Most people like to pet cats. But, even though cats are domesticated animals, they still have the natural instincts that they inherit from their wild ancestors. All the cat owners give their pets a healthy and fulfilling diet, but cats still can’t resist eating other foods. If your cat happens to see you slurping down some oysters, there are chances it will also beg for oysters at the dinner table. So, in such a case, you must be wondering, can cats eat oysters? Is it safe for them to consume?
Well, you can feed cooked oysters to cats on an occasional basis as a treat, but avoid giving them raw ones. Oysters are indeed rich in proteins, vitamins, as well as many minerals, but there are a lot of risks involved too. We, humans, are also prone to some health risks when we eat seafood such as oysters. And these risks become even higher when it comes to cats.
So, let us dig a little bit deeper to understand the benefits and risks associated with cats eating oysters.
All That You Need To Know About Cats And Oysters
Oysters are salt-water creatures that have hard shells and have been a part of seafood consumed as a delicacy that people are relishing for centuries. These belong to the family of salt-water bivalve mollusks.
Since cats come from the family of carnivores, it is not that surprising that they get attracted to oysters. Meat is something that cats love to eat, and they derive lots of nutrients from it, which they can’t get from eating fruits and veggies.
But the main point is, are oysters an edible and safe source of meat for cats?
You need to note here that only those oysters which belong to the Ostreidae family are the most edible to consume. Common oysters which belong to this family are:
- Eastern oyster,
- Belon oyster,
- Pacific oyster,
- Olympia oyster, and
- Sydney rock oyster.
Also, the most attractive feature of oysters that benefits both humans and cats is that they do not contain any fat. It is one of those foods which you can easily dine without worrying about gaining any inches. In addition to it, oysters offer tons of protein along with other supplements, such as iron and zinc. So, what can be better for your cat than a meal which is rich in nutrients, have no risk of getting fat, and tastes good as well?
Can Cats Eat Oysters?
Usually, most of the food that we give to our cats is preferred raw. But that’s not the case with oysters. Cats should be given cooked oysters as the raw ones can carry the risk of sickness due to the presence of bacteria and parasites.
Oysters are a rich source of nutrients for cats. A hundred grams of raw oyster contains approximately:
- 68 calories.
- 7 gm protein, and
- Significant quantities of Vitamin A, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, zinc, iron, calcium, selenium, and copper as well.
But, all the glitter that you see is not pure gold. It is right that oysters are like a seafood version of a granola bar, but it is also fitting that oysters can also have some compounds that can prove to be toxic and extremely damaging to a cat’s health.
Health Issues That Your Cat Can Face After Eating Oysters
There are several reasons which suggest that oysters are not the ideal food to be fed to cats. But the most significant ones are:
Oysters contain some specific enzymes which usually do not have much effect on humans. But, these enzymes can have a severe negative impact on the body of cats. The presence of enzymes in oysters can be highly fatal for cats as these can impair the thiamine present in a cat’s body.
Thiamine is a type of B vitamin that is really essential for cats to survive. Most of the high functioning organs of the cat’s body, mainly the digestive as well as the nervous system, make use of thiamine to function properly.
Thiamine deficiency is not that common in cats if they are fed a healthy diet. But, consuming the wrong food, like oysters or raw fish, can suck this crucial vitamin from the cat’s body. This will leave your cat prone to many severe health complications.
Deficiency of thiamine due to the consumption of oysters can result in neurological disorders, comas, and also seizures. This is the reason why it is considered harmful to feed even a small quantity of oysters to cats.
Adverse Effects Of Pollution
If you are a cat owner for a long time, then you must be knowing that how much sensitive a cat’s stomach is. Cats even fall prey to minor health complications as their stomach is highly vulnerable. This is the reason why it is crucial to pay extra attention to the things that should be fed to cats. A slight compromise with a cat’s food can adversely affect its health.
Oysters are creatures that live in salt-water oceans. They are considered the natural filter of oceans as their primary ecological function is to filter the impurities. Unfortunately, we humans are very ignorant and damage the oceans through litter, oil spills, and the release of other toxic substances.
In such a case, it should not astonish you much that some of this environmental pollution seeps inside the edible part of oysters. Now, you will be able to clearly establish a direct correlation between the adverse effects of water pollution on oysters.
