Cats usually love to eat all kinds of fish, sardines included. There are of course also cats that simply don’t like it, and that would prefer to stick to their wet and dry cat food.
On paper, sardines seem like a great meal option for our furry feline friends. After all, cats need to eat a lot of meat, and fish is meat. Can cats eat sardines in oil though? What about tomato sauce? And, most importantly, how many sardines can a cat have in a day?
Can Cats Eat Sardines?
Cats can certainly eat sardines, as they are packed with both protein and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc and selenium that will help a cat stay healthy.
Sardines are a very healthy fish, for humans and cats alike. The minerals they contain will make a cat’s coat shiny and soft, and they will also maintain their internal organs healthy.
The one thing to watch out for is added sodium, as well as soy and corn content in the canned sardines you plan on giving your cat which could be bad for them.
Remember that sardines are also very high in fat, so giving too many of them to your pet can lead to obesity.
Can Kittens Eat Sardines?
Kittens can eat one or two sardines a week, as long as they have been either stored in water or purchased fresh. Make sure to de-bone them as well.
Sardines are just as healthy for kittens as they are for adult cats. In fact, since kittens need about twice the nutrients adult cats do, sardines can help them grow into thriving and fit felines.
Limit your kitten’s sardine consumption to two a week at the most. Sardines are high in both fat and calories, and the last thing you want is for your kitten to start putting on some extra weight.
Remove the sardine bones too. Adult cats will have no trouble chewing through these soft skeletons, but kittens don’t have that strong a bite yet, and their teeth are still too small to handle them.
Can Diabetic Cats Eat Sardines?
Diabetic cats should also be able to eat sardines, but to be perfectly safe, make sure to consult your vet first.
Sardines are full of protein and very healthy minerals. They also have much less carbs than the processed cat food you are giving your diabetic cat. As such, they should be a perfectly healthy meal.
Is It OK to Feed Cats Canned Sardines?
Cats can eat canned sardines, as long as they have been preserved in sunflower oil, olive oil or water. Don’t give your cat canned sardines in brine or those with tomato sauce.
Canned sardines are the most readily available kind, and they are certainly a very good choice for your cat. When buying canned sardines specifically for your pet, make sure they have been preserved in water or oil, and that there is no added sodium in them. Look for the plainest ones you can find, with no seasoning or added flavor.
Also refrain from purchasing canned sardines that have a lot of soy or corn added, as neither are a good choice for your feline.
Can Cats Eat Canned Sardines in Oil?
Yes, cats can eat canned sardines in oil. Sunflower and olive oil are not toxic to cats, but do bear in mind that large quantities of oil may cause diarrhea.
When giving you cat sardines that have been preserved in oil, make sure to drain them. A lot of oil on a regular basis will ultimately cause your cat to gain some weight, so the more of it you remove, the better. You don’t have to wash the sardines though, as a bit of oil is okay, as long as you monitor how much your cat eats in general.
Some cats don’t tolerate oil well, so you may see them vomiting or having diarrhea if you give them sardines in oil too often.
Can Cats Eat Raw Sardines?
You shouldn’t give your cat raw sardines, as they may be full of heavy metals that can be harmful to your cat. If you buy sardines raw, cook them before serving them to your cat.
All raw fish can be high in different metals due to the contamination of their natural habitat. You may never know where a specific sardine has come from, and how bad it can be when served raw.
Raw sardines may also contain harmful bacteria, that will however be killed at high temperatures.
To be on the safe side, cook your cat’s sardines for them (no seasoning though, and definitely no salt!).
Can Cats Eat Sardines in Brine?
Cats shouldn’t eat sardines in brine, as it’s essentially just salt water, and salt is toxic to cats. Choose sardines that have been preserved in oil instead.
Cats can’t eat salt, as they are highly susceptible to sodium poisoning, which can lead to symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, tremors and seizures, and even death.
Don’t give your cat sardines that have been stored in brine, even if you wash them first. There are plenty of other types of canned sardines that come with no risks.
Can Cats Eat Sardines in Water?
