Squid is a relatively popular food in many diets, particularly Mediterranean and Japanese, though calamari is a staple across many menus in North America. And given that most cats like seafood, it’s not a jump to ponder whether cats will also like squid.
(A note about squid: it’s not a fish. Technically speaking, it’s a cephalopod-like octopus. We, humans, lump it all under the broad banner of ‘seafood’, but to a cat, there’s a world of difference between a squid and a trout).
Short answer: In very small, carefully cut pieces, cooked squid is usually safe for cats to eat. We stress very small and very cut up to make sure it’s safe. But being safe doesn’t necessarily mean cats will care about it. Not all seafood is created equal to a cat!
Do Cats Like Cooked Squid?
Unlike seafood like shrimp or salmon, squid is far more polarizing to cats. Some cats will like it, some cats will absolutely hate it. Cooked squid does have a rubbery texture that will likely put off many cats and since they can only have it plain anyway, there may not be much to attract them. Other cats will be very curious about it (especially if they see you eating it) and will try a piece only to like it or never want it again. It really is a toss-up as to whether or not your cat will like your cooked squid.
Do Cats Hate Cooked Squid?
Some cats certainly hate it. This is likely as much a texture thing as anything else – after all, most cats don’t go after rubbery food. It also may not have much of a smell that attracts cats so they just ignore it. Again, it’s a toss-up as to whether your cat will like squid or hate it.
The good news is that cats won’t miss anything nutritionally important if they don’t like squid. It’s best used as an extremely occasional treat that is something to be part of their mealtime.
Can Cooked Squid Kill My Cat?
Squid is contentious for pet owners with some saying to never feed squid to a cat and others saying you can do it safely as long as the squid is well cooked and finely cut. Raw squid is generally a no, but even cooked squid can harm or kill your cat.
First of all, raw squid should be avoided for cats. Raw squid can contain bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. This can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and even organ damage if it’s going on for too long. Raw squid may also cause a breakdown of Thiamine which is a B vitamin that is extremely important for the health of your cat. But when it is broken down, it can cause mobility problems and convulsion.
Fried squid can also be harmful because it contains a lot of oils, seasonings, and garnishes that can make a cat extremely sick (think things like garlic, too much salt, or high-fat oils). The breading on calamari is also not very good for cats to eat and can make them ill.
The best way to let a cat eat squid is boiled and plain or steamed. But even that isn’t foolproof as squid is very rubbery and some cats can have trouble chewing it. This creates a choking hazard. The only way to prevent this is to make sure that you are giving your cat very tiny, very well-cooked pieces of shrimp with absolutely nothing else on them. And they should not be served too often – cats like that like squid may really like squid and you don’t want it to replace their regular diet!
How Much Cooked Squid Can My Cat Eat?
Even if your cat loves squid, it’s still not something you want to give out too freely. If nothing else, squid isn’t exactly cheap!
In order to prevent choking (and a love of squid that dwarfs other foods), you shouldn’t feed your cat more than a tablespoon or so and it should very finely cut and well cooked. It’s also not something cats should have daily (if nothing else, that would get quite expensive for you!) Some people will give their cat a small bit of their squid once it’s all cooked up and leave it at that. As long as you’re not letting your cat have too much, too often, and it’s properly cooked, your cat should be ok.
Dried squid is in the same category. You don’t have to worry about harmful bacteria with dried squid, but it’s still not something you want to let your cat have too often or it may take over their regular diet. Dried squid in high quantities can also cause a thiamine breakdown with all of the associated side effects.
Health Benefits of Cooked Squid for a Cat
Although squid falls 100% in the category of a very occasional treat, there is still a bit of a health benefit to be derived from it. The main benefit is zinc, which squid is very high in. Zinc is an important mineral for cats as it promotes healthy skin and fur and is an important part of the reproductive function of female cats.
Too much zinc can lead to zinc poisoning which causes issues like shaking, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even death, but eating a small piece of squid now and then is unlikely to elicit this response.
However, that’s about all for health benefits meaning that if your cat doesn’t like squid, they probably won’t miss much.
Kittens should not have squid at all as it does nothing for them and they are likely to choke on it.
Squid is not something that cats would run across in the wild, so it makes sense that it is also not something they would be particularly attracted to or derive much nutritional value from. Squid can be an enjoyable treat for some cats, but it also carries risks ranging from foodborne bacteria and illness to choking and thiamine breakdown.
It’s definitely not something your cat should have too often, and it should always be plain cooked with no seasonings or oil. If your cat does like it, add it to the roster of treats and serve sparingly. If not, don’t worry since cats really don’t need squid to be healthy.
Does your cat like cooked squid?