Fishy Facts: Can Cats Eat Shrimp Tails?

Cats are carnivores, and seafood forms part of their diet, but can cats eat shrimp tails? It’s easy to think that a shrimp’s body is healthy for cats, but the head, shell, and tails may not be. 

My cats always come closer when I’m preparing seafood. The fishy smell lures them in! Usually, I’d discard the shrimp parts I don’t eat without a thought, but recently a friend asked me if I feed the tails to my cats. This made me wonder if cats can eat shrimp tails. 

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IMPORTANT: At stuffaboutcats.com, we regularly consult with licensed veterinarians and other industry experts. However, the information found on stuffaboutcats.com should not be viewed as veterinary advice. We do our best to help you better understand your cats, but the information on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance.

I did some research and share what I now know about the safety of feeding shrimp tails to your cat in this article. 

Can Cats Eat Shrimp Tails?

Yes, cats can eat shrimp tails.

Not only is it a favorite for felines, but it’s also rich in protein and other minerals that can benefit them. 

Shrimp tails are crunchy, and you can serve them as a meal or snack. Feeding your cats shrimp in moderation is perfectly safe, and they’ll thank you for it!

Read more about Is Shrimp Good For Cats?

The Benefits Of Shrimp Tails For Cats

Shrimp tails are low in calories and contain some fats, minerals, proteins, and vitamins necessary for gut health. If you feed shrimp tails to your cat, they may get these benefits:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A gives cats a glowing coat and healthy skin. It also helps their nervous system function as it should and contributes to muscle growth. Vitamin A should be an essential part of your cats’ diet if you want them to stay in optimal health. 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can improve your cat’s digestive system. It’s also a crucial vitamin for their immune and nervous system. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C promotes healthy tissue growth, maintenance, and immune systems. 

Vitamin D

Cats aren’t good at producing vitamin D – even when they spend their days lazing in the sun! You should feed your cat foods packed with Vitamin D. It helps them grow stronger bones and maintain a healthy nervous system. 

Protein

There are five essential nutrients that cats should get through their diet, and protein is one of them. They require at least one protein-packed meal per day to fuel their bodies and support their nervous system. 

Low Calories

If your cat is overweight or obese, you can feed them shrimp tails without worrying that they’ll gain more weight. 

How To Prepare Shrimp Tails For Cats

Shrimp is deliciously crunchy seafood that you can serve raw or cooked to your cats. They love it!

Cats can hardly resist the fishy smell of raw fresh shrimp tails, and while it’s okay to feed it to them this way, you shouldn’t do it too often. Raw shrimp tails may contain some bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. 

To play it safe, I always cook the shrimp tails before giving my cats a bite. There’s no need to use any seasoning, and it’s better to avoid dipping sauces too. 

Before cooking shrimp tails, you should thoroughly clean them. 

 Is cooked shrimp OK for cats

Adverse Reactions From Shrimp Tails

Bacteria

Raw shrimp tails can contain Vibrio. This bacterium can cause many health issues in cats like gastritis and cholera. There are about 100 different strains of Vibrio and no cure for cats. If your cat catches it, it’ll experience diarrhea and vomiting. 

In the worst cases, cats who can’t fight against these two symptoms die.

Iodine Poisoning

Cats are sensitive to iodine, and shrimp has high enough levels of it to affect them.

If your cat consumes too much iodine, it can develop hyperthyroidism that can affect many of its organs, including the heart.

Mercury Poisoning

Mercury Poisoning is a real threat. If your cat eats too much shrimp tail with high levels of mercury, it could get mercury poisoning. 

Symptoms of this include anxiety, depression, and irritability. Mercury affects the nervous system, and there’s no cure. Your vet can help manage the symptoms, but healing will ultimately depend on your cat. 

Unknown Effects

If you’re feeding your cat shrimp, make sure it’s wild-caught and not farm-raised fish.

Many shrimp available for purchase has been raised in shrimp farms where they’re injected with antibiotics to help prevent the different diseases that can quickly spread among masses of shrimp.

There’s no clear data on how these antibiotics can affect felines, so it’s a risk to feed them any part of a farm-raised shrimp.

Can Cats Eat The Other Parts Of A Shrimp?

Shrimp is highly nutritious, and you can safely feed all of its parts to your cat, except for its digestive system.

Before cooking or boiling it for your cats, remove the digestive tract. Anything the shrimp has eaten before being caught will still be present in their digestive system, and you wouldn’t want your kitty eating something you don’t even know is there.

In Summary

Shrimp is a protein-rich fish that cats can enjoy, and even just its tail contains many healthy nutrients. 

I recommend buying wild-caught shrimp and cooking it plainly for your cat. Don’t add any salt, oil, or spices. Before cooking, you should also remember to thoroughly clean the shrimp or shrimp tails. A single serving should contain no more than two shrimp tails.

I hope this article gave you a clear enough answer and that you can confidently make a decision! If you have any more questions about feeding your cats shrimp, ask them in the comments for other community members and me to answer!

Read more about Is Fancy Feast Good For Cats With Kidney Disease??

Can cats eat shrimp shells?

It's only safe for cats to eat shrimp shells if no brine, salt, or seasoning is added. You can feed them raw or deep-fried shells.

What happens if cats eat shrimp?

If cats overeat shrimp, they may experience some gastrointestinal issues. You should feed it to them in moderation.

Is cooked shrimp okay for cats?

Yes. The best way to serve shrimp to your cat is cooked. This rids it of any harmful bacteria that it may have.

Can cats be allergic to shrimp?

Yes. Some cats might have an allergic reaction to the protein in shrimp.

Learn more about Fishy Facts For Felines: Can Cats Eat Scallops?