Can Cats Eat Crab Meat? (Hint: Yes, But in Moderation)

In general, some seafood is healthy and gives crucial nutrients to the cats. Being the attentive cat owner, you may want to know if the cats can eat crab meat or not.

Cats can eat crab meat. You can include it in their diet as an occasional snack or treat. It is stiff, very flavorful, and gives abundant energy. It is a protein-rich food with several crucial amino acids. If the cats have eaten excess amounts of crab meat, then they might face some health problems. Crabmeat is not harmful to your cat only if you feed it in moderation.

Can Cats Eat Crab Meat? (Hint: Yes, But in Moderation)

Just because cats might not get crab meat in the wild does not imply it is not safe for them. Before making any more assumptions, let’s get into the in-depth details about the cats and crab meat!

The facts – Can Cats Eat Crab Meat? 

Yes. You can feed crab meat to your cats as a treat. It is safe and healthy. Crab is rich in vitamin B12, zinc, niacin, folate, selenium, and iron. It is better to keep crab meat as an occasional snack. Keep in mind that the treats and snacks should not be more than 10% of the cat’s food requirement.

Crabmeat has high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are healthy for cats. Even though cooked crab is a delightful treat to the cats, they should never eat raw crab. Some cats would enjoy eating crab meat, and others do not like the taste of crab.

Crabmeat does not have all the nutrition needed for cats to live and grow healthy. Because of this, you can not replace the cat’s regular diet with crabmeat. Instead, mix the crab meat in other cat foods. This method makes it possible for cats to enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal.

Crab are decapod crustaceans and belong to the infraorder Brachyura group. Due to the low levels of mercury in crab meat, it is one of the best choices to feed your cat. Here is a list of other seafood that has fewer amounts of mercury:   

  • Tilapia
  • Shrimp
  • Pollock
  • Flounders
  • Clams
  • Cod
  • Scallops

Though cats can not come across crab meat in the wild, they will enjoy eating it. Many cats love the crunchiness and flavorful taste of these crabs.

Raw Vs. Cooked Crab Meat 

Feeding cooked crab to the cats once in a while is a better idea. Make sure not to include crab meat in their daily diet. While cooking the crab, it is best not to add other herbs, spices, seasonings, and flavors.

You should never cook crab meat with onion, garlic, and other harmful foods. It is better not to cook crab meat in butter or other vegetable oils because they are not healthy for cats. Plain cooked or boiled crab meat is best for cats.

Avoid giving raw crab meat to the cats because it might be contaminated with bacteria or parasites. If you feed degraded raw crab meat to the cat, it might cause food poisoning. Sometimes crabs are infected with heavy metals. Eating them raw leads to heavy metal build-up in the cat’s body and can cause metal poisoning.

You should not give the crab meat still inside the shells to the cat. Make sure to remove all those shells before feeding them to your cats. The sharp shells might harm the digestive tract of your cat. In the worst cases, it can cause blockage. If you see that your cat has eaten the crab shells, consult the veterinarian.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Eating Crab Meat? 

Crabmeat is rich in proteins and contains several crucial amino acids. It also has fats and enough amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

Crabmeat has some essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, and more. But, it contains high levels of sodium. There are plenty of vitamins (A, B6, B12, C), niacin, thiamine, folate, and riboflavin.

All of these nutrients are necessary for cats, and also other animals. Here is the nutritional value list of crab meat:

  • Calories – 97
  • Protein – 19 g
  • Sodium – 1,072 mg
  • Cholesterol – 53 mg
  • Potassium – 262 mg
  • Total Fat – 1.5 g
  • Saturated fat – 0.1 g
  • Polyunsaturated fat – 0.5 g
  • Monounsaturated fat – 0.2 g
  • Vitamin B6 – 10% of RDI
  • Vitamin C – 12% of RDI
  • Calcium – 5% of RDI
  • Cobalamin – 191% of RDI
  • Iron – 4% of RDI
  • Magnesium – 15% of RDI

Advantages Of Eating Crab Meat 

Crabmeat has protein-rich content, and proteins are crucial for cats to grow. It also has several vitamins, minerals, and Omega 3 fatty acids, making it a healthier choice for cats. The vitamin D in crab meat has the function of a steroid hormone. It helps to protect the cat’s heart from cardiovascular diseases and also cleans the bloodstream.

