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Home > Cats > Can Cats Have Shrimp As A Treat? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Can Cats Have Shrimp As A Treat? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There are various shrimp-flavored cat foods out there, and cats notoriously love seafood. And if you’re thinking about feeding your cat some shrimp, the truth is that shrimp is a pretty healthy treat option, and it’s also common to find shrimp in many cat foods.

But just because they can eat some types of shrimp doesn’t mean they can eat every type of shrimp. If you’re thinking about feeding your cat shrimp, there are a few things you should know to keep your cat happy and safe.

With that in mind, we’ve highlighted everything you need to know about shrimp and your cat for you here.

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How to Feed Your Cat Shrimp

Just because you can feed your cat some shrimp doesn’t mean you can feed them any shrimp. For starters, you need to cook any shrimp before you feed it to your cat. Raw shrimp contains bacteria that can get your cat sick, and the only way to make it completely safe is to cook it.

When preparing shrimp, don’t add any extra seasonings or flavorings, while they might make the shrimp taste better, they’re not always safe for your cat. Finally, never feed your cat fried or breaded shrimp since these are unhealthy and full of fat.

Unfortunately, this means that many of the shrimp you might have left over from dinner or last night’s cookout aren’t safe for your cat since we usually put extra seasonings on them.

cooked shrimp
Image By: Gayvoronskaya_Yana, Shutterstock

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Health Benefits of Shrimp for Your Cats

If you’re thinking of feeding your cat a few shrimp as a snack, as well as the fact that most cats love the taste, there are a few health benefits that come with feeding it. We’ve highlighted three different health benefits here:

Low in Calories

Cats don’t need a ton of calories to sustain themselves, and if you’re feeding your cat some shrimp, you shouldn’t spoil their appetite, and you won’t cause them to put on a ton of weight. That’s a win-win, and it’s a reason that shrimp is a great occasional treat for your cat.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants in food support a healthy immune system, fight free radicals, and can help maintain your cat’s overall health. In particular, an antioxidant called astaxanthin is found in shrimp. In human studies astaxanthin has been shown to possess antioxidant activity about 100-500 times higher than other antioxidants such as beta carotenes.

Other Nutrients

Shrimp is a source of protein and other nutrients such as vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. While shrimp of course doesn’t contain every nutrient your cat needs, if you feed shrimp as part of a balanced diet, they can provide nutrient boosts that are great for your cat!

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Potential Disadvantages of Feeding Your Cats Shrimp

While there are some benefits of shrimp for your cat, it’s not something you should feed them a lot of. There are a few potential health problems that can come from feeding your cat too much shrimp.

Iodine Content

Iodine is essential in certain amounts in a cat’s diet as it is a major constituent of thyroid hormones. Fish and seafood such as shrimp contain quite a lot of iodine. Both excesses and deficiencies in iodine can lead to thyroid disease. However, unless you are feeding a lot of shrimp, or your cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, this isn’t usually something you need to worry about. As an occasional treat, a shrimp or two shouldn’t cause your cat any issues.

Mercury Content

Shrimp doesn’t contain as much mercury as some other types of seafood such as crabs, oysters, and some fish. So if you’re only feeding shrimp in moderation and you ensure it comes from a safe source, mercury poisoning shouldn’t be an issue for your pet.

Shrimps
Image Credit: Jumpstory

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know a little more about when you can and can’t feed your cat shrimp, it’s up to you if you want to feed any to your furry feline. It’s a great healthy treat, but they’re also one of the pricier options at the supermarket.

Still, if they’re in your budget or as an occasional treat, there’s nothing wrong with feeding your cat some shrimp from time to time!


Featured Image Credit: leonori, Shutterstock

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