Although fish is not a natural part of a cat’s diet, almost every cat parent carelessly feeds it to their feline friend that gladly munches on it. Similarly, cats love to eat fish and do not shy away from displaying their unconditional appetite for it, thus leaving cat parents helpless as all they want to do is keep their pet as content as possible.
This could be due to many manufacturers offering food products based on fish for cats, which almost blurs the line between how much and what type of fish is okay for a cat to eat and which ones are not.
While it is tempting to provide fish for cats, canned fish is not necessarily good for their health and might even threaten their well-being.
So if you are wondering if you should get fish for cats and what type of fish is suitable, then keep reading this article as it will answer all of your questions.
Can Cats Eat Fish?
Cats are obligated carnivores, so they can eat fish as they rely on meat-based diets to fulfill their need for protein. Cats require a good amount of dietary water, which they usually obtain from the flesh foods they eat, so fish for cats is recommended to ensure they get enough protein and water.
However, cat owners should beware of potential fish allergies in their cats. Since this type of allergy can be fatal if left untreated, it is best for cat owners to understand the symptoms and treatment of fish allergies in cats.
What About Raw Fish?
In simple words, cats should not eat raw fish. Cats cannot digest carbohydrates very well, and raw fish is rich in carbohydrates; thus, it can be harmful.
Moreover, raw fish can be infected with bacteria and parasites that can be very dangerous for your cat’s health. That being said, there are a few types of raw fish for cats that your kitty can enjoy. These include:
Canned tuna is okay for your cat to feast on, but straight-up raw tuna should be avoided. Ensure to feed it in small amounts as tuna contains high amounts of mercury which is harmful to your cat.
This is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 beneficial for your cat’s health. They are small oily fish with low amounts of mercury and are quite nutritional for your cat.
Cats do not have many sources of vitamin D, and salmon can supply them with just that, even a canned one. It also carries the lowest amount of mercury. Thus you can let your kitty enjoy a good amount of it.
Commercial Cat Food and Fish
Generally speaking, the fish used in commercial cat food is not of the highest quality and is usually thrown from leftovers and fish unsuitable for human consumption.
However, some premium cat food brands certified by food authorities can be considered up to par when it comes to fish for cats.
Can Cats Eat Shellfish?
Cats are not great at digesting shellfish, but that is not to say that you can’t feed it to your cat.
After all, a slight change in diet from time to time may entertain your cat as eating shellfish is not particularly harmful to them so long as you feed it in small amounts.
Can Cats Eat Squid and Octopus?
Squids and octopuses are rich in nutrients and are considered beneficial for cats. They are a great source of iron and copper zinc that can boost cats’ health and well-being when regularly given in small amounts.
It is worth mentioning that these treats should be given when they are the freshest. Because this ensures your cat gets the highest quality of food and prevents your cat from rejecting it, which leads to a waste of money.
There are a handful of health benefits that fish oils provide to your cat. As a great source of omega-three fatty acids, they are beneficial for your cat’s mental and physical health, such as improving its skin and coat and providing better joint mobility and cognitive function.
Aside from that, fish oil also contains vitamin D and A, as well as high amounts of protein.
Mercury in Fishes
Along with the benefits of fish for cats, there are also some risks attached. Some types of fish contain very high levels of mercury, which can lead to serious health problems for your cat, such as kidney damage.
Therefore, it is imperative to be mindful of how much mercury there is in the fish you buy.
Fish farms generally draw parallel with factory farming, where fishes are kept in crowded ponds excessively polluted with pesticides and other contaminants.
In addition to that, these fishes are also fed with antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease. This is why wild-caught fishes are much more preferred and recommended.
Although not all types of fish are safe for cats to eat, there are many options available. Salmon, tuna, and cod are generally the most common fish for cats and should be fed after the bones have been taken out. They typically contain the lowest amount of mercury and good nutritional values. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to buying fish for cats, you generally want to follow the thumb rule of strictly looking for sustainably caught wild fish instead of farmed fish. If you, unfortunately, can’t get your hands on wild-caught fish, then try to look for a sustainably farmed fish.
Also, be aware of purchasing fish that contains high amounts of mercury that can be very harmful to your cat.