Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Jenny
Cats can be picky eaters, but almost all of them 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’re going to tell you all about your cat’s fascination with fish, the best types of fish to feed it, as well as the risk factors around fish meals.
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 out there. While the smell 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 easily to and also one that can meet their dietary requirements.
Do cats hunt fish?
While cats typically hunt on land, if the opportunity presents itself, they will also resort to fishing in order to feed. Cats are decent swimmers, but they will not venture into deep waters. But if they can reach fish easily, close to land, they will certainly seize the opportunity.
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 in mind the correct dietary boundaries, fish is an excellent source of protein.
There is one major exception, though. Some cats are allergic to fish and, if this is the case for your cat, then it is best to completely remove fish from their diet. This includes professional diets that are based on fish, treats, or any other supplements that might include 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. You might notice small areas on the cat’s body (usually on their backs and necks) that are red and where the fur has fallen off.
This may even get to 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. If this is the case, then you should take your cat to the veterinarian.
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 are plenty of fish that you can buy, but not all of them are suited for your cat. To choose a good type of fish, there are some essential things that you have to keep in mind:
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 indigestions. You will know that this is the case 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 easily.
Where the fish comes from
Where the fish was caught, what the fish has been fed, and what waters the fish came from are important factors to consider. 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.
In fact, it is best to stick to commercial fish because this comes from fish farms, where it is grown in proper conditions, and, most importantly, where it also gets a safety warranty.
How the fish was 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 larger 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, nor any type of 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. You should avoid canned fish preserved in oil because this could lead to indigestion. You can buy either fish in its own juices or in water.
Can cats eat canned tuna?
Yes, they can. Tuna is the most commonly available canned fish and it is a good choice for your cat. Canned tuna in its own juices or water is a good treat for your cat. You should purchase smaller can rather than larger ones so that the fish is always fresh. Even the smallest can is too large for one serving, so you should store the rest in a plastic
Are there professional cat food diets based on fish?
Yes, there are. There are plenty of professional diets for your cat which are 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.