Can Cats Eat Shrimp?

can cats eat shrimp?

Cats are well known among pet owners as being fickle, finicky creatures. They may act cold and aloof toward you at one moment, and then the next they might cry for attention because you walked away from them. Some cats will beg for treats while other cats might shun any and all treats that you offer them.

When it comes to wanting to give your cat some treats, there are plenty of options that you can choose from. Some people might be more inclined to give their cats treats that are bought from the store while other people may want to give their carnivorous little pets a piece of meat. 

Unfortunately, most animals have a different digestive system than people do. What this means is that there are many things that people can eat but other animals cannot.

Nobody wants to offer their pet what seems to be a treat only to realize a few hours later that the food you offered your pet was toxic. Because of this, you will want to do some research into whether or not your cat can eat the treats that you are planning on giving it.

Can You Give Shrimp to Your Cat as a Treat?

One common treat that people can appreciate giving their cats is seafood. Cats are known for enjoying tuna, shrimp, and other seafood-flavored foods and treats, but can they have the original thing? If you are wondering if cats can eat shrimp, there are a few things you will want to consider.

What Kind of Shrimp is Edible for Cats?

You will want to consider the question of can cats eat shrimp tails or if you will have to take the tails off before you feed your cat a treat. You will also need to find the answer to can cats eat raw shrimp, or if their carnivorous gut flora is able to safely eat raw seafood without fear of having a bad reaction. 

Before you get started in figuring out what your cat can eat, you should consider the question of the safest version of shrimp for cats as well: can cats eat cooked shrimp?

In this article, you will learn what your cat can eat and whether or not it can indulge in this seafood safely. Even if you don’t feel comfortable feeding shrimp to your cat, you can rest assured knowing that if it accidentally eats some of your food that just happened to have shrimp in it, you won’t have to worry as you will have all the answers you need.

Is it Safe for Cats?

In short, shrimp isn’t just safe for cats but it is actually quite healthy for them. You should always try to start out by feeding cooked shrimp as this will be the easiest way to introduce it to your cat with a minimal risk of something bad happening. If you are particularly concerned, you should also try to remove the tail of the shrimp before feeding it to your cat; for younger cats, cats who have trouble swallowing, and cats who are encountering a bad stroke of luck, shrimp tails have the potential to pose a choking hazard.

Shrimp is actually a perfect snack for most cats as it offers quite a few benefits. It has a texture, flavor, and smell that will be enticing to the cat. It also has protein, phosphorus, selenium, choline, copper, iodine, and vitamin B12, all of which are important to a cat’s digestive system and overall health. If you are looking for a quick and easy snack for your feline friend, a piece of cooked shrimp will do your cat well.

Feeding Your Cat Cooked Shrimp

cooked shrimp for cats
Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

If you want to feed your cat some cooked shrimp, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

For one, cats who are not used to eating shrimp may experience some gastrointestinal distress. Because of this, you will only want to start giving a little bit of shrimp at a time. 

Additionally, cats cannot handle the same amount of seasoning that most people put on their food. If you are cooking shrimp to feed to a cat, the shrimp should be cooked without any seasonings and without butter.

Too much fat, oil, and salt from the seasonings can easily lead to pancreatitis, which is a dangerous condition that nobody wants their cats to suffer through. 

Also,  just as with people, there is the potential for your cat to have an allergy to shrimp. Always feed your cat a tiny piece of shrimp before feeding more to it, especially for the first time, to make sure that there aren’t any adverse reactions.

Feeding Your Cat Raw Shrimp

Photo by Christine Ellsay on Unsplash

While your cat may enjoy the taste and flavor of raw shrimp, it is not recommended that you feed raw shrimp to your cat. Just as with people, there is the chance for your cat to become infected from bacteria that could be living on the shrimp. Feeding your cat raw shrimp can lead to E. coli infections, salmonella, and listeria

If you want your cat to get as much raw fish as possible, consider only cooking the shrimp enough for you to be certain that the bacteria has been killed off. As a whole, raw shrimp is not inherently dangerous to the cat but it is important to be aware of the risk.

Feeding Your Cat Shrimp Tails

Photo by eggbank on Unsplash

Deciding whether or not to include the shrimp tails on the piece of shrimp when you feed it to the cat is a tough decision. 

For one, you may want your cat to experience as authentic of a food as possible and removing the shrimp tail would impair this. However, most people don’t eat shrimp tails and your cat unfortunately does not have the knowledge to remove a shrimp’s tail on its own. For the sake of your cat’s health, it would probably be best if you removed the shrimp’s tail for it.

While your cat can certainly consume a shrimp’s tail, it shouldn’t. There is a risk of choking or esophageal foreign bodies whenever your cat eats a shrimp’s tail and nobody wants to risk their cat’s health like that. Plus, there is no guarantee that your cat will be able to properly chew and swallow the tail, leading to a higher risk of things going wrong. 

Even if your cat is lucky and is able to safely eat the tails, ingesting large amounts of shrimp tail can lead to an upset stomach or constipation in cats, both of which can pose risks if severe enough.

More often than not, it will not be worth the risk to give your cat shrimp tails. When cooking shrimp for your cat to eat, you need to remember to remove the tail yourself and to cook with next to no butter and seasonings. 

Aside from that, your cat can safely eat pieces of cooked shrimp and may even come to recognize the smell whenever you start bringing shrimp home.

How to Feed a Shrimp to a Cat

Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash

Once you are ready to give your cat the shrimp, you will want to start out by feeding a tiny piece to make sure that there are no adverse reactions and that your cat is eager to eat the shrimp. Try not to offer the shrimp while it is still hot from the pan as cats have sensitive mouths. 

Most smaller cats should be fed about half a shrimp as a treat (they should only be fed as treats because there is nothing crucial in shrimp for cats), and about one whole shrimp for large cats.


In conclusion, is it safe for your cat to consume shrimp? In most cases, yes! And your feline friend will love you for it. But there are exceptions, such as being cautious about raw shrimp and making sure to remove the tail to avoid a choking hazard.

Here is a quick rundown of what we’ve learned about cats eating shrimp:

  • Cooked shrimp? Yes! 
  • Raw Shrimp? Probably not.
  • Shrimp Tails? Best to avoid so your cat won’t choke.
  • Avoid seasoning!
  • Shrimp is full of essential nutrients for your cat.
  • Cats think shrimp is yummy!

Editorial Team

When we aren't scooping up droppings to ensure a luxurious litter box experience for our fur babies, we are writing all sorts of stuff about cats for your enjoyment and knowledge.

Recent Content