Ever since you were a child watching cartoons, it has always been shown that cats love to eat fish. You see the cats watching the pet fish in his tank and plotting to catch its dinner in the cartoon. It’s nature’s way, right? Cats eat fish, simple as that!
Cats are born predators and love to chase small, moving objects, so it’s natural that they should eat fish. But, is this really true or do we just think cats should eat fish? Let’s check the facts and set the record straight.
Experts have told us that fish is an excellent source of protein and Omega 3s for our bodies and our diets. There are plenty of fish in the sea so to speak, so we have a wide variety of selection when determining which to eat. Along with variety of fish available, there are several preparations – raw like sushi, fried like fish and chips, grilled, baked, etc. The list goes on and on.
What about our furry feline friends? Should they enjoy the fish and are there any restrictions to consider?
What Does Fish Contain?
Fish provides excellent nutritional value with large amounts of protein and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and D. Protein is easily digestible. However, fish also contains a lot of iodine and other chemicals such as mercury and magnesium.
Things To Consider About Fish…and Cats
Many people are probably not aware that fish is a highly allergenic food for felines. Cats that eat allergenic foods over and over can end up with lung inflammation leading to asthma.
Fish fed in high amounts can also lead to thiamine (a form of Vitamin B) deficiency, which can cause loss of appetite, seizures, and even death.
Cats are not meant to consume large amounts of iodine, which can lead to hyperthyroidism. There’s also been a link established between pop-top cans or canned cat food and hyperthyroidism.
Let’s not forget the magnesium content in fish has been linked to urinary tract diseases in cats. A diet overloaded with the mineral magnesium can trigger magnesium ammonium phosphate crystals in your cat. Crystals are a big problem for many cats.
You think your cat craves fish? Cats have a tendency to become addicted to any protein they consume exclusively, like fish and chicken.
So, Can Cats Eat Fish?
Fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to your pet’s well being. If you supplement your pet’s diet with fish, you should consider sardines packed in water. Sardines don’t live long enough to absorb and store toxins in their bodies.
Feeding wild caught salmon in rotation with other proteins is also an excellent way to get those Omega 3s.
Be sure to limit any fish-based commercial pet food, as there may be more added ingredients that could be harmful to your cat.
Like any other ingredient, fish should be given as part of a balanced diet. There is evidence that fish does have good vitamins for your cat when fed in moderation.