Cats have short attention spans. Some felines enjoy dining at the table with us, watching our every bite with eyes that practically beg for scraps. Some people don’t give a hoot about what you eat and will turn down anything you serve them.
If you have a generous cat, you may have wondered if you could share your oysters with him.
No, that’s the short and easy answer. Raw oysters are toxic to cats. Oysters in any form, including canned, smoked, or cooked, can be given as a treat on occasion, provided they do not contain excessive amounts of oil, salt, or other additives.
Can cats have oysters?
Don’t risk your cat’s health by feeding it oysters. An enzyme found in raw oysters can cause serious illness in cats. Furthermore, pollutants and bacteria can be found in raw oysters.
Thiaminase is an enzyme found in raw oysters. Thiaminase is an enzyme responsible for thiamine breakdown.
Thiamine is a type of vitamin B that aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates. Thiaminase is an antinutrient because it degrades an essential amino acid.
Thiamine, a type of vitamin B, is essential for humans to convert food into energy. For the same reason, thiamine is important for cats. Why oysters require the thiaminase enzyme is a mystery. Oysters and other shellfish may be protected from parasites by thiaminase.
Oysters are a source of thiaminase, a digestive enzyme. Thiamine is degraded in the body by an enzyme called thiaminase. The amount consumed by humans is negligible and therefore harmless. Oysters provide a much higher concentration of thiaminase for cats to consume in relation to their body weight.
Thiaminase is toxic to cats because it depletes their stores of thiamine. Thiamine deficiency results from this breakdown.
When there isn’t enough thiamine in the body, the carbohydrates the cat eats can’t be converted into usable energy, resulting in thiamine deficiency.
A lack of thiamine can cause fatigue, weakness, and even cell death in the brain. It can cause anorexia-like symptoms, as well as blindness, seizures, coma, and death if not treated.
Store-bought cat food that is low in thiamine can also cause thiamine deficiency in cats. The vitamin thiamine is destroyed by overcooking. Due to low thiamine levels, many brands of cat food have been recalled.
It’s simple to overlook the early warning signs of thiamine deficiency. Unfortunately, the condition rapidly worsens after the initial stages. Damage to the nervous system and impairment of vision occur rapidly. Thiamine deficiency is potentially lethal if not treated.
In cats, thiamine deficiency manifests itself through the following early signs:
- Appetite loss
- Reduced weight
Symptoms that worsen over time include:
- Vision impairment
- Inability to walk in a straight line; circling; stumbling; losing balance
Thiamine deficiency is clearly a serious health risk. Your feline companion should not be experiencing any of these conditions. Because of this, raw oysters should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t give your cat any raw fish, ever. Thiaminase is found in abundance in fish. Thiamine deficiency has been linked to eating a lot of raw fish.
Pollutants like heavy metals can also be found in raw oysters.
This is typically not a major issue for human beings. The kidneys and livers of humans are well-equipped to process toxic metals. Heavy metals are toxic to cats and can cause severe illness if they ingest too much of it.
Raw oysters occasionally harbor a bacteria called Vibrio Vulnificus. It’s responsible for human food poisoning (if you’ve ever gotten sick after eating “bad” shellfish, Vibrio Vulfinicus could be to blame).
Most people get over food poisoning pretty quickly. However, cats can quickly become fatally dehydrated.
What Are Oysters?
Bivalve mollusks with atypically shaped shells are oysters. You might think of pearls or seafood dishes when you hear the word “oyster.” Oysters are harvested from the wild and raised in aquaculture for these uses.
Some restaurants even offer cooked oysters, but that’s not the norm. If you think your cat would enjoy this, you should know that it could have harmful effects on your pet.
Oyster Nutrition Facts
Oysters, medium (6-pack)
- In terms of calories, this dish has 175
- Sum of Fats: 11 g
- Total Cholesterol 62mg
- 367mg of sodium
- Two hundred fifteen milligrams of potassium
- Ten grams of carbs in total.
- Total protein content, 8 g
- Total Vitamin C: 3.3 mg
- Iron: 6.1mg
- 18 milligrams of magnesium
- Magnesium: 121 mg
- 25 micrograms of cobalt
Can cats eat smoked oysters?
Oysters that have been steamed, smoked, and canned are known as smoked oysters. Oysters’ flavor is enhanced by smoking.
Since the thiaminase enzyme is destroyed during cooking, smoked oysters are marginally safer than raw oysters.
Even so, you shouldn’t give your cat smoked oysters. Canned smoked oysters typically include all the tasty extras—oil, salt, spices, etc.
Those tasty treats are actually quite bad for your cat’s health.
Can cats eat canned oysters?
Oysters in a can taste very much like smoked oysters. They’re canned after being cooked, but not smoked. Oysters in a can may or may not have added ingredients like oil, salt, and seasoning depending on the method of canning used.
Canned oysters that are packaged in water, don’t contain a lot of salt, and don’t have any other added seasonings are safe for cats to eat on occasion. However, it’s crucial that you don’t overfeed your cat at once.
Once in a while, it’s fine to give your cat a can of oysters.
Can cats eat oyster sauce?
The consistency and color of oyster sauce are similar to that of maple syrup. The Chinese use it because of the deep, earthy, salty-sweet flavor it imparts to dishes. It adds a powerful umami flavor to food.
To make oyster sauce, oysters and their juices are reduced until they form a thick, briny reduction. After that, we season it with salt, soy sauce, and occasionally sugar. The oyster sauce you buy at the store could have added ingredients like preservatives or sugar, depending on where it was made.