We, humans, have a strong immune system and more bodyweight in comparison to cats, and therefore consuming oysters may not be much detrimental to our health. But, cats have a sensitive and vulnerable stomach that does not have enough capacity to cater to many complications.
Therefore, you should not compromise your cat’s health by feeding oysters unless you know the environment from where the oysters are coming from. Oysters from polluted water can result in bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea in cats. They can even be highly poisonous and can lead to the death of your cat.
From the perspective of a human, you might wonder that oysters are full of nutrients and vitamins, then how can it be fatal for cats. You are thinking right, but you should also be aware of the risks that come with the good.
You will be dismayed to know that oysters can result in the death of your cat. Feeding raw oysters to your cat can lead to the biggest disaster. Note that both cooked, as well as uncooked oysters, can cause health issues to a cat. But, the chances of an uncooked, raw oyster taking the life of your little furry friend is much higher in comparison to the steamed or fried oysters.
A highly lethal bacterium named vibrio vulnificus lives in oysters that can cause stomach and intestinal complications in both humans as well as cats. But, diarrhea that a cat suffers due to this bacterium can result in your kitty’s death. If you leave this problem untreated for a long time, the cat can suffer from dehydration which can lay a bed for the eternal sleep of your cat.
Check Commercial Food Before Buying
It is a common thinking of most of us that something which is canned or sold in tins lie in the danger-free category. Well, the reality is completely contradictory. Just because a food item packed in tin cans is available in marts and local stores after passing through the factory doesn’t mean it will not cause any harm to anyone.
Dry and wet cat food that we usually buy is made by mixing various ingredients for the purpose of diversity. Cats usually have a liking for fishes and other seafood. That’s why many cat food contains oysters to provide a seafood flavor. You need to avoid even that cat food that has oysters as one of the ingredients. Commercial foods for cats with oysters in them are equally fatal for a cat’s health, just like raw oysters.
Oysters are known to cause food allergies to humans. The situation might be the same for cats also. Cats suffer from food allergies a lot due to their sensitive stomach. Food allergies in cats manifest as skin reactions. Some of the most common symptoms of food allergies in cats are:
- Runny eyes.
- Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and snoring.
- Swollen paws.
- Itchiness in the skin.
- Unusual farting.
So, if you have fed oysters to your cat and notice any of these symptoms, take appropriate remedial steps immediately.
What To Do If Your Cat Ate An Oyster?
Before trying to solve the issue through a home remedy, the first thing you should do is to contact your vet. Tell him the whole situation in detail and then follow the remedial steps as recommended by him. If you are finding it challenging to cater to the current condition of your cat, or if your cat’s health is becoming worse, then immediately book an appointment with the vet.
To control the situation at hand and provide some relief to your cat, it is advisable to follow a symptomatic treatment. If your cat is troubled due to indigestion or some kind of gastrointestinal problem, it will be good if you feed it a meal with high fiber content. It will help your cat pass out anything which is creating trouble inside its stomach.
If your cat is facing any kind of distress, you need to observe the signs carefully to attend to the issue. If the signs relate to thiamine deficiency, feed your little kitty food rich in thiamine to avoid any further damage. In case of dehydration, purified water intake will work, or you can give your furry friend some food rich in water content.
You should keep in mind that all these remedies will not eradicate the main cause of discomfort. These treatments will only help you in relieving your kitty from some distress. To recover your cat back to a healthy state, you should follow the medical treatment prescribed by the vet.
So, can cats eat oysters? By carefully weighing the benefits and risks of cats eating oysters, we can say that oysters are not at all safe for cats to eat in any given circumstance. A small amount of oyster can cause severe complications in a cat’s body.
So, if you are a cat owner, we do not recommend you feed your cat any oysters. It would help if you only stuck to a healthy diet. Experimenting with new food is not recommended when it comes to cats. A cat is an animal with a sensitive stomach, and eating the wrong food can put it in a situation of life and death.
However, if you lose against your cute kitty’s begging, you can share a chunk of oyster with it. But, before doing so, make sure you give a cooked oyster to your cat, not a raw one. Also, you should be aware that the oysters you are feeding to your cat come from a non-polluted water body. Afterward, you should give your cat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet to compensate for any kind of health damage that may have caused to your cat’s healthy body.