Most cats love to eat fish. In fact, they will walk right up to you should they smell a tin being opened.
The question we do need to ask ourselves is should cats be eating fish? Since it has lots of protein, it should probably be fine, but “should” should never be good enough, as we certainly want what is best for our furry friends.
Today we’ll be taking a look at tuna (both canned and raw), and exploring if it’s a good option to add to your cat’s diet.
Can Cats Eat Tuna?
Yes, cats can eat tuna as it is a good source of protein. However, it should never replace their high-quality cat food, as it does lack some of the minerals and vitamins cats need to thrive.
Tuna is high in both protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are very healthy for cats. In fact, it can often be found in commercial cat food. You shouldn’t overfeed your cat tuna though, as they still need other nutrients that this particular fish lacks.
Don’t think of tuna as a meal replacement, rather than as an occasional snack that your cat will enjoy. Since tuna can also be quite high in heavy metals, mercury in particular, you don’t want to give your cat an amount of tuna that could lead to mercury poisoning. A teaspoon at a time a couple of times a week is all they need.
Can Cats Eat Canned Tuna?
Yes, cats can eat canned tuna, but try to give them the kind that has been preserved in water, not oil or brine, as this will be the healthiest choice.
Canned tuna is a-okay for your cat, but there are a couple of things to consider.
First, cats can’t eat salt as they are highly susceptible to sodium poisoning. Tuna preserved in saltwater (also known as brine) is thus a bad choice.
Cats can eat tuna in oil, but they should definitely eat only a little, and you should drain as much of it as you can. Cats can eat sardines in oil too, but both snacks may give them diarrhea when eaten in quantities that don’t suit them.
Aim for canned tuna that contains nothing but tuna and springwater. Stay away from any flavorings or added sauces, like lemon or pepper.
Can Cats Eat Raw Tuna?
Cats can eat raw tuna, in the sense that it is not toxic to them. It can however be infected with salmonella or E.coli, which will require an emergency trip to the vet.
Raw fish is not the best choice for your pets, as it may contain bacteria that can significantly harm their health. That’s why it is advised that you always cook your cat’s fish (unseasoned and unsalted, on no oil) before giving it to them.
Can I Give My Cat Tuna In Water?
Yes, you can give your cat tuna in water, as long as it is spring water. While a bit of tuna in brine likely won’t harm your cat, they shouldn’t be eating too much salt.
Canned tuna in water is the best option to give to your cat (unless you buy it fresh and cook it yourself). Spring water is better than saltwater though, as the salt content may make your cat sick.
Can Cats Eat Tuna Every Day?
You shouldn’t give your cat tuna every day, as it can be high in mercury which is toxic in higher quantities.
The best diet for your cat will revolve around high-quality cat food, with the occasional addition of human food. Tuna, while healthy, poses a danger if fed every day as it can cause mercury buildup in a cat’s body which is highly toxic and dangerous.
Can Cats Eat Canned Starkist Tuna?
Yes, cats can eat canned Starkist tuna. Just make sure you don’t replace their quality cat food with it, as they still need the minerals and vitamins it contains.
Starkist tuna is conserved in water, so it’s a good choice for your cat.
What Kind of Tuna Can Cats Eat?
Cats can eat both fresh cooked tuna, as well as tuna canned in spring water. You can also give them a bit of tuna canned in oil, as long as it’s olive or sunflower.
The best choice for your cat is tuna canned in spring water. Don’t give your cat tuna canned in saltwater, as they can get sodium poisoning.
Make sure the tuna is plain and not seasoned with any specific flavorings, and especially that it does not contain any garlic or onion.
Tuna in oil can also be an option, but bear in mind that too much oil can cause diarrhea in a cat, so you may want to stick with the water option.
Don’t give your cat raw funa, rather cook it for them with no seasoning. This will kill all bacteria and parasites that may be living in it.
Also, to avoid a tuna overdose and potential mercury poisoning, make sure to also consider how much tuna your cat is already eating. If their cat food is tuna-based, you might want to go for a different snack. Cats can eat raw chicken, so you might want to try that.
How Much Tuna Can I Feed My Cat?
One teaspoon of tuna a couple of times a week is enough for your cat. While they may be interested in eating more, try not to indulge them.
Don’t give your cat an entire can of tuna, and don’t give it to them too often. It’s not a meal replacement.
How Much is Too Much Tuna for My Cat?
Don’t give your cat more than a teaspoon of tuna a couple of times a week. Any more than that and you risk too much mercury building up in their small bodies.
Don’t forget that all the tuna your cat eats should be factored into this equation: if you are giving them tuna cat food, you shouldn’t give them tuna at all. If you are feeding them chicken or beef cat food, an occasional bite of tuna is okay.
Can Tuna Give My Cat Diarrhea?
Tuna preserved in oil can give your cat diarrhea, while tuna in water should not cause any problems, unless your cat has a very sensitive stomach.
You can try giving your cat a bite and observing their reaction. If they like the treat and there are no side effects, you can up their tuna intake to the occasional teaspoon.
The Benefits of Tuna for Cats
Tuna is high in protein, low in carbs, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which improve the quality of a cat’s skin and coat.
Tuna is in fact a staple in a lot of commercial cat foods. When given in moderation, it will improve a cat’s overall health, and positively impact their heart and kidneys.
The protein found in tuna is good for a cat’s growth, and the omega-3s are good for their energy levels and immunity.
Potential Concerns When Giving Tuna to Cats
Too much tuna on a regular basis can lead to mercury poisoning, rob your cat of some of the nutrients they need, cause them to gain weight or make them picky eaters.
Tuna is high in mercury, and eating too much of it can lead to mercury poisoning. The signs to watch out for are loss of balance, walking issues and a lack of coordination.
If you replace some of your cat’s meals with tuna, they may start to suffer from a vitamin deficiency, as they are no longer eating a balanced diet. Cat food is formulated so that it provides all the essential nutrients in just the right amounts, and you don’t want to whack it out of joint.
If you give your cat tuna on top of their regular diet, they will be consuming more calories than they need, and will over time start to gain weight.
If your cat develops a penchant for tuna, they may refuse to eat their regular food. Dealing with a fussy eater can be troublesome, and is best avoided.
How to Give Your Cat Tuna
Don’t give your tuna more than a couple of times a week, and make sure it makes up no more than 10% of their diet. Don’t give them more than a teaspoon at a time.
Since cats can get practically addicted to tuna, reserve it for the occasional surprise treat. The key is not giving them too much, to avoid a buildup of mercury.
Aim to give your cat tuna preserved in water. If you have access to freshly caught tuna, make sure to cook it without any seasoning before serving it up to your feline.
Wrapping It Up
Cats love tuna, so it’s no wonder you want to treat them to it from time to time. As long as you don’t overfeed them, there is no reason your feline shouldn’t indulge in it.