Any cat owner will tell you that most pet food brands don’t have enough fiber or nutrients to support a healthy lifestyle.
If your feline has a sensitive stomach, it might have trouble eating processed meals, whether wet or dry.
As a supplement, seaweed is a viable option for humans, but can cats eat seaweed?
Seaweed might be the perfect addition to improve your cat’s gut health, fur sheen, and dental care.
Let’s talk about the health benefits, how to feed seaweed to your cat, and why you should consider it.
Can Cats Eat Seaweed?
Yes, cats can eat seaweed, and many cats love it.
The fish oils, iodine, and minerals in the seaweed allure several types of critters like pets and farm animals.
Very few types of human food are desirable or beneficial for cats.
Thankfully, seaweed is easy for cats to digest and has many notable health benefits too.
Most cats won’t eat seaweed in large quantities, and vet scientists recommend limiting their daily intake.
Sprinkling as little as 65 milligrams into their meal each day is enough to reap the benefits.
As a supplemental food, this dried algae snack is excellent for cats to enjoy.
Should Cats Eat Seaweed?
While it’s true that cats can eat seaweed, should they?
Yes, they should!
The macro-algae has a plethora of health benefits for cats as well as humans.
From improving their metabolism and stomach health to thickening their fur, many veterinarians laud the benefits of adding seaweed to a cat’s diet.
What Type of Cats Should Eat Seaweed?
Any cat could benefit from the nutritional advantages of seaweed, but veterinarians may suggest it for pets with certain conditions.
Pets with weak or damaged skin or fur follicles should eat seaweed for its healing properties.
The food can also boost your cat’s health on the inside since it contains plenty of fiber and antacids.
Let’s talk about how seaweed benefits these cat types in more detail.
Cats With Sensitive Skin
Seaweed contains many helpful minerals that help the body produce collagen.
Collagen is a protein our bodies make to strengthen our skin, hair follicles, joints, and more.
It also makes the outside of our bodies more resilient to infection.
However, this isn’t limited to just people. Your cat can also reap the benefits of collagen through seaweed!
Cats with sensitive skin may be prone to infections that cause discomfort.
Adding seaweed to the animal’s diet can improve its resilience and help cure sensitive skin.
Cats Who Need a Health Boost
Seaweed absorbs many types of minerals while it soaks in the ocean.
After it’s cured and dried, it retains most of those helpful substances like vitamins A, C, and E.
Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, too, which cats need in moderation.
So if your cat needs a health boost, this nutritious macro-algae may help its recovery.
Cats Who Don’t Get Enough Fiber
Fiber is an essential compound for intestinal health.
A cat’s body–like ours–is full of good bacteria that work to improve gut health.
A high dosage of daily fiber coincides with better intestinal wellness for both people and cats.
Seaweed is an excellent source of fiber, often containing more than most fruits and vegetables.
How do you know if your cat doesn’t have enough fiber?
It may struggle to use the restroom or not use it often enough.
Diarrhea and obesity might also point toward a fiber deficiency.
If you aren’t sure, it’s always best to ask your vet after watching your pet’s behavior.
Types of Seaweed To Feed Your Cat
Seaweed is a blanket term for many kinds of macro-algae that come from the ocean.
As a result, there’s a lot more seaweed variety than most people expect.
So which kinds suit a cat’s diet best?
Let’s look at seven of the top choices and their benefits.
1. Acadian Sea Kelp
Acadian kelp is great for animals of all sizes.
Each package contains nutrient-rich Ascophyllum nodosum, a variety of seaweed from the northern Atlantic Ocean.
The prebiotics in the mixture aid gut health in animals.
A small serving of Acadian Kelp for your cats each day will help them grow healthier inside and out.
Dulse seaweed is a popular snack, often dried and packaged.
The seaweed comes from the coastlines along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Any package of dulse contains the vitamins, iodine, and antacids of other seaweed types.
It also contains cesium, a chemical known to combat cancers in the body.
3. Irish Moss
Irish Moss is a type of red seaweed that grows on the rocky, Atlantic coasts of North America and Europe.
This variety turns jelly-like when wet, allowing you to feed it to your cat in either dried or gelatin form.
Irish Moss is a heart-healthy option to bolster your cat’s diet from time to time.
Nori is an especially popular type of dried seaweed used in Japanese cuisine for rice balls, sushi, and other treats.
It contains a ton of calcium as well as several vitamins your body needs.
Fortunately, it is just as effective for your feline friends.
Sheets of nori are so widespread that most major retailers stock them, making them a convenient option for your cat’s health.
Kombu is another favorite East Asian kelp packaged either in sheets or long dried strips.
