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Can Cats Eat Shrimp Tails?

Can Cats Eat Shrimp Tails?

Cats are some of the biggest carnivores in our homes, through and through. Now, this might sound like an obvious fact, but it starts to sink in a little more once you consider our feline friends compared to many of the other animals that we have domesticated over the years.

Dogs, originally just carnivores, have adapted to a surprisingly omnivorous and varied diet since we brought them into our homes thousands of years ago.

Sheep and goats, originally just grazers of grasses, have since adapted to eating many different varieties of grain. 

Your common household tabby, meanwhile, has pretty much stuck to very similar diets that their ancestors would have enjoyed some 7 and a half thousand years ago.

Outside of the occasional strange craving for rubber bands or your old socks, not much has changed in the domestic cat’s diet.

That isn’t to say that cats are all fussy when it comes to eating meat, however. Far from it. If it was something that was once alive, cats seem to love eating pretty much any type of fish or meat under the sun. They’re very much like people, in that way.

However, as we start to see the connections in the foods that we eat, we also start to wonder if they are also supposed to avoid the same foods or parts of foods that we as people do.

A common food item that people often wonder about feeding their cats is shrimp and the many parts that make up them. Is it safe for your cat to eat them? What about the legs, or their head? What about their tails?

Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss in this article. We’re going to go over what items you should normally have in your cat’s diet, and whether or not this seafood delicacy is also on the table for your short-haired tabby, as well as a few things you should keep in mind if you are planning on feeding your cat shrimp tails.

A Domestic Cat’s Normal Diet

So, before we go any further, let’s take a closer look at a normal cat’s diet.

Cats, before being domesticated, were hunters that specialized in catching and eating prey that was high in protein and had a decent amount of fat, as well as a few carbs.

Being strict carnivores, cats, despite thousands of years of living alongside people and other animals, need the same nutrients.

As we mentioned in the introduction, cats still have the same diet that their wild ancestors would have eaten before domestication, meaning that most types of meat, with their high protein and fat content, are perfectly fine for cats to eat.

The same goes for many types of fish. After all, the image of a cat snacking on a slice or filet of fish is almost as well-known as a cat enjoying a delicious saucer of milk.

Of course, some things have to be kept in mind for a domestic cat. For one thing, because they are usually regularly fed, they do not always require the same high-calorie food as wild animals do, so try and feed your cats meat with slightly lower fat content.

They also need some minor supplements for other nutrients they need, such as vitamins and minerals.

Can Cats Eat Shrimp And Their Other Body Parts?

Can Cats Eat Shrimp Tails?

So, we now know that cats are certainly partial to a little seafood in their diet anyway. So how do they like something such as a prawn or shrimp tail?

Well, there are certainly several health benefits to eating shrimp for your feline companion.

Veterinarians seem to suggest that at least a little shrimp in your cat’s diet is perfectly healthy, and even good for them, thanks to their high omega-3 and fat content.

So, the main body of a shrimp is perfectly fine, but what about the tougher parts of a fish that most people would rather discard than eat, such as the legs, shell, or tail?

Well, they also seem to be back on the table too. Not just for cats, but even for people too.

The shell and tail of a shrimp, whilst being relatively tough when compared to a shrimp’s soft meat thanks to its chitin, is still thin enough that both you and your cat’s stomach acids can handle this tougher part of a shrimp with relative ease.

Feeding Shrimp And Shrimp Tails With Caution

However, just because it is fine for your cat to snack on the occasional shrimp and its tail, doesn’t mean that it should have a lot of it.

There are a few health concerns that you should consider before handing your kitten a fresh prawn.

For one thing, the very high-fat content of a shrimp means that, if you feed them too much of it, your cat is likely to start packing on the pounds, which can lead to lethargy and joint issues for them later on in life.

However, a fat cat and some weak ankles will be the least of your concerns if you feed your cat too many shrimps and their tails. Eating a large amount of shrimp can give your cat diarrhea.

And this isn’t even discussing the choking hazard that shrimp shells and tails can pose to your pets. The chitin shells are still thick and large enough to block the airways of your throat as a human.

The same is doubly true for cats, who not only have smaller airways that could be easier to block, but also do not chew their food like people do, meaning the tail and shell fragments will be swallowed larger, and pose more of a health risk.

Final Thoughts – How Often Can I Feed Shrimp Tails To My Cat?

So, with all that we have learned, that there are both health benefits and risks for your cat, how often should you feed your cat shrimp tails?

The answer is to give them as a small treat on occasion and preferably break them a little before feeding them. That way, your cat can enjoy their seafood without danger.