Can Cats Eat Crab? The Definitive Answer

Crab is a tasty seafood treat that many cat owners wonder about feeding to their feline friends. As obligate carnivores, can cats safely eat seafood like crab? This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about feeding crab to cats.


Crab is a delicious, protein-packed seafood that humans love. It’s only natural for cat owners to be curious if crab is safe and healthy for cats to eat as well. This article will explore all aspects around crab for cats:

  • Nutritional benefits of crab
  • Is crab safe for cats to consume?
  • Serving recommendations
  • Potential risks and side effects
  • Proper ways to feed crab to cats
  • Other seafoods that are safe or unsafe for cats

By the end, you’ll know conclusively whether cats can eat crab and how to feed it appropriately. Let’s get cracking!

Nutritional Benefits of Crab for Cats

While not critical to their diet, crab does offer some beneficial nutrients for cats:

  • High in protein – Crab is packed with quality animal protein that cats require. This supports strong muscles and overall health.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – Crab contains omega-3s, which support skin/coat health and reduce inflammation in cats.
  • Vitamin B12 – Crab provides vitamin B12, which aids red blood cell formation and nerve function in cats.
  • Zinc and copper – Crab offers minerals like zinc and copper, which support immune system health in cats.

So crab can provide useful protein, fatty acids, and micronutrients for cats. It makes a healthy supplemental treat.

Is Crab Safe for Cats to Eat?

The big question is whether crab is toxic or unsafe for cat consumption. The good news is yes, crab is safe for cats to eat in moderation.

According to the ASPCA, crab is non-toxic for cats. The meat, legs, and shells are all cat-safe. Both fresh and imitation crab are fine in small amounts.

Crab is not poisonous or harmful to cats. Letting your cat nibble on leftover crab from your seafood dinner is perfectly fine. Just be aware of a few precautions covered next.

Serving Crab to Cats

When sharing crab with your cat, follow these guidelines:

  • Give only occasional, small treats – Crab should not be a regular meal. An ounce or two a week is sufficient.
  • Avoid choking hazards – Cut crab into bite-size pieces. Don’t feed whole legs or large chunks.
  • Cook thoroughly – Raw crab may contain bacteria. Cook fully before feeding to cats.
  • Remove seasonings – Avoid crab seasoned with onion, garlic, salt, butter, etc. as this can be unhealthy for cats.
  • Monitor for reactions – Limit initial portions to watch for signs of food intolerance or allergies.

Follow these tips to safely incorporate crab as an occasional cat treat.

Potential Risks of Crab for Cats

When fed properly, crab is safe for most cats. However, be aware of a few potential side effects:

  • Allergic reaction – Some cats may be allergic to crab. Watch for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or itching.
  • Upset stomach – Too much crab could cause diarrhea or upset stomach. Start with small amounts.
  • Unsafe additives – Crab sticks and imitation crab often contain onions, garlic, and other additives unsafe for cats. Check labels.
  • Choking hazard – Eating too large of pieces risks gagging or obstruction. Cut crab into bite-size chunks.
  • High cholesterol – The high natural cholesterol in crab may be problematic for some cats, like those with heart disease. Ask your vet.

Discontinue feeding crab immediately if any reaction occurs and contact your veterinarian.

How to Get Your Cat to Eat Crab

Even though crab is cat-safe, your kitty may snub their nose at this new food. Here are tips to entice picky cats to try crab:

  • Mix a few small chunks of crab in with their wet cat food. The flavors will slowly combine.
  • Gently rub a tiny bit of crab juice or meat on their gums and lips to get them used to the taste.
  • Warm a piece of crab slightly to bring out the aroma. Let your cat sniff and lick the fragrant meat.
  • Eat crab yourself in front of your cat. They often want to eat whatever you’re eating!
  • For shy cats, set pieces of crab around their food bowl so they can sample it on their terms.

But don’t force or punish your cat if they refuse crab. Not all cats like seafood. Try again in a few weeks if they refuse.

What Other Seafoods Can Cats Eat?

In addition to crab, some other cat-safe seafoods include:

Safe in Moderation:

  • Cooked fish (salmon, tilapia, cod)
  • Shrimp
  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Mussels


Introduce new seafood slowly and watch for any signs of digestive upset or allergic reaction. Only feed cooked, unseasoned plain seafood to cats in moderation.

Conclusion: Can Cats Eat Crab?

In summary, the verdict is yes – cats can safely eat crab as an occasional treat. While not a necessary part of their diet, crab offers some beneficial protein, fatty acids, and nutrients. Follow the dosage and preparation tips to provide your cat a tasty crab treat. Limit it to a few small pieces once or twice a week.

Crab joins the list of seafood like fish and shrimp that are cat-safe in moderation. By using proper precautions, your cat can enjoy a few delicious morsels of crab as a supplemental snack. Just be vigilant for any signs of reaction. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian.

So if you’re enjoying a seafood feast, feel free to share a few crab bits with your curious cat! With some prudent monitoring, crab can be a safe and healthy treat. Check out this article from PetMD for more expert insight on feeding seafood to cats.

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