Why Do Cats Like Fish?

Cats can be picky eaters, but almost all respond immediately to the smell of fish. But why do cats like fish anyway? Is this even a well-suited type of meat for your cat? And what kind of fish is best for cats? We’ll tell you about your cat’s fascination with fish, the best fish to feed it, and the risk factors around fish meals.

Trigg eating out of the BOB Pet Bowl by PetPet Studios

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Why do cats like the smell of fish?

The smell of fish is always alluring for cats because it is one of the most intense meat smells. While the scent of fish usually makes us cover our noses, it drives cats wild because, unlike humans, who are omnivores, cats are carnivores. This makes the smell of meat much more attractive to them.

Fish meals are rich in protein, omega-3, taurine, and other essential nutrients for cats. This is why there are so many options for professional diet food for cats based on fish meat. It is a type of meat that cats respond quickly to and can meet their dietary requirements.

Trigg eating Eden Foods Bonito Flakes

Do cats hunt fish?

While cats typically hunt on land, they will also resort to fishing to feed if the opportunity presents itself. Cats are decent swimmers, but they will not venture into deep waters. But they will undoubtedly seize the opportunity if they can reach fish easily, close to land.

Is feeding fish to your cat a good idea?

Yes, feeding fish to your cat can be a good idea, but it all depends on the quality of the fish, the cooking process, and, of course, the quantity. As long as you keep the correct dietary boundaries in mind, fish is an excellent source of protein.

Ragdoll Cat Trigg Eating Canned Wet Food Out of PawNosh Glass Pet Bowls on WooPet Pet Food Mat P1010454

There is one major exception, though. Some cats are allergic to fish, and if this is the case for your cat, removing fish from their diet is best. This includes professional diets based on fish, treats, or other supplements that might consist of fish.

Also, because of the mercury and other toxins in our oceans, many cat owners like to avoid giving their cats fish.

How can I tell if my cat is allergic to fish?

Fish allergies in cats usually manifest with dermatological symptoms. For example, you might notice small red areas on the cat’s body (usually on their backs and necks) and where the fur has fallen off.

This may even be an open wound, with slight bleeding, because of intense scratching. You may also notice that your cat has a runny nose and watery eyes. You should take your cat to the veterinarian if this is the case.

Trigg eating from Loving Pets Bella Bowl Compassionate Valentine Red Hearts

The lesions need to be disinfected and dressed to prevent complications such as local or systemic infections. It is also mandatory that the fish be removed immediately from the cat’s diet because this is the allergen that entertains the allergic reaction.

What fish is best for cats?

There is plenty of fish that you can buy, but not all of them are suited for your cat. To choose a suitable type of fish, there are some essential things that you have to keep in mind:

Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Food - Rabbit and Lamb Ragdoll Cat Charlie Eating

The fat in the fish

High-fat fish is not a proper meal for your cat because it might have difficulties digesting a large amount of fat.

Feeding your cat high-fat fish such as butterfish might cause them indigestion. You will know this if your cat vomits, has diarrhea, is not alert, appears sleepy and defocused, and refuses to move.

Your best options are low- and medium-fat fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, herring, or sardines. These are rich in protein and taurine, and they will provide your cat with healthy nutrients in a form that they can digest quickly.

Where the fish comes from

Where the fish is caught, what the fish is fed, and what waters the fish comes from. For example, you should avoid feeding your cat freshly-caught fish from sweet waters and ponds because it might bear parasites and bacteria that will get your cat sick.

It is best to stick to commercial fish because it comes from fish farms, where it is grown in proper conditions and, most importantly, gets a safety warranty.

Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Food - Mackerel and Lamb Ragdoll Cat Trigg Eating 3

How the fish is cooked

Feeding your cat raw fish should only be done in small quantities. While wild cats feed on raw meat from their hunt, the digestive system of the household cat has adapted over the years, and eating raw meat (fish included) in more significant quantities could be unhealthy for them.

The solution is to feed your cat cooked fish, which is much easier for them to digest. Please note that this does not include fried or smoked fish or any cooking that involves oil or additives. Products like fish fingers, fish sticks, or breaded fish are out of the question.

Your best choices are boiling or grilling the fish if you have it raw. A much easier solution is to buy canned fish. However, avoiding canned fish preserved in oil would be best because this could lead to indigestion. Instead, you can purchase either fish in its juices or water.

Charlie eating wet food

Can cats eat canned tuna?

Yes, they can. Tuna is the most commonly available canned fish and is a good choice for your cat. Canned tuna in its juices or water is a good treat for your cat. You should purchase smaller cans rather than larger ones, so the fish is always fresh. Even the smallest can is too large for one serving, so you should store the rest in plastic.

Are there professional cat food diets based on fish?

Yes, there are. There are plenty of professional diets for your cat based on fish meat because it is a very healthy type of meat. Most of them are made with salmon, tuna, and cod. Depending on your cat’s dietary requirements, you can choose the best food for it.

Does your cat like fish? What type of fish do you feed your cat? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Karen Guthrie says:

    Our Mulsanne eats fish primarily and only occasionally eats meat.
    Fish has just always been his preference and agreeable with his gut.
    He’s offered a small meal of canned cat food fish or meat twice daily with a bit of water added, and has a back up of quality dry food available to him.
    He’s of proper weight, and at 10 years old, no dental issues.
    Daily he gets wet Friskies, Paws or Weruva BFF and dry Blue Buffalo salmon.
    It’s kept him very healthy and satisfied and active.

  2. SUPER PAWESOME & FABULOUS post, Jenny honey! Wonderful topic & info! TYSVM! 🙂 <3

    Miss PSB lurves Bonito Flakes & her Salmon wet food but that's about it for fish for her. Everything else is chicken, turkey or liver, etc… 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

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