One cup of cooked crab meat contains 97 calories, as much as 21 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of fat, no carbs, no fiber, and no sugar. This makes it a pretty good food for people who are on a diet.
Moreover, crab is rich in vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as copper, phosphorus, and selenium. But if crab meat is safe and nutritious for humans, is it the same for cats? Can cats eat crab at all or should you avoid feeding this food to your pet?
We’re answering this question in today’s article, so keep on reading!
Can Cats Have Raw, Cooked, or Canned Crab Meat
Cats can eat crab, but just to be on the safe side of things, it should make up about 10% of their entire diet. The reason we’re suggesting this is that not all types of crab are safe and commercial alternatives could put your cat’s health at risk.
Raw crab can be safe if it is extremely fresh. In fact, chances are that some cats might be more interested in the raw alternative rather than the cooked one.
On the other hand, cooking the crab before feeding it to your pet is the best way of going about things, and that’s because you are effectively killing the germs and eliminating the risk of your cat suffering from food poisoning. The best way to cook crab for cats would be to boil it for 10-20 minutes.
When cooking crab at home for your feline friend, it is highly important for you to avoid adding any salt or seasonings and condiments such as onion, ginger, garlic, butter, or anything else that you might be tempted to add for yourself.
Do not feed your cat crab that you’ve prepared for your family, especially if it’s been seasoned. Give your cat bland crab and then season it for yourself. Cats are sensitive to a number of human seasonings and condiments so it’s best to avoid using any at all.
As for the canned option, although it’s convenient, without a doubt, it might not be the best health-wise.
If you go out of your way to find a canned alternative that doesn’t contain any artificial colors, preservatives, additives, seasonings, and so on, then you could feed it to your cat — but the likelihood of you even coming across such a brand is very, very low.
Are There Any Risks?
You probably know that some people are allergic to specific types of seafood and shellfish, so that could be the case with your cat, too. If you don’t know for sure whether your cat has a food sensitivity to crab meat or not, the best advice we have for you is to avoid giving her any.
Very, very small amounts might be safe in some cases but could still cause digestive upset such as diarrhea and vomiting, itchiness, and other signs of a classic allergic reaction.
If your cat is really heavily allergic to crab, she might go into anaphylactic shock, which is a real veterinary emergency. You have to get your pet to the animal hospital as soon as possible if this happens.
In the end, you have to ask yourself whether it makes sense for you to give your cat crab meat considering these risks. While most cats are perfectly fine after eating some, you can’t overrule the possibility that your cat might not be.
Can Cats Eat Imitation Crab Meat?
In general, no. As much as some plant-based people might like to believe that their pets can eat the same plant-based diet as they do, the truth is that they just can’t.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they are genetically engineered to thrive by eating protein from animal sources.
Wild cats hunt small prey for sustenance, so that should give you a clue as to whether cats are allowed to eat imitation crab meat or not. Naturally, if your feline friend is a huge aficionado of it, you might be able to give her very, very small amounts but not more than 2-5% of her weekly diet.
Anything more than that is unhealthy as cats are made to eat animal meat — not fake meat. Imitation crab is carb-heavy, and while it might contain some protein, it’s not nearly enough for an obligate carnivore.
What Other Types of Seafood Can You Give Your Cat?
Besides crab, cats can eat low and moderate amounts of the following types of seafood:
In terms of fish, cats can eat anything from tuna to salmon and sardines. Ocean fish, in general, are pretty rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and they have a number of benefits for pets, from maintaining the health of their nervous system to supporting heart health.
Cats are allowed to eat crab meat. Since it might not be a protein source that your pet might be used to, make sure to start with very, very small quantities and increase them gradually — this will allow you to analyze your cat’s behavior and health for a couple of days to see whether they experience any side effects.
Raw crab is less safe as it could carry germs. Cooked crab is safe so long as you haven’t added anything to it, whether salt or something else. Canned crab meat is risky as it might not have as clean ingredients as the one that you can prepare at home.