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Can Cats Have Shrimp as a Treat? (Facts, & FAQ)

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

Shrimp is one of the ocean’s many delicacies that intrigue us. You can cook them in a variety of ways, and they don’t carry many calories. As pet owners, sometimes we like to share with our fur babies.

But is it safe? Can cats eat shrimp?

It seems that cats often like the smell of fish and other seafood. They like the flavor as well. If you want to let your cat eat a bite of shrimp, it should be fresh shrimp that you cook with no seasonings or oil.

Cats can eat shrimp whether it’s raw or cooked, and they probably prefer it raw, but the risks might not be worth it. There’s a safe way to offer your cat shrimp while minimizing any potential health hazards. Keep reading to find out more about the best ways to let your cat eat shrimp.

Can Cat Eat Shrimp

What to Do if Your Cat Ate Shrimp?

Shrimp may have trace amounts of fungicides, antibiotics, and other toxins and preservatives that get killed when cooked.

Shrimp is nutritious and can be a healthy addition. That doesn’t mean that you should feed your cat shrimp every day. Honestly, they don’t contain any nutrition that’s essential to your cat’s health. They are still a good protein to add, and some cat foods have shrimp as a primary ingredient.

The most crucial factor is that the owner is aware of hazards such as GI upset or an allergic reaction.

Here are the factors to consider if you want to incorporate shrimp into your cat’s diet:

No Add-ins:

Never add anything to the shrimp that you prepare for your feline companion. Gastrointestinal distress or pancreatitis can occur when cats are not acquainted with eating shrimp. That is especially true if you’re using butter and different seasonings on top. An overload of oils, salt, and fat can wreak havoc on your kitty’s tummy and digestion.

Choking Hazards:

While cats can eat the shells and probably would enjoy gnawing on them for the crispy crunchy texture, they can easily get lodged in their esophagus and cause them to choke. They can also present as an internal blockage once they start the digestion process. Eating too many can also cause constipation.


Eating raw shrimp is safe for cats, but you never know what type of bacteria the shrimp is carrying. Think Salmonella, E.Coli, and other bacteria that can not only affect your cat, but you as well.

Your cat may also react to shrimp and be intolerant. Contact your vet as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms after your cat eats shrimp:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Hard time swallowing
  • Itching
  • Skin rashes

Tips to Keep in Mind When You Give Your Cat Shrimp

Keep these pointers in mind when you decide to share a piece of shrimp with your cat:

Everything in Moderation:

Shrimp is for sure a yummy snack for your furry friend, but they don’t need more than half a piece to satisfy their craving and get a few benefits. If you give them the shrimp too often, they might start begging for people’s food and become picky eaters.

Plain Shrimp:

Remember the rule about no spices, and try to grill, steam, or boil the shrimp beforehand to eliminate the possibility of harmful toxins.

Remove Everything:

Do yourself a favor and devein (remove the digestive tract) the shrimp while also discarding the tail, head, and shell. Then you don’t have to worry about your cat choking or making a mess.

How to Safely Prepare Shrimp

Can cats eat cooked shrimp? The answer is a resounding yes! And we’ll tell you exactly what to do to prepare them.

Begin by procuring frozen or fresh shrimp. There’s a difference between fresh and frozen shrimp. The fresh shrimp displayed on the counter is likely the same bag of frozen shrimp that you find in the frozen food section in the frozen seafood section of the grocery store.

The key difference is that the shrimp on display have thawed before being put out to get sold. As a result, you can’t determine how long they got thawed, so it is best to get the frozen shrimp and thaw them at home when you’re ready to prepare them.

Thaw your shrimp thoroughly. Remove your shrimps from the bag and place them inside of a bowl under running cold water. In just a few minutes, your shrimp will be ready to cook.

Another option that you can choose is to simply allow them to sit in a bowl of cold water until they fully defrost. This takes a bit longer and would be the time if you’re making a shrimp recipe for yourself that you would dry them with paper towels before continuing.

Do you remove the heads, tails, and shells of the shrimp? Typically a cat has no difficulty whatsoever eating and digesting these parts of the shrimp. Many cats enjoy the crunchiness of the tail and some owners will save the tails for their feline companion to eat later.

With that said, eating the shrimp shell increases the risk of your cat having some digestive discomfort.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to the most commonly asked questions related to the topic, can cats eat shrimp:

When Can Cats Eat Shrimp Shells?

In some instances, it’s just fine to allow your cat to eat shrimp shells. Particularly if no brine, salt, or other seasonings have been used during its preparation. If this is all true then you can give your cat cooked or raw shrimp shells with no problem at all.

Can Cats Eat Raw Shrimp?

Cats can indeed eat raw shrimp. However, it isn’t recommended because there could be trace amounts of fungicides, antibiotics, or toxic chemicals that cooking the shrimp helps to eliminate.

Can I Give My Cat Seasoned Shrimp?

Fresh raw shrimp is the best and safest way to go when feeding them to your cat. You can use raw shrimp as a treat that you give them occasionally or you can put them in raw recipes.

Just thoroughly clean the shrimp, remove its digestive tract, and don’t season the shrimp at all.

Why Do Cats Love Shrimp?

Cats enjoy the flavor, the firm texture, and the aroma of the shrimp and love to eat them as a snack. Moreover, shrimp is a good source of vitamin B12, protein, copper, iodine, choline, selenium, and phosphorus.

Can I Give My Cat Shrimp That’s Been Sitting For a Few Days?

After buying a batch of shrimp, it’s imperative to eat them within 2 to 3 days of purchasing them. You only want to get your cat meat that is fresh, because the meat that has sat for a few days has a higher risk of having increased bacteria and in turn, passing food-borne sickness to you and your cat.

The smell is going to be a great indicator when it comes to identifying fresh shrimp. Shrimp that has black or green discoloration may occur with less fresh shrimp.

More Cat Food Questions:

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About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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