Oyster sauce is made from boiled oysters, so there is no risk of thiaminase contamination that could harm your cat. However, you shouldn’t feed it to your cat because it has a high sodium content and may also contain sugar, preservatives, or other flavorings.
Can cats eat oysters in sunflower oil?
Oysters are occasionally preserved in sunflower oil. Cats can safely consume sunflower oil, and it may even have health benefits.
Vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, folate, zinc, and selenium are just some of the minerals found in sunflower oil that your cat can benefit from. It’s a great source of protein as well.
It’s fine to occasionally give your cat a drop or two of sunflower oil. Overfeeding your cat can cause stomach problems.
As a special treat, you can give your cat an oyster canned in sunflower oil provided it does not contain too much salt, sugar, or other additives.
Why are oysters bad for cats?
As was previously mentioned, cats shouldn’t eat oysters because of the enzyme thiaminase found in them. When a cat’s thiamine stores are depleted by thiaminase, the animal is unable to use carbohydrates as an energy source.
A lack of thiamine causes this condition. Anorexia, neurological dysfunction, and death are the results of a thiamine deficiency.
Heavy metals and other pollutants may also be present in raw oysters. Due to their underdeveloped organs, cats are unable to metabolize toxic metals. If they consume too much, they could become very ill.
The Vibrio Vulnificus bacteria, to round things out, may be present in raw oysters. Cats are particularly vulnerable to the food poisoning caused by Vibrio Vulnificus.
One or two raw oysters probably won’t hurt your cat. If you find out that your cat has eaten oysters, keep a close eye on him. If he starts throwing up, acting lethargic, or acting strangely, it’s time to call the vet.
Get in touch with your vet right away if you discover that your cat has eaten a large number of oysters.
Raw Oyster Bacteria
Oysters are frequently eaten raw. Uncooked oysters carry a bacteria called vibrio vulnificus, but their savory flavor and intense aroma will attract cats. This bacterium can cause severe illness in your cat, including vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and even death if it makes its way into the digestive tract.
This bacterium is easily killed by boiling oysters.
If your cat sneaks into your seafood dinner and you were eating raw oysters, you should keep an eye on it. It’s best to see a vet if you observe symptoms of a gastrointestinal infection, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or unusual behavior.
Furthermore, some cats have extreme sensitivities to shellfish. Another potential risk is sensitivity or allergy, as with any protein.
Even though allergic reactions are annoying, this one should go away once the cat stops eating oysters.
Oysters Aren’t All Bad
It’s unfortunate that cats aren’t allowed to enjoy oysters as a treat, but we don’t recommend doing so. Omega-3 fatty acids and a high protein content are just two of the amazing components found in oysters. Oysters have many positive effects on human health. To learn more, click here.
There are perfectly safe foods you can feed your cat that will provide the same health benefits.
What to Do If Your Cat Ate Oysters
If your cat ate a cooked oyster, there’s no need to worry. After observing the cat for a couple of hours, take it to the vet if it shows any signs of distress, including physical pain, anxiety, stomach upset, or an allergic reaction. A trip to the vet will yield specific recommendations tailored to your condition.
However, if your cat is already exhibiting signs of discomfort, you should get them checked out as soon as possible.
What seafood can cats eat?
It’s not recommended that you give your cat a diet heavy in seafood. Raw fish is not healthy for cats despite common belief. Food that has been approved by your veterinarian should make up the bulk of your cat’s diet.
On occasion, however, cats can enjoy a treat of seafood that is safe for them to eat.
The best fish to feed your cat is fish that has been canned in freshwater. Good choices include tuna and sardines in a can. You should know that canned tuna may contain high levels of heavy metals. Sardines are high in both fat and calories.
The fish must be boneless. Your cat could suffocate or choke if they ate even a few small fish bones. Bones can cause obstructions or damage to the cat’s internal organs if they don’t get stuck in the throat.
Most canned and smoked salmon found in stores comes from farmed salmon, which is not good for cats. In order to prevent disease, salmon in captivity are frequently given large doses of antibiotics. They are also subjected to extremely high pollution levels.
Cats can safely eat shrimp that has been thoroughly cleaned and briefly steamed. You shouldn’t feed your cat shrimp without first removing the shrimp’s head, shell, and tail. Clean the shrimp’s veins. In no circumstances should you feed your cat shrimp that has been fried, sautéed in oil, or seasoned. Keep your cat away from raw shrimp.
You shouldn’t feed your cat an excessive amount of shrimp because it’s high in sodium and cholesterol. About half of a jumbo shrimp is the recommended serving size for a medium-sized cat.
Cats can safely eat cooked crab as long as it is served plain. You can feed your cat some crab by taking it out of its shell, cleaning it, and briefly steaming it.
Never feed your cat raw crab because it could make him sick from parasites or bacteria. Never feed your cat crab shell because it can cause serious injury to his mouth, become lodged in his throat, or cause intestinal blockages.
You may be surprised to learn that cats can safely consume imitation crab. Imitation crab is pre-cooked, so there’s no need to cook it before feeding it to your cat.
Imitation crab should be fed very sparingly, as should any of the other items on this list. It’s a poor source of nutrition due to its high carb content.
Cats can safely consume pre-cooked and frozen seafood treats like crab sticks, crab cake, and fish sticks. Crab and fish sticks have a low risk of harboring bacteria.
They are high in sodium and carbohydrates, especially if they are breaded, so they should be fed in moderation like other fish treats.
Cats Oysters: Final Thoughts
Oysters are a delicacy that many felines crave, but they should be consumed with caution and in moderation. They probably won’t feel any ill effects from eating a single cooked oyster if they only ate a tiny amount.