Is It Okay to Feed Cats Tuna?
So, the verdict is in: and milk is out—at least as a regular part of your kitty’s healthy diet. But can you feed your cat tuna?
Everyone knows about the relationship with cats and fish (that is, our kitties love fish, and fish probably aren’t too fond of cats), but is it safe to pop open a can of tuna when you’re looking for a good kitty treat?
The short answer is: yes, you can feed your cat tuna, but not too often, and not too much!
Need more information about cat nutrition? Contact the team at Germantown Vet!
Benefits of Tuna for Cats
Wet, protein-rich foods are typically a really great idea for pets. It not only keeps meal time interesting for them, but also provides numerous nutritional benefits. Foods like tuna can provide high-quality protein, needed moisture (dry-food only diets often leave cats dehydrated), and nutritional diversity that can effectively supplement their normal diet.
Having said all of this, feeding your cat tuna should be done as an occasional, heavily portion-controlled treat and not a meal staple. Part of this is because of the dangers tuna specifically presents, which we will discuss more below.
The other reason to give your cat tuna sparingly is that depending on any single source of food for your pet can lead to malnourishment. There’s a lot of nutritional benefits of tuna, but you want your cat to have a well-rounded diet.
Typically the best diet for your cat is a mixture of healthy food sources. Combinations of canned wet cat food (ones with meat as the primary ingredient and minimal grain), dry cat food, and some safe veggies (spinach, catnip, finely chopped cooked carrots—no onions or mushrooms!) are all great and can lead to a healthy weight and activity level.
How Much is Too Much Tuna for My Cat?
While (to your kitten’s never-ending joy) tuna is safe in occasional doses, you also don’t want to have too much tuna in their diet. Canned fish products have the potential for higher mercury levels than other fish products, which means an excess of tuna can lead to mercury poisoning if it builds up too much.
With this in mind, tuna should be presented as a treat, but a rare one. The high sodium content is also worth noting, but again, is only really a concern when you overfeed tuna to your kitty.
If the mercury concerns you too much, you can also use alternatives like freshly cooked cod. Just make sure it’s warm, not hot. Burned kitty mouths are sad and could require care from a veterinarian.
No Raw Fish!
So, so many times we’ve seen talks about how cats would eat meat raw in the wild, so they should eat it raw normally, too. We’ve even seen medical resources saying it. This is not okay.
Any raw meat you feed your cat has been processed, frozen, or otherwise handled, and that means it can be contaminated. Unless you’re butchering your own chickens or feeding them fish directly from the pond, cook it first!
Cat Nutrition & Health with Germantown Vet in Maryland
Remember that feeding your pet with healthy practices in mind is the key to a happy, healthy cat, dog, ferret, hamster, or any pet! Interested in learning more about what’s good for your cat and what’s not? We post routinely on nutritional topics on our blog.
Have more questions about cat care or nutrition? Contact us online!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the portion size that I can give my cat?
A small amount of tuna is okay to give to your cat in moderation. Tuna should serve as a rare treat in a cat’s diet and not a primary source of food.
Should I give my cat tinned or fresh tuna?
If you’re going to feed your cat canned tuna, choose tuna that’s in water, as opposed to oil or tuna that’s mixed in with other flavorings. If you choose fresh tuna, be sure that it’s cooked! Raw fish isn’t okay to feed to a cat.
Should I consult with my veterinarian before feeding my cat tuna?
It’s a good idea to speak with your veterinarian before starting any new diet or giving your cats new food. At the end of the day, tuna should make up 10% of your cat’s daily calories.
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*Extractions and antibiotics are additional if necessary.
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