Homemade diets

Can Cats Eat Raw Fish?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. May 13, 2020
Can Cats Eat Raw Fish?

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When we think about a natural feline diet we tend to include fish as it's always been represented in our culture that cats love fish. Although fish oil can provide cats with numerous nutritional benefits, fish as a whole is a different story.

So, can cats eat fish? In this AnimalWised article we will discuss this question as well as elaborate on which fish is safe for cats to eat and how to prepare fish for your cat.

You may also be interested in: Can Dogs Eat Fish?
  1. Can cats eat fish?
  2. Which fish is safe for cats to eat?
  3. How to feed fish to your cat

Can cats eat fish?

Yes, cats can eat fish. However, not all types of fish are safe for cats to eat. You should also be aware on how to prepare the fish for your cat as if not prepared correctly, it can harm your cat. We'll talk more about that in the sections below.

Is fish good for cats?

Nutritionally speaking, fish is high in protein and some provide healthy fats too. These nutritional properties can help a cat remain strong and have a healthy and shiny coat. With that being said, some types of fish can interfere with the absorption of B vitamins. Fish also contains harmful toxins, histamines and heavy metals, making a bad option as a staple in their diet. Raw fish also contains harmful pathogens, which is why it should never be fed to cats. Other human food high in protein, such as eggs, can also be harmful to cats.

In conclusion, cats can eat fish and it can even be beneficial to their diet, but in moderation. It should not be a staple in their diet as excessive fish intake can cause thyroid problems, allergies and vitamin deficiencies. Most veterinarians will prefer feeding cats fish oil supplements instead of actual fish, as it will provide the cat with the nutritional benefits without the harmful consequences. Consult with your veterinarian for more information.

Learn more about harmful food for cats in our article forbidden foods for cats.

Which fish is safe for cats to eat?

Nutritionally speaking, any type of fish could be good for a cat, as long as it isn't given excessively. However, to make sure a fish is safe to eat there are some criteria it must meet. You should not feed your cat:

  • Heavily salted fish
  • Canned fish (contain toxic substances)
  • Smoked fish (high salt content)
  • Marinated fish
  • Non-fresh fish
  • Fish with bones (as they can choke on them)
  • Raw Fish
  • Tune or other oily processed fish

When deciding to occasionally feed your cat fish, make sure it is fresh, good-quality and cooked. Give it to them occasionally, only as a treat. Not as a staple in their diet as it will bring health issues. Learn more about what human food your cat can have in our article about human foods that are not harmful to cats.

Can Cats Eat Raw Fish? - Which fish is safe for cats to eat?

How to feed fish to your cat

When preparing fish for your cat, it must be freshly cooked. Do not give your cat tune or any other canned fish. Make sure to only give them a small portion and that there are no bones. When choosing cat food flavoured with “fish”, watch out for the generic brands that use a hodgepodge of fish and fish by-products, such as bones and scales.

Instead, opt for canned cat food with a single-ingredient list and sustainable farming if possible. This makes sure it's good quality fish that will have good nutritional value for your cat. As well as be less harmful than other fish, such as tuna. We must stress, don't give fish to your cat excessively. Learn more on our article about the best diet for cats.

If you want to read similar articles to Can Cats Eat Raw Fish?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.

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What is the proper way to cook fish for a cat?
Anaëlle Laurent (AnimalWised editor)
The best way would be to bake it. First, make sure the fish doesn't have any bones. Then, wrap it in parchment paper and then in a layer of aluminum foil to hold in the moisture. Don't add spices as it can harm your cat. Lastly, bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender.
steve mccrea
I've been feeding cats raw fish (recently thawed) and I never thought about pathogens. What pathogens are present in raw fish?
Anaëlle Laurent (AnimalWised editor)
Raw fish has many pathogens, the most serious being Vibrio spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia spp., pathogenic Salmonella serovars, and Clostridium botulinum.
This is why it's best to thoroughly cook the fish (and making sure it doesn't have any bones) before feeding it to your cat.
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Can Cats Eat Raw Fish?