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Health & Wellness

Can cats eat shrimp?

Yes, just as long as you serve shrimp correctly.

When I think about treats for cats, my mind doesn't go straight to shrimp — but who's to say that your cat wouldn't be into the idea? This bite is technically safe for cats to enjoy if you serve it right.

I spoke with Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo's on-staff veterinarian, to learn how shrimp can impact a cat's health and the best way for them to eat it.

Can cats eat raw shrimp and shrimp tails?

If you plan to share shrimp with your cat, make sure it's not raw. "Shrimp should be cooked thoroughly without additional fat (oils, butter) or seasonings," Dr. McCullough shares. 

It's important to remove the shell and tails and devein the shrimp before sharing it with your cat, too. "Shrimp shells and tails may be hard for cats to digest and should be removed," Dr. McCullough adds.

But, before you serve your cat cooked, unseasoned shrimp (with no tail or shell!), check with your veterinarian to make sure that's the right treat for your best friend.

"The quantity of shrimp offered should be determined by a veterinarian. Too many can unbalance their diet and lead to illness," Dr. McCullough says. 

RELATED: Can dogs eat shrimp?

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What are the health benefits of cooked shrimp for cats?

Although shrimp is low fat and high in fatty acids, it's unlikely to significantly impact a cat's health when served as a treat, Dr. McCullough says.

Are there any downsides to serving your cat cooked shrimp?

Depending on the medications your cat is on, shrimp may not be the right treat for them — which is another important reason why you should always ask your veterinarian before giving your pet new foods.

"Shrimp has high iodine content compared to other foods and may make it hard to get a cat with hyperthyroidism regulated on their medication," Dr. McCullough shares.

Are cats allergic to shrimp?

According to Dr. McCullough, the likelihood of a cat being allergic to shrimp is small, but your vet will be able to determine if shrimp is safe for your specific pet. 

If your cat has an adverse reaction to shrimp, Dr. McCullough says that it'll likely present as stomach problems, like diarrhea and vomiting — or they may experience itchy skin.

"If your cat is having a negative reaction after eating shrimp, you should contact their veterinarian as soon as possible," Dr. McCullough adds.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

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