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Can Cats Eat Scallops? What You Need to Know!

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

fresh scallops

Scallops are often considered a delicacy for many people due to their cost and availability. They are also packed full of flavorful goodness that may leave your cat staring at you and meowing for a bite. But is it safe for your cat to share your scallops with you? Are scallops good for cats? Here’s everything you need to know about giving scallops to your cat.

Can Cats Eat Scallops?

Yes, scallops are a non toxic food that is safe for cats to eat.

However, cats should only be given fully cooked scallops.

Raw scallops carry a high risk of salmonella, as well as other unpleasantries, like parasites. It’s important to make sure any scallops you offer to your cat are fully cooked and not expired. If you think they smell off and you’re planning to offer them to your cat since you aren’t going to eat them, you should reconsider your decision as this can do far more harm to your cat than good.

raw scallops on a plate
Image Credit: MYCCF, Pixabay

Are Scallops Good for Cats?

When offered in moderation, scallops are a very healthy addition to your cat’s diet. Scallops are a good source of lean protein and healthy fats, primarily omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of vitamin B12, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, copper, iodine, and choline. These are essential nutrients for cats, making cooked scallops a good choice.

Raw scallops contain thiaminase, an enzyme that can break down thiamine (vitamin B1) and keep it from being absorbed by the body, which can cause a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine deficiency in cats can lead to dangerous symptoms like seizures and convulsions.

Raw scallops can also lead to food-borne illnesses, like salmonella and E. coli. Some sources claim that humans can safely eat raw scallops, but the sourcing and handling of the scallops play a huge part in the safety of this dish. To keep your cat safe, it’s best to avoid offering raw scallops no matter what.

cooked scallops
Image Credit: LAWJR, Pixabay

How Many Scallops Can I Give My Cat?

You should not offer scallops to your cat more than once or twice weekly. Although they are nutrient-dense, there are better food options for your cat that contain all necessary nutrients for your cat’s health.

A few bite-sized pieces of scallop meat are all your cat really needs. Keep in mind that cats are much smaller than people, so they have far lower calorie needs. A single scallop contains approximately 35 calories, which accounts for 10% or more of the daily caloric need of most cats.

It’s also important to keep in mind that scallops are filter feeders that consume microparticles from the water and filter through large amounts of water per day relative to their small size. This makes them at risk for accumulating heavy metals within their tissues, including lead, mercury, cadmium, and even arsenic. If fed in large quantities, heavy metals can build up in the body over time, leading to serious illness and even death. Farmed scallops are at a lower risk of accumulating heavy metals than wild-caught scallops are.

In Conclusion

Scallops can be a yummy treat to offer to your cat. They should only be offered in small quantities and as a treat, not a primary protein in your cat’s diet. Cooking the scallops is necessary to ensure the safety of your cat. Raw scallops can lead to your cat suffering from a thiamine deficiency or food-borne illness.

They are rich in multiple nutrients and are a great source of lean protein and omega fatty acids, which can support your cat’s brain, eye, skin, coat, muscle, and joint health. They are a good source of multiple vitamins and minerals essential to a cat’s health, and they are a flavorful treat that will leave your kitty coming back for more.

Limit your cat’s scallop intake to once or twice weekly, though, and only feed small quantities at a time. Make sure to talk to your cat’s vet about their daily calorie needs. This can help you determine how many calories of treats your cat can have in a day without leading to weight gain over time.

Scallops may be a wonderful addition to a rotation of treats you offer to your cat. Keep in mind that they can be pricey and difficult to come by, so using them as part of a rotation of treats will save you money and keep you from accidentally overfeeding scallops to your cat. Also, anytime a new food is introduced to your cat there is always a risk that it does not agree with their stomach and causes gastrointestinal upset like vomiting or diarrhea.


Featured Image Credit: meineresterampe, Pixabay

Brooke Billingsley

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Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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