Can Cats Eat Imitation Crab – Is It Safe Seafood?

If you (and your cat) are a crab lover, then you’ve probably purchased imitation crab in the past. After all, imitation crab is much cheaper than crab, especially if you like to share with your cat. You never really researched what’s in imitation crab meat, but you know it’s probably not real crab. Otherwise, why would they name it that? If it’s not a real crab, you should ask yourself; can cats eat imitation crab? 

Cats can eat imitation crab meat, but you should only feed imitation crab to your cat in small quantities. Imitation crab is not real crab, so it includes ingredients that may make your cat sick if eaten often or in large amounts.

Like anything that is not cat food or made specifically for cats, imitation crab should be given to your cat as a snack. It should not replace any meals. Since imitation crab is commonly purchased but rarely understood, let’s talk more about crab meat and imitation crab meat and what it may mean for your furry friend’s snacking habits.

Is Imitation Crab Meat Safe For Cats

Imitation crab meat is safe for your cats to eat, but it is not the best option for your cat.

Imitation crab meat without seasoning won’t do anything to hurt your cat. With anything that doesn’t include cat food, you’ll want only to give your cat a small amount of imitation crab meat as a snack. Their diet should not be based on imitation crab meat because large amounts of imitation crab meat can become unsafe. 

We’ll talk more about what’s in imitation crab meat a little later, but one key ingredient in imitation crab meat is starch. Small amounts of starch won’t pose any difficulties to your cat, but your cat might have trouble digesting large quantities of starch that can be in lots of imitation crab meat.

Is Crab Meat Good For Cats

A small amount of cooked crab meat is a good snack for your cat.

While crab is not the first seafood that you think of giving your cat, cooked crab is a good treat for your cat. Note that it should never be eaten by your cat raw. 

Crabmeat is full of Omega 3s, which are suitable for your cats just like you. 

If you plan on giving your cat crab meat, skip any seasonings or the butter you may be tempted to put on the crab. Plain crab meat is the safest for your cat.

Do Cats Like Crab

Some cats may like the taste of crab, but it is up to the individual cat.

Cats can be surprisingly picky eaters, so it is difficult to say for certain if your cat likes crab. For instance, one of my cats hates seafood; she refuses to eat any canned cat food with a fish flavor. Another one of my cats doesn’t like chicken flavor. 

If you know that your cat is a fan of seafood, then you’ll have no trouble figuring out that your cat will like crab meat.

Can Kittens Eat Crab Meat

Kittens, like full-grown cats, can eat crab meat.

If you have a kitten and plan to give it crab meat as a snack, you need to make sure that the crab meat pieces are ripped small. Kittens are, of course, smaller than full-grown cats, so you don’t want your kitten to choke on the crab meat. 

Since you should avoid giving cats additional calories, you won’t want to season or put butter on the crab meat you give your kitten. Kittens are still growing, so you must prevent your kitten from eating any unnecessary foods. 

What Is Imitation Crab Meat Made Out Of

Imitation crab meat is not made of crab meat but starch and whitefish. That’s something to seriously consider when it involves your cats diet. 

As the name suggests, there is no real crab meat in imitation crab and is instead created to “imitate” real crab meat. Since it is imitating more expensive crab meat, imitation crab is popular because it is cheaper.

So how do you make imitation crab meat? Makers of imitation crab pulverize white wish and add starch to create something close to natural crab meat texture. The mixture is then cured and even shaped to look like crab meat! You can think of imitation crab almost as the tofu of the seafood world. 

Can Cats Eat Canned Crab Meat

Even though canned crab meat may be the easiest and cheapest option for you, canned crab meat is not an excellent choice to feed your cat.

Americans especially love canned food. It is often cheaper than fresh food and lasts much longer. This is true even of canned seafood. Therefore, you might be tempted to buy your cat canned crab meat.

I would recommend avoiding canned crab meat for your cat. The meat itself is perfectly fine for your cat, but it is the added preservatives that can be harmful to your cat. The crab meat is packed in salt and water, and salt is not suitable for cats. Canned crab meat can be salty even for humans!

What Seafood Can Cats Eat

Cats and seafood are a standard image. While cats probably can’t have a diet based solely on fish, there are options for seafood that cats can eat.

When thinking about what seafood to feed your cat, think about the flavors of seafood that you see on cat food cans, like:

  • Tuna
  • Sardine
  • Salmon

You can also feed your cat anchovies, but you want to make sure you get fresh anchovies. Canned anchovies typical at the supermarket are packed with salt that is not good for your cat. 

No matter what kind of seafood you want to give your cat – whether it is crab meat or tuna – you want to skip any seasoning and salt. If you’re cooking the seafood fresh for your cat, try not to add any oils or use butter in the pan. While these ingredients make a yummy dish for humans, it isn’t the best choice for your furry friend. 

Things To Consider

Since this article is all about imitation crab, let’s talk a little more about what imitation crab is so you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to feed it to your cat.

We briefly discussed what is in imitation crab, but let’s dive a little deeper. That pulverized white fish I mentioned earlier is called surimi. The fish used may vary based on brand, but it is usually Alaskan pollock or Pacific whiting. It’s so mashed up that it would be pretty unrecognizable to you.

Imitation crab ends up being more unhealthy than real crab meat because of all the extra additives to give it the texture and taste of real crab. I told you that there is starch in imitation crab, but sugar and artificial flavorings. The amount of sugar or flavoring also probably depends on the brand that you purchase, so you might be able to find some healthier options on the market.

As opposed to imitation crab, real crab meat is packed with Omega 3s and vitamins. There is also more protein in real crab. Since sugar doesn’t need to be added to flavor it, crab meat even has less sugar than imitation crab meat. For the average consumer, the biggest drawback of real crab is the price, which can be extremely high compared to imitation crab and can be dependent on where you live and what season it is. 

There are pros and cons to both, but the final decision is up to you. Hopefully, the decision will be easier if you know what crab meat and imitation crab meat are.


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