Can Cats Eat Crab? The Benefits and Risks

Cats are known for their picky eating habits, and as a cat owner, you may wonder if it’s safe to feed your feline friend crab. After all, seafood is a popular human food that many pet owners assume their cats will enjoy as well. However, before you start feeding your cat crab, it’s essential to understand the potential risks and benefits of this type of food. In this article, we will explore the question, “Can cats eat crab?” and provide you with all the information you need to decide what to feed your furry friend.

Can Cats Eat Crab?

The answer is yes. But you should be careful about how much you give your cat and what kind of crab you feed them.

nutritional benefits of crab for cats

Crab is a type of seafood that is rich in many essential nutrients that are beneficial for cats. Here are some of the nutritional benefits:


Crab is a good source of high-quality protein, which is important for cats to maintain healthy tissues and muscles. Protein also helps to support the immune system and promote healthy growth and development.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Crab is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for cats to maintain healthy skin and coat. These fatty acids also help to reduce inflammation and support heart and brain health.

Vitamins and Minerals

Crab is rich in many essential vitamins and minerals for cats, including vitamin B12, zinc, copper, and selenium. These nutrients help to support overall health and well-being and can also help to boost the immune system.

Low in Fat

Crab is a low-fat food, which makes it a great option for cats that are overweight or prone to obesity. It’s also a good source of lean protein, which can help to keep cats feeling full and satisfied.

Easy to Digest

Crab is a highly digestible food, meaning cats can easily absorb and utilize its nutrients. This makes it an excellent option for cats with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.

tips for feeding crabs to cats

Feeding crab to your cat can be a great way to provide them with a nutritious and tasty treat. However, taking some precautions and following a few tips is vital to ensure your cat stays safe and healthy. Here are some tips for feeding crabs to cats:

1. Choose Fresh Crab

When feeding your cat crab, it’s important to choose fresh and high-quality crab meat. Avoid feeding your cat crab that has been sitting in the refrigerator for too long or has an off smell or appearance.

2. Cook the Crab Thoroughly

Raw or undercooked crab can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can make your cat sick. Make sure to cook the crab thoroughly before feeding it to your cat.

3. Remove the Shell

Crab shells can be a choking hazard for cats, so removing the shell before feeding it to your cat is important. You can also purchase canned or pre-cooked crab meat that is already shell-free.

4. Watch the Portion Sizes

While crabs can be a healthy treat for cats, feeding them in moderation is important. Too much crab can lead to digestive upset or even pancreatitis in some cats. Generally, treats should make up no more than 10% of your cat’s daily caloric intake.

5. Monitor for Allergic Reactions

Some cats may be allergic to seafood, including crab. Watch your cat closely for any signs of an allergic reaction, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop feeding your cat crab immediately and contact your veterinarian.

6. Consult with Your Veterinarian

If you have any concerns or questions about feeding crabs to your cat, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide you with personalized advice and help you determine if the crab is a safe and appropriate treat for your cat.

risks of feeding crabs to cats

While crabs can be a healthy and nutritious treat for cats, there are some potential risks and drawbacks to consider before feeding it to your pet.

Allergic Reactions

Some cats may be allergic to seafood, including crab. Allergic reactions can range from mild symptoms like itching and hives to more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction after feeding your cat crab, stop feeding it immediately and contact your veterinarian.

Choking Hazard

Crab shells can be a choking hazard for cats, especially if they are not removed before feeding. Make sure to remove the shell or purchase pre-cooked crab meat that is already shell-free.

Digestive Upset

Feeding your cat too much crab or introducing it too quickly into their diet can lead to digestive upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. It’s important to feed crab in moderation and introduce it slowly into your cat’s diet.

High Sodium Content

Some types of crab, such as canned crab meat, can be high in sodium. Feeding your cat too much sodium can lead to health problems like high blood pressure and kidney disease. Make sure to choose low-sodium crab options or limit the amount of crab you feed your cat.

Mercury Contamination

Like many types of seafood, crab can contain mercury, which can be harmful to cats in high doses. Make sure to choose a low-mercury crab and feed it in moderation.


Some cats are prone to pancreatitis, a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. Feeding your cat too much high-fat foods like crab can increase their risk of developing pancreatitis.

Can Cats Eat Crab Shells?

No, cats shouldn’t eat crab shells.

Crab shells are made of calcium carbonate, which is a soft mineral that can cause serious digestive problems for cats. It can also cause kidney stones and bladder stones. The shell minerals may also harm your cat’s intestinal tract if she eats them.

Crab shells aren’t a necessary part of a cat’s diet, so you should avoid feeding them to her unless there’s some sort of medical reason why she needs them (like to treat constipation). If you’ve been giving your cat crab shells as treats or food, stop immediately—and consider bringing her to the vet if you think she’s eaten any!

Can cats eat imitation crab?

Imitation crab is a product that looks and tastes like real crab, but it’s not. It’s unsafe for cats to eat. If you have an exotic pet like a cat or ferret, you should avoid feeding them any food with imitation crab.

Is Canned Crab Safe for Cats?

Canned crab is not safe for cats because it contains high levels of mercury. Cats are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of mercury, which can lead to kidney failure, blindness, neurological issues and death.

What other Shellfish Can Cats Eat?

While it’s true that cats have a natural aversion to seafood, they can still eat shellfish if it’s prepared correctly. It’s best to feed them shrimp, crab, and lobster in moderation, as these types of seafood contain high levels of purine.

Final Thought

Cats can eat crabs, but this should be done only occasionally. Cats tend to overeat and this can lead them to becoming overweight. The occasional crab is unlikely to hurt your pet and will likely be enjoyed.

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