If there is a food that is associated with cats, it is, along with milk, fish. So it is not at all strange that keepers offer it often, even if the cat’s diet is a commercial food.
Cats can eat fish, but there are some considerations to take into account to take advantage of its benefits and avoid its drawbacks. Below we explain the role of fish in the cat’s diet, recommended amounts and benefits.
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There are different types of fish, but they all have in common being an excellent source of proteins, amino acids and essential fatty acids, vitamins, such as A or D, and minerals, such as phosphorus, magnesium or iodine in sea fish .
We distinguish the so-called white fish, among which we find, for example, sole, bream, hake or monkfish. Another type of fish is known as blue, which includes mackerel, salmon, sardines, swordfish or tuna.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 from fish
A fundamental component of fish are essential fatty acids. They are essential because the body is not capable of producing them , so it is essential to ingest them with food.
Perhaps by the name of fatty acids we do not recognize them, but if we talk about omega 3, surely we have heard or read about its benefits. Especially to achieve a better coat, healthy skin or the maintenance of brain function in older cats. In addition, it contributes to good neurological development.
Omega 3 is found in greater quantity in oily fish. It is also known as DHA. Another fatty acid that must be measured in combination with omega 3 is omega 6, which can also be found in fish.
Fish in the cat’s diet
Fish is included in the balanced diet that a cat has to consume. But this cannot just consist of fish. Domestic cats are carnivores. What’s more, on a theoretical level they are considered strict carnivores. This means that your diet must necessarily contain meat .
This characteristic does not imply that they cannot eat other foods of both animal and vegetable origin. The main ingredient in their diet is animal protein, mainly from meat or, to a lesser extent, from fish. In nature, cats mainly hunt rodents and birds. The consumption of fish would be very occasional.
Fish for the cat’s home diet
If we do not want to give fish only as a reward, but we want to feed our cat with fish as part of a homemade diet, we must contact an expert in feline nutrition to help us develop a balanced menu.
The particular characteristics of each cat must be taken into account to adapt the diet to their nutritional needs. We cannot just give him a plate of fish every day . In this way we would only get a poorly fed cat that, over time, would end up presenting health problems.
How to give fish to a cat
We can cook the fish in various ways to offer it to the cat. The best options are steamed, grilled or baked. You do not have to add salt or any type of sauces or seasonings . It is also not a good idea to give pickled or marinated fish. It is better to give the fish without bones.
The softer or smaller spines do not usually cause problems, but the larger ones are capable of digging in and causing perforations in the mouth, throat or any other point of the digestive tract. If we opt for raw fish, it must have been previously frozen.
In this way, parasites such as anisakis, responsible for important digestive disorders, are eliminated. Freezing should be done at a temperature of -20 ºC for 24-48 hours. Another option is to add a good fish oil to the diet. As always, following the expert’s recommendations.
Fish Consumption Warnings
That the cat eat fish is part of a balanced diet. But if you only eat fish or this diet includes only certain fish, it could be harmful to your health. For instance:
- Some larger fish that feed on other fish can accumulate considerable amounts of heavy metals. That is why neither the cat nor we can consume them frequently. This is the case of swordfish or bluefin tuna. The result of an excess would be problems at the neurological level.
- Canned tuna for humans does not contain taurine, an essential amino acid for the cat, of which it will be deficient if it only feeds on this fish. Its lack affects the functioning of vital organs.
- Salmon is very fatty, so it is recommended to consume it in moderation.
- Thiaminase from fish destroys vitamin B1. An excessive consumption of raw fish would produce a deficiency. The consequences are neuromuscular problems. It is avoided with cooking.
My cat can’t eat fish
Some cats may be uncomfortable with fish. If we observe any discomfort after its administration, such as respiratory, dermatological or digestive problems, it is better that we remove it from the diet. It is due to food intolerances or allergies . In this case it can be substituted with other ingredients without problem.