It’s been a belief that most of us have also taken on; that cats love fish and that they go great together. You see it in commercials, TV, movies, and even in cartoons. But have you ever wondered why cats like fish?
Cats like fish because they evolved with mankind, who caught and prepared the fish throughout time.
Therefore, the cats have acclimated to the same taste for fish as humans have. Also, cats are opportunistic eaters and will eat everything readily else that’s available, especially fish, because they love the smell.
In this article, we will talk a bit more about why cats love fish and what fish is and is not okay to feed them.
That way, your furry feline friend can enjoy their favorite foods, including their seemingly favorite creature of the sea.
Why Do Cats Like Fish?
Cats have been glorified in movies and stories for doing whatever to get that treasured fish and then devouring it whole, bones and all!
You might be shocked to learn that not all cats enjoy seafood. Yes, some cats aren’t fond of fish.
Cats Love Fish Due To Their Evolution
Although the so-called domestication of cats is said to have begun in the Middle Eastern deserts some 10,000 years ago, cats started to prefer fish when they were first attracted to the houses of ancient Egyptians who frequently served fish.
Also, because of their co-evolution with mankind, cats have discovered that they may easily indulge in the fish captured by men and save energy by not having to hunt.
Cats Eat Everything
Cats are famous for devouring whatever source of food is easily accessible in their environment, including food given to them by people such as fish bones, leftovers, and waste found on roadways and in trash cans.
Cats Love The Smell Of Fish
Cats’ sense of smell is 9 to 11 times stronger than yours or ours, even though they have about 470 tastebuds and have limited ability when it comes to smell and taste.
Even so, cats seem to be attracted to strong aromas, including fish. This draws up their curiosity, naturally, so they want to taste it and continue exploring the smell.
Animals can be weird sometimes; thankfully, most fish aren’t dangerous to cats.
Some Cats Hate Fish
Several animal owners have stated that their cats do not eat fish. Whether a cat likes fish or not is dependent on the food preferences of each cat.
It’s also possible that some cats haven’t been exposed to fish-based cuisine before.
Some pet owners report that their creatures will not eat salmon or tuna, while others say that their cats love pork or chicken products as opposed to fish.
Just as cats have their personalities as humans do, they also have their own preferences, which means some may love fish while others don’t. Or, some may be carnivores, while others might hate meat.
What Types Of Fish Are Safe For Your Cat?
If your cat isn’t allergic to fish, you can feed it to him. Tuna and salmon are the most recommended types of fish to eat since they are high in Omega-3 and fatty acids. These fish, on the other hand, contain a lot of mercury.
Smaller fish, such as flounder, halibut, and cod, are safer for cats to eat since they contain less mercury. Because of the high sodium concentration in canned salmon, take extra precautions when serving this type.
Advantages Of Fish For Your Feline
- Plenty of Protein: Protein is necessary for cats’ health because it maintains tissues, pH balance and generates energy.
- Source of Taurine: Taurine is a type of amino acid that regulates heart rate, eyesight, reproduction, and metabolism.
- Healthy Fatty Acids: To keep the cat’s coat healthy and shiny, they need a good amount of omega-three fatty acids, which can be found in abundance in fish. It helps with tons of different health ailments such as arthritis, IBD, asthma, and inflammation, it helps lower the risk of cancer.
How Often Can Your Cat Eat Fish?
According to cat experts, you should only feed your cat’s fish 2 to 3 times each week.
This is because, in addition to taurine and protein, which are key nutrients for cats, fish also contains thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks down thiamine, or Vitamin B1, which is an important part of a cat’s dietary needs.
If your cat does not get enough thiamine, it can weaken its central nervous system and ultimately result in death.
However, fish typically contains mercury, which is hazardous to cats in considerable amounts and can cause urinary tract infection (UTI) and hyperthyroidism.
Therefore, the experts believe a happy medium to be two to three times a week. Any less than that can result in deficiencies while any more than that can raise the risk of mercury toxicity.
Cats Should Only Eat Fish In Moderation
Cats should only be given fish in moderation because the latter contains heavy metals and toxins such as flame-retardant chemicals and mercury.
