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Can Cats Eat Artificial Crab? (Unforgivable Blunder?)

If you are a fan of artificial crab you may be wondering if it is ok to share with your cat…

Can cats eat artificial crab?

Cats can eat artificial crab. However, it is not ideal. If given, it needs to be in moderation and unseasoned. A large amount of it can be harmful to cats. In particular, the starch in it can play havoc on your cat’s stomach when eaten in large portions. So, if you have a hungry cat, other snack options will be more suitable.

So, now you know. But, is real crab more nutritious? Why is it so popular? Are there any health benefits? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What is Artificial Crab?

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Artificial crab is a mixture of white fish (made into a paste) and starch, which is then shaped to give the appearance of crab. It is also commonly referred to as “crab sticks” or “seafood sticks”.

The most common fish used in artificial crab is Alaskan pollock (also known as the walleye pollock) found in the North Pacific Ocean. This is then mixed with other ingredients to achieve the desired texture and taste. Other ingredients can include:

  • Egg whites
  • Wheat
  • Binding ingredients (for example, transglutaminase)
  • Crab flavoring
  • Food coloring

Nutritional Content of Artificial Crab (Crab sticks)

Source: USDA (per 100g) *

Name Amount Unit
Calories 96 Kcal
Protein 6.14 g
Carbs 15.79 g
Fat 0.88 g
Fiber 0.00 g

* See the source for the full list

Is real crab more nutritious than artificial?

Can cats eat artificial crab?

A crab on a beach.

Real crab is high in vitamin C and magnesium and is comprised entirely of real seafood, whereas artificial crab is only made from 35-50% seafood. This means that it is lower in all nutrients compared to the real thing.

The other ingredients, which make up the remaining 65-50% of imitation crab, typically lack nutrients and any healthy properties. This means that real crab meat will always be more nutritious as it is 100% meat.

Why is artificial crab so popular?

Artificial crab is a popular snack thanks to it being low in both fat and calories. If you’re trying to shift a few extra pounds then it may be the perfect addition to your diet. Additionally, artificial crab is significantly cheaper than its real counterpart and is ready to be eaten without cooking – ideal for those on a budget or in a rush!

Imitation crab also comes in a variety of styles, making it an easy addition to a food or a platter! If you’re in the mood for something fishy, but don’t have the time to cook then it is a really great option for you. It can be bought as any of the following:

  • Flakes/chunks
  • Shredded
  • Sticks

Are there any health benefits of Artificial Crab?

As with most food, there are health benefits. However, these should always be weighed against the health risks when deciding if a food is right for you or your pet. But, here are some benefits:

01. Low in fat & calories

The low fat and low-calorie properties of artificial crab make it a great healthy alternative to the real thing. This can be particularly helpful when you are trying to lose weight, or have to watch what you eat due to a higher risk of a heart attack or increased blood pressure.

Alternatively, if you simply wish to live a healthy lifestyle by watching the amount of fat that you consume this is a good option.

02. Phosphorus

This plays a vital role in maintaining the health of your teeth and bones, as well as supporting healthy heart and nerve functions. The recommended daily amount of phosphorus is 700 milligrams, and 85 grams of imitation crab meat will provide you with 240 milligrams, aiding you quite a bit!

Are there any health risks of Artificial Crab?

Unfortunately, because it is made from a white fish paste, and not actually from crab, many flavorings, coloring, preservatives, and other additives are added to the paste to achieve the desired look and texture. The fish paste is altered, as much as is needed, to create something akin to real crab in all taste aspects.

01. Preservatives and Additives

These preservatives and additives also help to prolong the shelf life of the fake crab meat, whereas fresh, real crab will expire quickly. Although this may be useful if you don’t intend to eat it quickly it is not good for you or your cat!

02. High in sodium

In addition to a lack of nutrients, artificial crab is also very high in sodium. 100 grams of artificial crab contains 35% of your daily sodium! Although the advantage of the snack is its low levels of fat, the sodium easily counters this if you were looking for heart-healthy food. Just a 3 ounce serving of artificial crab contains 715mg of sodium!

The recommended daily intake of sodium, according to Mayclinic.com, is between 1500-2300mg. However, this is, unfortunately, commonly surpassed. Eating more than the recommended amount of sodium increases your risk of high blood pressure, having a stroke, as well as getting kidney disease.

Should you feed your cat Artificial Crab?

You should not feed your cat artificial crab. Although artificial it is not inherently bad for your cat to eat in small doses, it is also not inherently good. There are much better cat food options available that are a good source of nutrients. One option is even real crab meat itself!

Just as with humans the lack of nutrients and the sheer amount of additives in imitation crab meat mean that although it is a tasty snack, it is not the best for the body. Cats are always hungry – even when you’ve just fed them! Just because they beg for more, doesn’t mean it is a good idea. Instead, by choosing other food options you can occasionally give in and dote on them with extra food!

Is Artificial Crab OK for Kittens?

Just as artificial crab meat is unrecommended for cats, it is also not ok for kittens. The lack of nutrients will do nothing to help your little pet grow big and strong. If you are unsure about what to feed to kitten ask your vet for their recommendations or join a pet forum online for detailed answers.

Are there better food alternatives than Artificial Crab for cats?

In contrast to artificial crab meat, real crab meat is a great source of nutrients for your cat! However, please note that it should never be eaten raw and so only buy it for your cat if you have the time to properly prepare it. You don’t want your fluffy bundle of joy to get sick!

Real, unaltered fish is also a great alternative to artificial crab for your cat. Oily fish in particular can help with brain development and eyesight. Types of fish that are actually beneficial to your cat include:

  • Anchovy
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Herring

Meats (what about Italian sausage? click here), both white and red, are also a good source of nutrients for your cat. It seems that the real thing is always better than the artificial when it comes to your beloved pet!

Does Artificial Crab go bad?

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The artificial crab does go bad. However, there is no particular timeframe for the shelf life of imitation crab because different brands have various expirations. Instead, it depends on the storage, brand, and packaging. An easy way to tell if your immitation crab meat has spoiled is to check the expiry date first, then look for discoloration, a strange odor, and/or freezer burn.

Always check the best before date on the packaging to ensure that you do not serve your fluffball anything that could potentially make them ill. If it has any of the signs of spoiling, even if it is still in date, throw it out.

Lindsey Browlingdon