Another advantage of eating crab meat is the brain development in cats. This food also helps in standing against depression. There are no traces of carbohydrates in crab meat. Because of this, it is one of the ultimate options to strengthen the cat’s muscles, fur, and claws.

Crabmeat has plenty of vitamin B12, and it is hard for cats to get this nutrient from other foods. This vitamin has a crucial role in maintaining the immunity of your cat. Plus, vitamin B12 can protect the brain and digestive system of cats.

Sometimes the lack of vitamin B12 makes the cat inactive and causes problems in the peripheral nervous system. Cats will suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and the count of white or red blood cells might reduce. By giving enough amount of crabmeat, your cat can escape the above situations.

What Health Problems Will Cats Face By Eating Crab Meat? 

Like other seafood, crabs also have high chances to carry parasites, viruses, and bacteria. If you feed infected raw crab meat to the cats, they might suffer from many digestive problems. There were some cases of infection of eating the Vibrio bacteria-contaminated crab meat.

Many cats are sensitive to particular seafood. A few of them might have allergic reactions to crab meat. Feed small pieces of crab meat to your cat and watch it for the next 24 hours. If your cats show any adverse symptoms or side effects, it is better to stop feeding crab meat to them.

Studies reveal that food allergies are the third common kind of allergies in cats. Some signs of crab meat allergies in cats include rashes, skin irritation, and sneezing. If you notice these symptoms in the cat, go to the veterinarian as soon as you can.

The amount of sodium in crab meat is very high. Eating excessive amounts of sodium is dangerous to the cat’s health. As the cat’s stomach can not handle plenty of salt, it tends to suffer from various health problems.

In many cases, too much consumption of salt can lead to salt poisoning or hypernatremia. Hypernatremia is an emergency and needs immediate supervision from the veterinarian. In extreme cases, it can result in the death of the cats.

Here are some symptoms of hypernatremia:

  • Severe thirst
  • Change in behaviors  
  • Tripping while walking
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Can I give imitation crab to the cats? 

Cats can consume imitation crab meat as well. It is healthy only if eaten in moderation. Like its name, imitation crab is not real crab, and the ingredients used in making it might harm the cat if you give them excess amounts.

Eating cooked imitation crab meat that does not contain any spices, sauces, and seasoning is not harmful to cats. Imitation crab meat is prepared from surimi. It is a paste created by mixing different types of fish and other ingredients, such as whitefish, starch, and more.

Though imitation crab has low sodium and fat content than real crab meat, it also has fewer nutrients. Besides that, imitation crab has high carbohydrates and many other additives that might be harmful to cats.

The high levels of sugar in imitation crab meat can cause your cat to gain weight. Plenty of sugar and a shortage of fiber can increase blood sugar levels, which is dangerous if you have a diabetic cat. The starch (potato, tapioca,  worn, or wheat) used in imitation crab meat can also spike blood sugar levels. It might result in the cat becoming obese.

Consuming plenty of high phosphorus content in the imitation crab meat might harm kidney function in your cat. The additives for color, taste, and extension of the shelf life are not healthy for cats.

Can I Give Canned Crab Meat To The Cats? 

Canned crab meat is inexpensive food and easy to cook. But it is not a healthy or great option to give your cat.

You might want to provide canned crab meat to the cats because it is affordable and can last longer. It is best if you avoid feeding this canned food. Crabmeat is safe for cats, but the added preservatives in the canned food are toxic to the cat. Besides that, the canned meat has high salt content, which is not healthy for cats.

Final Words  

You can give cooked crab meat to the cats as a treat. It is better not to feed them the legs or shells of the crab because cats can not digest them easily and might choke on them. Plus, offer only plain cooked or steamed crab meat without adding any salt or spices.

Like other foods, feeding excessive amounts of crab meat is not safe for the cat’s health. As the pet owner, you should offer crab meat or other seafood in moderation. If your cat shows allergic reactions or has eaten crab shells, go to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

References

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Vibrio Species Causing Vibriosis 
  • Cornell University. (2016). Food Allergies 
  • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. (2019). Crustaceans, crab, alaska king, imitation, made from surimi 
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). (2018). Excess phosphorus damages the kidney