Yes, cats can eat mussels once in a while.
Mussels are bivalve mollusks commonly found in saltwater and freshwater habitats. They are a seafood delicacy contained within elongated and asymmetrical shells. There are about 17 species of mussel that are consumable. These are prepared through boiling, steaming, roasting, or frying in butter or oil.
Just like prawn and shrimp, cat owners can give their feline pets mussels once in a while as long as they are prepared correctly. This means that they should be served cooked and without any seasonings.
Raw mussels have the enzyme thiaminase, which can cause thiamine deficiency in cats. Moreover, raw mussels may contain pathogens or parasites that can cause food poisoning. Vomiting, diarrhea, shock or collapse, twitching and fitting, salivation, difficulty in breathing, depression or coma, skin inflammation or swelling, and changes in urinating, drinking, and appetite are common signs of food poisoning.
How to feed mussels to your cat: Some cats are allergic to seafood, so serve her a very small portion of cooked mussel and observe her reaction over the next 24 hours. More importantly, get your veterinarian’s approval before adding it to your cat’s diet.
Be sure to get fresh mussels from trusted sources. Run each shell over water, and scrub it clean. Debeard the mussels. Soak them in water for about 15 to 20 minutes so they expel sand before cooking in water. Let them cool. Take them out of the shell and discard the shells properly to prevent accidental choking or blockage. Chop the mussel into smaller pieces before serving it to your cat.
In summary: Mussels are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that may benefit your cat. However, as an obligate carnivore that needs animal meat to thrive, mussels will not provide her with the essential nutrients she needs on a daily basis.
Aside from mussels, learn which human foods you can safely feed your pet cat through our “can cats eat” blog category.