It is commonly found in soup stock.
Kombu contains many of the same vitamins and minerals of other varieties, including iodine, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
This seaweed can ease digestion and intestinal discomfort, making it excellent for cats with sensitive stomachs.
Wakame completes the trifecta of popular East Asian seaweed types.
This kelp is native to cold Northwest Pacific coasts and has a different texture and flavor than other seaweeds.
Like the others, it’s packed with minerals, vitamins, and benefits like lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
Your cat can also benefit from a small dose of wakame each day.
7. Sea Lettuce
Sea lettuce is the most global and widespread variety of seaweed.
B12, magnesium, and calcium are some of its health perks, and it is easy to find in dried, packaged form.
Try tearing off small pieces for your cat’s food or feeding it directly.
Benefits of Using Seaweed in Cat Food
Seaweed is not only widely available, but the minerals in it aid a plethora of health problems in human and feline bodies.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the benefits of kelp for your cat.
Seaweed contains a good amount of fiber, which helps improve gut health in animals.
The fiber, while not digestible, becomes a food source in the body for bacteria that protect the stomach and intestines.
Seaweed is a fantastic source of fiber while also including other helpful minerals.
Improved Coat Sheen
The minerals in seaweed help the body produce collagen, which is a protein that strengthens the skin and hair.
As a result, kelp is linked to thicker, more beautiful coats in dogs, cats, and farm animals.
Having a thicker coat also means more resilience against infection.
Less Free Radical Damage
Free radicals are substances that can cause chronic health problems and cancers.
Many types of seaweed are known to inhibit cancer cells.
As a result, a little bit of seaweed in a cat’s diet could defend against the free radicals that cause cancers throughout the body.
Helps With Itchy Skin
The same collagen that strengthens your cat’s fur will also create a protective barrier on the skin.
The barrier defends against infections that cause itching and skin sensitivity.
The minerals in seaweed help both human and feline bodies produce more collagen.
One type of seaweed, Ascophyllum nodosum, contains an enzyme called Bacillus licheniformis, which removes plaque from teeth.
Many dental dog treats contain seaweed for this reason, but cats can reap the benefits too.
Safe on Sensitive Stomachs
Seaweed is incredibly easy to digest, even for cats.
It contains a little bit of fiber, but not enough to cause indigestion-related issues.
The fiber also helps cats feel full, which helps to prevent the stomach problems overeating causes.
Cats Love It
Many users across Reddit and YouTube have noticed their cats’ love for various seaweed types.
They may be drawn to the scent and taste due to the ocean minerals and fish oils in the kelp.
Regardless, not many cats turn their noses up at the dried snack.
How Can You Safely Give Seaweed to Your Cat?
There are many ways to give your cat seaweed but take caution.
Following a few of these general rules will make the feeding process safer for them.
Buy Human-Grade Seaweed
Only buy seaweed that is safe for humans to eat.
Wet, locally-sourced seaweed may contain too much iodine for cats.
Dried, packaged varieties are cured and ideal for pets.
Check the Ingredients
Be careful when shopping for cat-friendly seaweed.
Some brands or packages include extras like high-fructose corn syrup or trans fats.
In addition, since seaweed soaks in the ocean, it can potentially still contain heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic in trace amounts.
Cured, organic kelp tends to have negligible amounts of these metals, making them safest.
Get Plain Seaweed
Many seaweed flavors are salted or flavored.
While the flavor gives it more of a punch, it incurs extra sugars, salt, and calories for your cat.
Plain, unflavored seaweed is the best option to ensure this healthy snack stays beneficial.
Finally, don’t give your cat too much seaweed.
They are small animals, so they don’t need a heaping portion to reap the benefits.
At most, seaweed should make up about 0.25% of a cat’s dry matter intake (DMI) daily.
For a common housecat, that averages at around 65 milligrams.
Administer the dosage at one meal or divide it among several throughout the day.
How To Serve Your Cat Seaweed
How to serve your cat seaweed depends on how picky they are.
Some cats will eat sheets of nori just as they are.
Others will turn their nose up at it, leading you to sprinkle bits of it in their dry food.
Ultimately, either way works for your pet’s nutrition.
I advise against adding big clumps of seaweed to wet food, as it could create an unpleasant texture for your pet.
However, if you chop or tear the seaweed finely enough, you can mix it stealthily into wet food.
Now you know all there is to know about the benefits of seaweed for cats.
A small serving of kelp each day can improve your cat’s health, defend it against cancers, and increase its beauty.
As always, if you are unsure about feeding your cat seaweed, please ask a veterinary specialist for help.
Also, please feel free to comment on this article if you have any questions or concerns.