Cats love fish, right? And cartoons often depict a cat with a fishbone in paw and licking her lips! But that does not mean that they should eat it all the time, and before you jump in headfirst with the kitty salmon consumption, there are a few things that you need to know about your feline and this fish.
The quick answer is yes, cats can eat salmon, but only in moderation. While salmon is known to be beneficial for us humans for a variety of reasons, too much salmon can be harmful to your cat. And cats cannot eat all types of salmon, so you need to read this guide first.
With so much information available online, it is often hard to know exactly what the truth is and what information is a little fishy, so here in this guide, we will set the record straight.
Can Cats Eat Salmon?
Cats can eat salmon but they cannot eat all types of salmon, and they should not eat too much of it, either. The reason that cats go wild for fish is because of its strong smell, and if you’ve ever started preparing a fishy dinner for yourself, you’ve probably found your kitty not too far away.
Salmon will not provide your cat with all the nutrients that she needs, so salmon should never be the main protein source in her diet, nor should it replace her meals completely. Ideally, feeding your kitty one salmon meal a week, or a sprinkling of salmon over her usual meal twice or three times a week would be beneficial, but it should never be more than 15% of her total diet.
If you would rather use it as a treat instead, then a pinch of salmon once a day will show her how much she means to you, and she will go wild for it. But do not go overboard with the salmon because she might become accustomed to it and she won’t want anything but …
But Not All Cats Can Eat Salmon!
You might be surprised to learn that fish allergies in cats are quite common. For this reason, if you are feeding your cat salmon for the first time, be sure to feed her just one bite and watch her across 24 hours for any side effects.
The most common symptoms of food allergies in cats are itchy skin, eyes, paws or tail, and sneezing. If it is a more serious allergy, then she may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or trouble breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, speak to your veterinarian immediately, and it goes without saying, do not feed her salmon again.
If nothing happens, then it is very likely that you have just found her new favorite snack! So, let’s take a look at the different types of salmon that she can eat, as well as the ones that she can’t.
Cooked Salmon Only Please
This is the only type of salmon that cats can eat. So, cook it up as you would for yourself (plain, of course!) and ensure that it is cooked through and that all of the bones are removed. Cats can even eat the skin, again, if cooked properly. Just make sure that it is cooked through and flakey.
Remember, don’t feed her any salmon scraps off your plate because you might just forget that sweet chili sauce, and that will not go down well!
Now to take a look as to why cats can’t eat other types of salmon…
Unfortunately, whilst this would be the most convenient way to feed your kitty salmon, but canned salmon is not good for cats. Not only is it full of sodium, it is also full of other additives that will be harmful to her digestive system.
This is also a big no, with any kind of fish or meat! Raw salmon, whilst very tasty for us, can contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, and cause food poisoning in your kitty. For this reason, it always needs to be cooked.
Raw salmon also contains a high concentrate of enzymes called thiaminase, which destroys the thiamine in her body and leads to a vitamin B1 deficiency, which can be fatal. When you cook the salmon, it destroys the enzyme, and in turn, protects the all-important thiamine.
Taurine deficiency is a common health concern in cats, and unfortunately, many cat owners think that because raw salmon contains taurine, it is good to feed to your cat, but this is a myth. Not only is raw salmon harmful, but if you are feeding your cat raw fish for this reason, you should know that there is more taurine in cooked chicken than there is raw salmon.
Just like canned salmon, smoked salmon contains a high concentrate of sodium that will make her very ill. It is estimated that in every 100g of smoked salmon there is 600 – 1,200mg of salt, which is very dangerous to cats, so you must not feed your kitty smoked salmon.
Eating a little bit of salmon as a treat once or twice a week is not only great for her taste buds, but it also has a variety of nutritional benefits.
Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are beneficial for a whole bunch of reasons. Not only will they nourish her skin from the inside out, and make her coat super healthy and glossy, but they also aid in the development and functioning of her brain and eye health. They also help her body to absorb certain nutrients and vitamins, so they keep her healthy too.
It also helps to support bones and joints, and with all that jumping cats need as much joint support they can get. Additionally, arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid, and it is essential for felines, and salmon is a great source of this.
Unlike other needed nutrients, cats cannot produce their own vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin. Salmon contains a good amount of vitamin B12, and it is beneficial for her immune system, nervous system, cognitive function, and it also supports a healthy gut flora.
Cats have a higher requirement for vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, compared to most other animals because they are known to have a high protein requirement, and vitamin B6 helps to absorb fat and protein.
Salmon, like most things in life, is best eaten in moderation. It has a lot of health benefits for your kitty, such as a healthy coat, support for eye and cognitive function, vitamin absorption as well as supporting bones and joints.
Be sure that you don’t feed your cat too much salmon, because in addition to all the reasons outlined above, she might become seriously stubborn for it, and we all know our kitties could do without the extra sass.