These toxins could cause a thyroid disorder which may lead to muscle wasting, excessive metabolism, and even death. Also, farmed fish are heavily treated with antibiotics that remain in the fish’s flesh.
Can Cats Eat Canned Tuna?
Though cats enjoy tuna, canned tuna is not suggested for ingestion since it lacks critical minerals such as calcium, fat-soluble vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that cats require.
Vitamin E deficiency has been linked to oil-preserved tuna, leading to steatites, a painful inflammatory illness. Tuna is also renowned for having high amounts of harmful mercury and selenium.
In conclusion, canned tuna is not the healthiest supper for your cat, but it can be a tasty treat on rare occasions.
Can Cats Be Allergic to Fish?
Cats develop allergies and can have allergic reactions just as people can. In fact, fish is one of the top three allergens that exist in a cat’s diet.
When your cat is allergic to fish, it’s usually because the histamine in the fish causes a sensitive and sometimes allergic reaction from the cat.
Signs Of A Seafood Allergy In Cats
There are several signs to keep an eye out for if you think your cat may be allergic to seafood. Some of these symptoms include:
- Swelling of the skin
- Losing fur or bald patches around your cat’s body
- Excessive scratching
- Lower urinary tract issues
If you notice any of these issues, then your cat should be seen by a vet immediately. That way, it can get the treatment it needs.
Tips For Feeding Your Cat Fish
- When cooked, low-mercury species such as cod, wild salmon, tilapia, sole, and crustaceans are excellent alternatives.
- Look for small fish like sardines, herrings, and anchovies preserved whole in water as canned alternatives. Anything preserved in oil or with extra additives should be kept out of the house.
- Feed premium brand foods. When shopping for retail cat food, look for premium brands that use high-quality, natural ingredients sourced from reputable sources
- 15% of your cat’s diet or less should be from fish
- When cooking fish, it’s best to save as much of the nutritional benefit as possible. To do that with fish, you will need to boil or grill it.
Precautions When Feeding Fish To Your Cat
Cats should not eat any type of fish or any food that has been fried, smoked, or packaged. Also, they should not eat any fish fingers, as all these types of foods can make them very sick.
- No seasonings. Do not add any seasonings or flavorings to your cat’s fish, as they can be dangerous to your feline friend if they are ingested.
- Feed a variety of food. Fish will not cover all the nutrient needs of your cat. The fatty and amino acids like taurine are great for his or her health, but the minerals like calcium, sodium, and iron are insufficient.
- In addition to mercury, thiaminase is a lethal toxin found in fish. Though it takes a lot of food and a long time to establish a deficiency, it destroys thiamine and vitamin B1, which are essential for the nervous system’s health.
- If your cat ate too many fish, it could cause urinary tract disease, hyperthyroidism, and inflammatory bowel disease. It’s important to know that if your male cat ends up with a UTD, it can be fatal to them.
- Excess iodine intake and bisphenol-A exposure can cause hyperthyroidism (typically found in canned pet food).
- Fish meals typically contain the preservative ethoxyquin, which has been linked to animal health issues. Natural preservatives are preferable to artificial preservatives.
Do cats prefer meat or fish?
You can offer your cat either one to see what they prefer if it’s not made with any grease, oils, or seasonings.
You can feed your cat either wet or dry food. And keep in mind that while many cats love fish, it’s not suitable for daily eating.
What fish do cats love the most?
While salmon and tuna are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, they are also high in mercury. That’s not to say that your cat cannot enjoy them, but they should be used sparingly.
A better choice for your feline would be flounder, anchovies, or halibut, as these aren’t so high in mercury but are still a significant source of the healthy fatty acids needed for your cat’s health.
What meat should you never feed your cat?
You should never give your cat raw eggs, meat, or fish, as this can cause food poisoning due to the bacteria that they contain.
Also, the raw fish will destroy the thiamine your cat needs. This can lead to a severe neurological problem, ad end in a coma or death.
Heather is an animal lover that has many of them herself. She currently has her Blue Nose Staffy named Bootsie, but she’s catered to many animals over the years including guinea pigs, alpacas, cockatiels, cockatoos, bunnies, chinchillas, hedgehogs, and more. She believes that knowledge should be the foundation of caring for any pet.