Can Cats Eat Crab?
There’s not too much better than a good, Cajun-style crab boil. Whether dipped in butter or as crab bisque, crab is a popular dish that can be found on the dinner table in many parts of the world.
If you like eating crab, you may be wondering if it would be okay to let your cat have a bite. As we will see, cooked crab is okay as an occasional treat.
In this article we’ll cover the following:
- Cats and Crab, What You Need to Know
- Can Cats Eat Crab?
- Can Kittens Eat Crab?
- Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Crab
- Healthy Alternatives to Crab for Cats
This content has been reviewed and approved by our in-house Veterinarian for accuracy.
Cats and Crab, What You Need to Know
The crab is a type of arthropod with a thick exoskeleton best known for its pincers and sideways walking movement. Being a crustacean, crabs are part of a large group of invertebrate animals that includes lobsters, shrimp, and crayfish (or crawdads as we called them growing up).
As crabs are usually found in or by the sea, and cats hate water, it’s pretty uncommon that cats would come into contact with a live crab. However, as the following video shows, chance encounters do happen:
Since cats are predators, it’s not surprising to see the cat going after the crab. Cats are also obligate carnivores, so meat is the only food cats really need to eat and they derive little to no nutrition from plants and vegetables.
But, is crab a good source of meat for cats? Would they like it?
From a nutritional standpoint, crab isn’t a bad food. One hundred grams of Alaskan king crab contains about 97 Calories, 19.4 grams of protein, and significant amounts of vitamin B12, zinc, copper, and selenium.
Can Cats Eat Crab?
While cooked crab is generally okay to give cats, fresh crab carries some risks of sickness from bacteria and parasites.
It’s unlikely your cat would get sick from eating raw crab, but why take chances with their health? Instead, just stick with providing them with the occasional cooked crab as a treat.
Here’s a cat that didn’t wait for their dinner to be cooked. It shows that there’s another danger to eating crab that’s TOO raw…
Can Kittens Eat Crab?
Because of their immature immune and digestive systems, kittens are susceptible to illness. Bacteria and parasites that could be in raw crab are even more likely to make a kitten sick than an adult cat.
Make sure any crab you feed your kitten is cooked first, and doesn’t contain any additives like salt or spices. Even then, it should be given only as on occasional treat and in small quantities.
High-quality, grain-free kitten food has all the nutrients a growing kitten needs. So, it’s best to stick with something like Wellness kitten food or else Taste of the Wild kitten food.
Benefits and Drawbacks to Cats Eating Crab
As we have learned, cooked crab can provide protein that is required in your cat’s diet. However, fresh crab, contaminated with a bacteria known as Vibrio, has been identified as a source of human illness.
Vibrio usually only affects people with compromised immune systems. Most commonly associated with eating raw oysters, the bacteria normally causes gastrointestinal symptoms, but in serious cases has resulted in the loss of limbs and even death.
While cats are not known to be affected by Vibrio, it’s best to be safe and only give your cat cooked crab.
Additionally, heavy metals, such as cadmium can become concentrated in crab meat. Cats are particularly sensitive to some types of heavy metal poisoning, so it’s best to limit the amount of crab you give to your cat.
Perhaps most importantly, crab are a known source of food allergy in humans and might also be for cats. Food allergies are the third most common type of feline allergy, surpassed by only flea bite allergies and sensitivity to inhaled substances.
In cats, food allergies usually manifest themselves as skin reactions. Symptoms of food allergies in cats can include:
- Sneezing, snoring, coughing, and wheezing
- Itchy skin, scratching, and chewing
- Ear infections
- Runny eyes
- Swollen paws
- Possible farting
If you do decide to give your cat crab, make sure you stay alert for any of the above symptoms.
Healthy Alternatives to Crab
Adult cats are fine to have a little bit of cooked crab from time to time. With all of the great options out there, why not try a seafood-themed cat food? There are also seafood cat treats that can satisfy your cat’s craving for crab.
There’s no rush to feed crab to your cat, however. They don’t need it to survive, so any high-quality, meat-based cat food will be great for them, such as Wellness or Taste of the Wild cat foods.
So, can cats eat crab?
Well, now we know that cats can eat crab. We also know you should never feed fresh or raw crab to your cat or kitten because of the bacteria and parasites that may make your cat sick if present.
Most importantly, we know that there are many safe and healthy seafood cat foods and treats that are great alternatives for your kitty.
If you want your cat to have a good crab experience, check out this funny corduroy crab cat toy. Filled with catnip, your cat will have a blast catching this deep-sea creature and won’t even have to get its paws wet, or worry about it pinching their paws!
If you have any questions or would like to share a story about your cat and crabs, please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!