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Can Cats Eat Crab? Nutritional Facts & FAQ

We’ve all been there. You go to crack open a can of crab to make some dip, or maybe whip up some delicious crab cakes. But something isn’t right—you aren’t alone. That’s when it begins. The yowling, mewing, and rubbing of a cat manic for a taste of that delicious crab meat you were about to enjoy. Cats sure do love a nice juicy piece of that crab, don’t they?

But being a wonderful fur parent, you looked it up first instead of guessing. So, can cats eat crab? Well, yes, but like anything good, it’s important to do things in moderation. Too much of any good thing becomes a bad thing! In this article, we look at the dos and don’ts of feeding our feline friends delicious crab meat.

While it’s ok to feed them some as a treat from time to time, there are some precautions that you should take to ensure you aren’t feeding them something that will make them sick, which brings us to our next question:

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Is Crab Meat Good for Cats?

Cats are carnivores who have evolved to exist primarily on a diet that comes from prey. That means that they need high protein content, moderate amounts of fat, and low carb intake. While crabs do have a decent amount of protein and cats can eat them, there are a lot of carbs in crab meat. Three ounces of crabmeat has 74 calories and just 15.4 grams of protein, so is it good for your cat?


Cats can and certainly love to eat a touch of crab from time to time—and that’s about all they should really be indulging in it. Crabmeat makes a great treat for our furry buddies, but it shouldn’t be considered a staple food by any means. Too much crab too often could contribute to obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease, but a little bit here and there won’t hurt them and makes a tasty snack for a hungry cat.

One thing to keep in mind is what you’ve seasoned it with. Make sure you pull a piece of meat off before you season it, because certain herbs and spices such as garlic, while tasty to us, are toxic to our furry friends.

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Can Cats Eat Raw Crab?

This is an easy one—no. You should refrain from feeding a cat raw crab because parasites may be present. This can cause your little kitty to get very sick, and nobody wants that. You should always cook the meat to ensure that all those harmful kinds of bacteria and oceanic parasites are dead and gone. Just give them a little bit of what you’re having—the meat.

You should not give your cats the legs and shells to eat because they are very difficult to digest and are a choking hazard. Most cats won’t eat the shell on purpose, but in licking the taste off they could inadvertently eat some. But what about when it comes to imitation crab meat?

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Image Credit: Tom Wang, Shutterstock

Can Cats Eat Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab meat is something that people often buy because it’s cheaper than the real thing. Cats might have an absolutely amazing sense of smell, but they don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between imitation crab meat and the real thing—which begs the question: Can they have some?

When it comes to imitation crab meat, a couple of problems arise. To break this down, we must look at the nutritional content of the fake crab meat. Imitation crab meat is usually made from something called surimi. It’s basically the same thing as a sausage or a hot dog, but with fish meat.

The thing about imitation crab meat is that it is even higher in carbs than the already carb-laden original version. That, plus the added salt and sugar content along with the preservatives makes crab meat fairly inadvisable to feed your cat. It’s kind of like giving them fast food—it won’t make them sick right away, and they’ll probably even enjoy it. But when you look at it in the long run, you really don’t want to give them very much of that stuff.

So, if imitation crab—which is made of miscellaneous fish meat—isn’t great for your cat, can they eat other alternatives?

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Is Lobster Safe to Feed Cats?

Well, if you’re looking for an alternative that will save you money, this probably isn’t the way to go. The good news, however, is that yes, much like crab, a little bit of cooked lobster is a great treat for a cat. Actually, lobster has a bit more nutritional value than crab because of the amino acids present in the meat.

Also, much like crab, it needs to be cooked and free of seasonings that could be toxic. Also, never let them near the shell, as it’s a potential choking hazard.

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Image Credit: ndemello, Pixabay

Is Seafood Safe for Cats?

Much commonly found around the house kinds of fish that are eaten by humans are in fact safe for cats—on a few conditions. Firstly, we’re not talking about anything exotic here—just commonly eaten fish like tuna, salmon, sardines. These oily kinds of fish are OK for your cat in moderation, but too much can lead to a thiamine deficiency.

The same is not true for shellfish like oysters and muscles: they have enzymes that can be fatal to cats, so refrain from letting them lap at an oyster. Another thing to consider is that cats can be allergic to seafood, just like people. Always pay close attention to your cat when you give them new treats.

Also, cats must not be fed any raw seafood under any circumstances for the same reasons that we as humans cook food and most seafood. Parasites and harmful bacteria can wreak havoc on the digestive system, cause untold discomfort, and worse, so always be careful to cook fish and seafood thoroughly first.

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Crabmeat and some other kinds of seafood can be a nice treat for your cat if you exercise the proper precautions—and since you’re here reading this, we can be sure that you are. When our little friends come barging around demanding snacks and treats, it can be hard not to just fork over the goods.

While well-intentioned, it’s never a good idea to give any animal any food or treat if you don’t know that it is good for them. Good on you for stopping to check—now, if you haven’t seasoned it, (or burned it!) go ahead and give them a little treat. It’s fun to spoil them, and with a little due diligence, it can be perfectly safe as well.