Can Cats Eat Imitation Crab? (When it Can Be Toxic)



Imitation crab mimics the taste, texture, and color of real crab meat so people can enjoy the crab-like meat at a fraction of the cost.


Cats are drawn to the strong smells of fish, so you may be wondering if it’s safe to share imitation crab with your cat when they’re begging you for a bite.


Let’s find out.





Cats can eat imitation crab meat, as the ingredients aren’t toxic to cats, however, it’s not beneficial to feed it to your cat and it may even cause some health issues.


Imitation crab meat is typically made from surimi; a paste made by grinding up different types of fish and adding ingredients that make it seem like it’s real crab. It’s sort of like the hot dog of seafood.


It’s lower in fat, protein, and sodium than real crab meat, but is also lower in nutrients. It’s higher in carbs and has several other additives to give it the taste, texture, and color of real crab meat; most of which shouldn’t be consumed by a cat.





There are several ingredients in imitation crab meat, and that are often mixed with it, that aren’t ideal for your cat to eat. The following are reasons you should err on the side of caution and not feed the “meat” to your cat.


1 – SALT

Cats are likely getting their dietary sodium requirements from the cat food. Any additional salt in their diet can lead to dehydration. If your cat consumes too much salt, it can become toxic. Salt is added to imitation crab meat for flavor, but it contains too much sodium for your cat.



There isn’t a lot of sugar in imitation crab meat and sugar isn’t toxic to your cat. However, it isn’t beneficial to your cat and can lead to weight gain. The sugar and lack of fiber can spike blood sugar levels, which can cause health issues if your cat is diabetic.



Some form of starch (potato, wheat, corn, tapioca) is used in imitation crab meat to help firm up the surimi. Starches also increase blood sugar levels and can lead to weight gain (source). When your cat’s pancreas must work overtime to remove the excess glucose from the blood, it can become damaged and lead to diabetes.



Imitation crab meat is high in phosphorus and a study has found that a high phosphorus intake can damage kidney function in healthy cats.



A variety of ingredients can be used to create imitation crab meat, none of which are ideal for a human to eat, let alone a cat. There are gums to stabilize the “meat”, red colorants (which may come from bugs), MSG to enhance the flavor, and preservatives to extend the shelf life.



Although imitation crab meat isn’t made from real crab, it can contain crab extract and it is made from fish. Cats can have fish allergies and may experience itchy and inflamed skin, respiratory and/or gastrointestinal symptoms.



If you’re eating imitation crab, it’s likely part of a dish. It’s often used to make crab salad, crab dips, crab cakes, etc. These types of dishes can contain ingredients that are unhealthy, or even toxic to cats.


The main ingredients to be aware of are alliums; onions, garlic, chives, leeks, scallions, and shallots. They may be used fresh or in dehydrated or powdered form; all of which are toxic to cats.


Other ingredients, such a mayonnaise, are not toxic to your cat, but can contribute to weight gain, which can have several negative impacts on your cat’s health.


Be aware of any other ingredients mixed with the imitation crab meat before feeding it to your cat. Or, stay on the safe side and don’t feed your cat any imitation crab meat.





Cats can eat cooked crab as a treat once and a while, however, it’s not an ideal treat as crabs are often contaminated with heavy metals. These heavy metals can build up in their bodies ane lead to heavy metal poisoning.


Be sure your cat isn’t allergic to seafood before you start feeding them crab meat as an occasional treat. If your cat has a fish allergy, they’ll experience similar symptoms as when humans have mild allergic reactions. Those symptoms may be itchy and inflamed skin. They may also experience respiratory and/or gastrointestinal symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms.


Raw crab meat shouldn’t be fed to cats as it can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites and can give your cat food poisoning.


Never give a cat crab meat still inside the shells, or without all of the shells removed. The sharp shells can cause damage to your cat’s digestive tract, or worse yet, a create a blockage. If you think your cat has ingested crab shells, contact your veterinarian.





Your cat may be attracted to your sushi and have you wondering if you can share a little with them. However, you shouldn’t share your California roll with them for all the reasons you shouldn’t feed your cat imitation crab meat, and more.


Rice is a carb and a plant protein, both of which aren’t ideal for a cat’s diet. Cats should eat a low-carb diet and their digestive systems were meant to break down animal proteins, not plant proteins. Eating rice, especially on a regular basis can lead to weight gain, and may even cause stomach upset. Avocados are also a plant protein, which is harder for your cat to digest.



I hope this article has helped answer the question: can cats eat imitation crab?