Cats can eat sardines preserved in water (as long as it is not salt water). Look for the kind that comes with no added salt, seasoning or spices.
Sardines in water can be the best choice for your cat, especially if they are as plain as possible, and come with none of the ingredients we use to make food taste better for humans, but that can actually be harmful for cats.
Can Cats Eat Frozen Sardines?
Cats can eat frozen sardines, but some might prefer to eat them mushed up in a paste or at least thawed. Make sure they are not too cold before giving them to your cat.
Eating extremely cold sardines can upset your cat’s stomach, so try to bring them closer to room temperature. They will start to get mushy though, so you can then turn them into a paste (with no added ingredients), and serve them to your cat like that.
Can Cats Eat Sardines in Tomato Sauce?
Cats can eat sardines in tomato sauce, although they don’t actually need the sauce. You can rinse them first as well.
Cats are carnivores, so they don’t need to eat tomatoes to thrive. However, since tomatoes are not bad for them, they can eat sardines in tomato sauce. They may not enjoy the taste all that much though, so you can rinse the sauce off.
How Many Sardines Can I Give My Cat?
Don’t give your cat more than 1 or 2 sardines per week. If you want to feed them more sardines, make sure to adjust their regular diet to avoid overfeeding them.
Sardines are very healthy, and most cats love eating them. However, since they are also high in healthy fats (especially if you use sardines canned in oil), they can make your cat overweight when not eaten in moderation.
If your cat loves sardines, you can replace one of their regular meals with them. Ask your vet for advice on how best to adjust your cat’s caloric intake and meal balance.
Try to feed them small portions still, as cats can get hiccups when they eat too fast or too much, so you don’t want to upset their digestion with a large portion of sardines, no matter how healthy they are.
Are Sardines Good for Cats?
Sardines are very good for cats, as they contain lots of protein and plenty of minerals that will keep a cat heatly.
One of the reasons sardines are good for cats is their omega-3 content, which promotes all kinds of vital processes in a cat’s body. It can reduce their risk of developing cancer, keep their heart healthy, and improve their mental health.
Sardines are also high in calcium that is great for a cat’s bone and joint health.
Can Sardines Be Bad for Cats?
There are several things to be mindful of about sardines. While they are certainly a very healthy meal, eating too many of them can prove to be harmful. Here’s why:
Diarrhea from the Oil
When cats eat too much oily food, they can develop diarrhea. Feeding them one too many sardines can thus lead to this unpleasant side effect.
Choking on the Bones
Smaller cats and kittens may have trouble chewing the bones found in sardines. You can remove them for your cat, to be on the safe side. Most cats will eat around the larger bones, but some won’t even know the bone is there and may choke, so try to keep an eye on them when giving them sardines.
Potential Mercury Poisoning
Sardines may contain mercury, which will in large quantities affect a cat’s internal organs. Eating one or two sardines a week is highly unlikely to expose them to too much mercury though, so try not to exceed this amount.
Potential Heavy Metal Poisoning
Sardines may also contain various other heavy metals. Limiting your cat’s sardine consumption will make sure they don’t have a chance of accumulating too much metal in their small bodies.
Potential Salmonella Infection
Sardines may also contain salmonella. If you notice your cat is vomiting, has diarrhea or is otherwise ill and you have been giving them lots of sardines, take them to the vet to rule out this bacterial infection.
Risk of Obesity
Sardines are naturally high in fat. While these are good fats, they can still cause your cat to gain unnecessary weight unless eaten in moderation.
How To Prepare Sardines For Your Cat
Try to give your cat sardines that have been preserved in water. You can chop them up into small pieces and serve them to your cat that way, or throw them into the food processor and make a tasty paste.
Remember not to add any seasoning and especially any salt to the paste. You can use it to top up your cat’s regular wet food, or give it to them instead of their regular meal. It will mostly come down to your cat’s preferences.
Remove most of the bones just to be safe, and remember not to give your cat more than one sardine a week.
Wrapping It Up
Sardines are a great choice for cats, as they are high in healthy minerals and the protein cats need to thrive. Make sure not to give too many to your cat though, as they can also make them put on unwanted weight.