Can Cats Eat Shrimp? The Exact Answer Is Here!

3/6/2023 - 2 Comments

Most cats meet their nutritional needs with a diet of meat-based food, like shrimp. However, some owners still wonder if shrimp is a good idea to include in their daily meals.

Shrimp is packed with many beneficial nutrients for your cat's health. So can cats eat shrimp? Is there anything to notice before feeding them to your buddy?

This article will help you answer all of those questions and give you extra tips for taking care of your cat. Let's dive in!

Can Cats Eat Shrimp?

Yes, because shrimp contains nutrients, antioxidants, and proteins that are good for cats. However, they still have some risks. As a result, you should only feed shrimp to your cats in moderation.


You want to give shrimp to your furry buddy for multiple reasons. First, let's see how many nutrients you can find in a three-ounce serving of shrimp:

  • Calories: 84
  • Protein: 20g
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.3mg
  • Iron: 0.5mg
  • Phosphorus: 201mg
  • Potassium: 220mg
  • Zinc: 1.39mg
  • Magnesium: 33.2mg
  • Sodium: 99.4mg

Low in calories

There are only 84 calories in a three-ounce serving of shrimp. Moreover, the meat doesn't have any processed carbohydrates.

Moreover, according to some studies, most of the calories ingested per serving come from protein and just a small amount from fat.

Your pet will also obtain numerous vitamins and minerals. Once consumed, they will strengthen the cat's immune system.

Low cholesterol

Excessive cholesterol consumption will lead to hyperlipidemia. This disease will raise the fat levels in your pet's blood.

The cholesterol content of shrimp is about 85% higher than that of other seafood. However, your cat needs cholesterol to produce vitamin D, bile acids, steroid hormones, and cell membranes.

So, the best solution is to feed shrimp to cats but in small amounts. Remember to check the cholesterol level of every food you intend to feed your pet.


Shrimp is a rich source of multiple antioxidants, such as selenium, astaxanthin, and vitamin E. When consumed properly, they will offer health benefits for cats.

More specifically, free radicals are harmful molecules found in cats. They will damage cells and potentially cause disease. Luckily, astaxanthin from shrimp can neutralize those radicals.

Furthermore, selenium will help protect cells against oxidative damage. Your cat's thyroid health and immune function will benefit as a result.


Shrimp is an excellent source of high-quality protein. It means you can take advantage of its essential amino acids to promote your cat's health.

Moreover, protein helps build and maintain strong muscles. In other words, feeding shrimp to cats will boost their muscle development and overall physical condition.

Protein is also vital for cats to maintain their healthy body weight. For example, it makes cats feel fuller for longer, lessening their desire to eat.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in shrimp. When eaten, they can assist healthy skin and fur. Your pet's cognitive function will also improve.

Moreover, fatty acids in shrimp will support cardiovascular health in three ways:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing blood clots
  • Lowering inflammation

Shrimp offers many nutrients for cats


While shrimp comes with numerous vitamins and nutrients, they pose risks to your pet's health.

Iodine poisoning

Shrimp contains a lot of iodine. Although it isn't high enough to harm people, cats will experience it differently because these animals are sensitive.

Shrimp is not suitable for cats with hyperadrenal cortex, whose diets must be low in iodine. Meanwhile, iodine ingestion beyond the prescribed amount can harm your healthy pet.


Cats are carnivores. Hence, they will be crazy about fresh meat. Unfortunately, raw shrimp may have Vibrio, a bacterium that may cause various health complications, such as gastritis or cholera.

There are more than 100 Vibrio strains. Moreover, most of them have evolved into some kind of antibiotic resistance throughout time.

So can cats eat raw shrimp? No. The Vibrio strains may be present in them and cause unpredictable consequences.

Mercury content

Shrimp and other animals may contain mercury in their tissues. It may then cause neurological problems and other health issues.

However, the mercury level in shrimp is quite low. So there is no need to worry about it when feeding cats in moderation.

Antibiotic use

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria may become more common as a result of overusing antibiotics in shrimp farming. Human and animal health suffer if they eat infected shrimp.

What's worse, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are difficult to treat. They will also cause severe infections and complications.


Histamine is a natural compound in many foods, and shrimp is no exception. Histamine levels in shrimp will rise if certain bacteria start to break the protein histidine.

Sadly, histamine levels are terrible for cats. More specifically, food with histamine may cause an allergic reaction in cats.

Be careful with the potential risks

Do Cats Like Shrimp?

Maybe yes. Cats have different preferences for food. However, most of these animals love shrimp because they are obligate carnivores. Your pet may fall in love with this food for the following reasons:


Cats are into food with a strong flavor and aroma since their noses are sensitive. Meanwhile, shrimp has a savory taste, attracting cats when still hot.


The chewy texture of shrimp makes it satisfying to eat, even for humans. Your lovely pet may have the same hobby of biting into the shrimp as a result.

See more cat pictures at: Cat Images

How Much Shrimp Is Safe for Your Cat?

Cats need complete commercial cat foods to achieve a balanced diet. These products have essential nutrients for their development.

However, you can consider adding fresh seafood to their daily meals. This way, cats can get more nutritious foods and strengthen their senses.

Shrimp is a good idea to try. It comes with many nutrients, such as Omega-2 fatty acids and protein. However, cats should only eat them in moderation due to the potential risks.

It would be best to use shrimp as a treat along with a cat's daily food. If your pet is small, half a shrimp will be enough. And if you have a bigger cat, feed him a whole shrimp. The rule here is that treats shouldn't make up more than 10% of your pet's daily food consumption.

Do not give your pet too much shrimp

How To Give Shrimp To Cats Safely?

Uncooked, raw shrimp may contain bacteria that make your cat sick. Hence, boiling or steaming shrimp is the safest method to prepare them.

Also, do not add any seasonings, especially salt, to the shrimp. Seafood is naturally sweet, and cats love that.

Frying is not a good idea because it makes the meat oily. Fried shrimp will increase the risk of weight gain and cause digestive issues for cats.

You must peel the shrimp too. Then, shrimp shells won't become a possible choking hazard.

Cats may love shrimp tails, legs, and heads, too. So if you have some leftovers, give them to your pet.

However, remember to cut those parts into smaller servings. Please also note that these choking hazards are not suitable for kittens.

Feeding is an important part of raising cats. Please check this video to discover more tips for this task:

Prepare the shrimp carefully


Can cats have shrimp? Yes, because shrimp has many beneficial nutrients to support your pet's development.

However, some substances, such as mercury and iodine, will harm them. As a result, you should only feed shrimp to cats in moderation.

Preparing the shrimp properly before feeding is also necessary. Follow the tips we have shared, and you are ready to go.  Thank you for reading!

See more:

Can Cats Eat Pork? Pro Tips For Feeding Your Cat

Can Cats Eat Beef Jerky? The Ultimate Guides For Pet Owners

Can Cats Eat Steak? What Cat Lovers Need to Know

Can Cats Eat Beans? Click For The Correct Answer!

Can Cats Eat Pork? Pro Tips For Feeding Your Cat

About Billy Nguyen
I'm Billy Nguyen, currently CEO/Founder Cat Images, with over 3 years of experience in cat care and training. I hope the knowledge I share brings useful value to promote your pet care effectively.

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