic seafood and you would assume your cat would like to eat it as much as she loves to eat fish. In many areas of Europe and Asia, people also call it prawn. It is decapod crustaceans that live in salty seawater.
Shrimps have an elongated body, thin legs, and strong tails. Their body shape makes them excellent swimmers. Shrimp tails are very popular around the world as a snack. The commercial shrimp industry is worth over $50 bn worldwide. But cat owners are always worried about feeding their cat with a new food she hasn’t eaten before. A number of foods that are safe for consumption for humans are toxic to cats. Common food ingredients like onion, garlic, alcohol, chocolate and even excessive amounts of fish are toxic to cats.
That brings us to the question of whether cats can eat shrimp? Many pet owners feed their cats the food they eat and shrimp is a common food cooked regularly in our homes. If yes, then what is the right way to feed your cat shrimp. Another viable question since shrimp is cooked with a number of techniques. We’ll discuss that and more in this article.
Can cats eat shrimp?
Yes, cats can eat shrimp. It’s a flavorful, low-calorie snack that comes with an array of benefits. You can cook it in multiple ways including steaming, sauteing, baking, grilling and boiling. It has an exotic fragrance that cats get attracted to. They love the smooth and tender texture and flavor of shrimp.
In no way is shrimp toxic to cats. It is safe for consumption however you prepare it. It’s fishy flavor further entices your cat into eating it. As carnivorous animals, cats will love to have their addition in their daily diet. Shrimp is a good source of nutrients and antioxidants. It contains vital nutrients like Omega-3, Vitamin B12, selenium, protein, copper, chlorine, phosphorus, and iodine.
Apart from these vital nutrients, shrimps also contain high amounts of cholesterol and sodium. Neither of these is suitable for consumption in large quantities for cats. This is the reason why you can’t replace meat with shrimp in your cat’s daily diet. You can only treat her with shrimps once in a while in moderate amounts. Excessive consumption can lead to various health issues like bloating, obesity, heart diseases, blood clot in the artery, etc.
How should I serve shrimp to my cat?
Shrimps are very healthy for humans. But we don’t eat raw shrimps. Now the cat’s digestive system is very different for humans. While shrimps contain natural antioxidants and vitamins, they also contain nutrients that can be harmful to cats. Shrimps contain Vitamin B6, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin E. along with that, they also contain Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Fatty Acid, Chlorine, Protein, Iron and Omega-3.
But cats would enjoy crunchy shrimps more than raw ones. Perhaps raw shrimps are hard to digest. This is because shrimp farms use fungicides, antibiotics and other toxic chemicals that are destroyed when you cook them. But fried shrimps are full of harmful oils.
Many of us use cocktail sauces while cooking shrimps for dinner. Some people use these sauces as dips but they are harmful to cats. So the first thing is that you should only feed your cats with shrimps in small amounts because of their small size.
If you have a large-sized cat, she would digest a jumbo-sized shrimp weighing around 12-15 pounds. Now the size of the cat depends on her breed. Small and medium-sized cats weighing around 5-10 pounds can only digest small-sized shrimps. Now that maybe half-sized or a small regular sized shrimp.
You should remove the tails, head, and veins from the shrimp before cooking them. The next step is to thoroughly wash them. Washing the shrimps removes some of the harmful chemicals and pesticides remaining on the outside. It’s a good thing to avoid harmful pesticides. We just have to follow the simple technique of washing the product thoroughly. It’s always a better option to wash the meat thoroughly before cooking it. It helps remove blood and toxins that may be sticking to the outer layer.
Cooking the shrimp is essential because the raw digestive tract of the shrimp contains the potentially hazardous chemicals that it may have eaten before cooking. The best way to clean is to either rip it wholly or butterfly the shrimp.
When is shrimp safe for cats?
The safest way to feed your cat with shrimp is to cook it well. The cooked shrimp should be unseasoned. You should only feed her shrimp in a moderate amount that won’t harm her in any way. If you want to feed shrimps to her as a treat, half a shrimp is enough for a small-sized cat while a whole shrimp is good for large-sized ones.
The dangers of shrimps to cats
While shrimps are healthy for cats in some ways, you need to take some precautions while feeding her. Here are five considerations you need to take before feeding shrimps to your cat:
- Cooking shrimps in butter or and seasonings can cause gastrointestinal or pancreatitis upset in her body. Too much fat or oil is bad for your cat’s health and you should avoid her with such.
- Raw shrimp contains a lot of harmful bacteria that can infect your cats. This includes salmonella, listeria, and E.Coli which can cause severe infections.
- Eating large amounts of fishtails can cause constipation, gastrointestinal upset, and other such digestive tract diseases.
- Cats may choke after eating foreign bodies like tails or shells.
- A few cats can also be allergic to shrimps but that is in rare cases.
You should know that if your cat has eaten shrimps and she’s showing symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite, you should consult a vet immediately. The symptoms may exaggerate if you ignore them. It’s important to note that any type of food may cause gastrointestinal upset in your cat. If your neighbor’s cat hasn’t been troubled by it doesn’t mean your cat will digest it. It may cause illness in your cat.
Is shrimp bad for cats?
Carnivorous animals must have meat products in their daily diet. Since shrimps are a good source of protein, it is not bad for cats to have them. What hurts them is the high content of sodium and fat. You should avoid feeding your cat’s fried shrimps. Also, it’s not advisable to feed your cat shrimps regularly because of the dangerously high amount of sodium content.
Importantly you shouldn’t season them with salt and pepper which may harm your cat. Otherwise, shrimps are safe for cats. You should only feed them in moderate quantities once in a while and never replace them with their main source of protein. Fish based cat food is the best option for feeding your cat daily.
Can cats be allergic to shrimp?
Cats can be allergic to shrimp as is the case with other food products. Cats are most commonly allergic to chicken, beef, and dairy products. Key symptoms of shrimp allergy include skin infections and itching. To check for such allergies, you must feed shrimp in a small amount for the first time.
Feeding shrimps as part of a daily diet can spoil your cats. It can be a severe risk to their health. You should only treat your cat with tasty but harmful food when she does something good. This should be in your control and not when your cat insists or cries over it. Feeding one or two shrimps in a week is enough for your cat. Anything more than that can be harmful and hurt your cat. Never feed it generously.