The ocean boasts some of the most diverse life on the planet. From awe-inspiring plants to dangerously intriguing animals, most things that come from the sea can look rather alien-like in appearance. On top of this, many of these things can also be considered superfoods and are packed with a variety of vitamins and nutrients. One such ocean-sourced food is seaweed, which is an algae that has become a delicacy around the globe. With all of its human uses, can cats eat seaweed?
Is Seaweed Safe For Cats?
Generally speaking, seaweed is a food that is safe for cats to eat in moderation. As a major group of “plants”, there are many different types of seaweed that cats can and cannot eat. Some of the most common types of seaweeds that are safe for cats include:
For most cats, you will want to feed them either fresh or rehydrated seaweed, as that is the safest option!
How to Feed Seaweed to Your Cat
It may come as a surprise, but cats tend to be very interested in seaweed. Check out this adorable TikTok video of a couple cats going after a sheet of seaweed together.
Before you begin to integrate seaweed into your cat’s diet, it is always best to get your veterinarian’s opinion. They have the most knowledge about what is best for your specific cat, and can guide you to look for the best seaweed products that will work for your cat.
Most seaweeds that come in the store are sold in dehydrated options, which is great for storage and use on human-friendly foods. Unfortunately, dried seaweed can pose a risk to cats if ingested too frequently or in large amounts.
When choosing your seaweed, try to pick something that doesn’t have any additives. Certain additional ingredients, such as sesame seeds or garlic, can be irritating or even toxic to our feline friends!
Thus, most recommend rehydrating your seaweed by soaking it in water before you feed it to your cat. After this, you can begin to give the seaweed to your cat in small amounts, making sure to start slow.
Voila, that’s it! Feeding seaweed to your cat is as easy as this.
There are a few major things you should keep in mind when feeding your cat seaweed. Here’s a summary of the most important things to remember:
- Stick to plain seaweed products: products with additives can be toxic or irritating to your cat’s digestive system.
- Rehydrate your seaweed: dry seaweed can cause problems with your cat’s normal digestion.
- Start small: begin feeding your cat seaweed in small amounts. If they enjoy it as a food, you can increase it and make it a regular part of their diet.
- Use seaweed sparingly: everyone loves a treat, but having too many treats every day can lead to some bad health consequences. The same stands for your cat, so use seaweed as a sporadic treat rather than a regular staple of their daily food intake.
Are There Dangers to Feeding Your Cat Seaweed?
I mentioned there are some things about seaweed that can pose a risk to your kitty. So let’s take a look at some of the major risks that you should keep in mind.
One major risk associated with seaweed is bloating. Dried seaweed tends to expand when it comes into contact with the water and moisture in your cat’s stomach. Enough dry seaweed can expand to much for your kitty to handle, causing bloating, indigestion, and intestinal blockages.
For this reason, it is recommended to soak your seaweed (rehydrate it) before giving it to your cat!
As you can probably guess, seaweed can be a pretty salty food. Introducing too much salt into our pet’s diet can cause nutritional issues and digestive issues. By rehydrating your seaweed and limiting how much you give to your cat, you can ensure that you will not be giving your cat too much salt.
Toxins and Metals
Seaweed also tends to soak up heavy metals and toxins from its natural environment. Ingestion of these compounds can put your cat’s health at risk. Thus, it is usually recommended to source your seaweed from a reputable company rather than wild harvesting or purchasing cheaper options.
Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Seaweed
In addition to its minor risks, there are also some major benefits when it comes to feeding your cat seaweed. Firstly, they are a great source of natural omega fats that are beneficial for your feline pal. Sources of fats such as this are few and far between, which means seaweed can be a great addition to your cat’s diet.
Seaweed is also extremely high in vitamins, proteins, and relatively digestible nutrients. In small amounts, seaweed can pack a superfood punch into your cat’s diet, otherwise bolstering the normal food that you would supply!