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Can Cats Eat Sushi? Everything You Need to Know!

Sushi is a popular food for many people, and since cats are supposed to like fish, it’s not uncommon to wonder if sushi is safe to give your cat. The short answer is yes. Your cat can eat sushi in small amounts, but there are several things to consider before making it a part of your pet’s daily meal. If you like to eat a lot of sushi, keep reading while we go over the pros and cons of sharing it with your pet. We’ll cover nutrition, dangers, and portion size to help you make an educated decision about the safety of this food for your feline.

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Is Sushi Bad For Cats?

Let’s break down this popular dish by ingredients.

Raw Fish

  • Allergies – As strange as it may seem, many cats are allergic to some kinds of fish. It’s one of the most common causes of gastrointestinal problems in cats and can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Allergies can also cause itchy skin and inflammation. Itchy skin can cause overgrooming, leading to hair loss.
  • Parasites – While your cat may very well come running at the smell of raw fish, and they tend to hang out at fishing docks, uncooked fish can contain several parasites that can be dangerous for your cat to ingest.
  • Mercury – It can also contain heavy metals like mercury which can negatively affect the brain, kidneys, and lungs. Larger fish can store more mercury, so they can be more dangerous.
  • PCBs – Many types of fish can contain a high level of PCBs. PCBs are industrial chemicals that come from electrical transformers, plastics, and some lubrication. We’ve stopped using these chemicals, but they persist in the environment and find their way into the water supply and then into the fish. These PCBs can increase the risk of certain cancers and can harm a developing fetus. It doesn’t help to feed your pet farmed fish because these fish often have a diet high in PCBs, and the level can be higher than wild-caught fish.
  • Ethoxyquin – Raw fish contains ethoxyquin is another chemical ingredient that you can find in fish food that can be harmful to cats and even humans. It can cause allergic reactions, arthritis, congestive heart disease, kidney failure, and more. You will find this chemical more often in farmed fish because it’s in the feed. It is no longer in use as of 2017, but it continues to be the environment.
  • Thiaminase – Raw fish also contains thiaminase, which will work to destroy the thiamine in your pet. Thiamine is essential to carbohydrate metabolism in your pet, and without it, your cat can experience serious symptoms, such as seizures, incoordination, falling, dilated pupils, and more.
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Image Credit: Casey Elise Christopher, Shutterstock

Sticky Rice

Your cat is a carnivore and does not require carbohydrates like rice to survive. The rice used in creating sushi is bleached and stripped of its nutrients and is little more than empty calories that will quickly turn into sugar in your pet’s digestive system. Too much sugar can lead to pet obesity, which is a growing problem in America and the rest of the world. Some experts suggest more than 50% of cats in the United States are overweight, affecting their joints, heart, liver, and respiratory system.

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Is Sushi Good For Cats?

There are some benefits to providing your cat sushi. It contains plenty of protein which is essential for energy and muscle growth. Your cat will need more than 50 grams of protein in its meals, so giving them a little extra as a treat can certainly help.

How Can I Feed Sushi To My Cats?

It’s best to avoid feeding your cat sushi. However, there are a few substitutes you can try to help you.

  • Shrimp – Shrimp is seafood that often accompanies sushi and is safe for your cat to consume. Cats like the texture, and ours will often play with it a while before eating.
  • Avocado – Avocado is an ingredient that many people use in sushi, and it is completely safe to give your cat if they enjoy it. To feed your cat avocado, you will need to remove the skin and seed and cut it into small pieces.
  • Seaweed – Seaweed is another ingredient used in sushi, and it’s safe to feed your cat. If you make your sushi fresh, you will likely have some remaining that you can use to treat your pet.
  • Cucumber – You can find a cucumber in many sushi dishes, and this food is also safe to give your cat, but you will need to cut it into very small pieces or place it into a food processor to make it safe to eat. While it’s safe, we found our cats didn’t really like it, but other cats might enjoy it.
Image by: Chonow, Pixabay

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We recommend preventing your cat from eating sushi except in extremely small amounts. If your cat ate some while you weren’t looking, your cat would be fine, but there are too many dangers associated with regular feeding. Instead, we recommend one of the alternatives we suggested. In most cases, you will have some of these ingredients you can spare if you make the sushi in your home.

We hope you have enjoyed reading and found the answers you need. If we have helped put your mind at ease, please share this guide to the safety of feeding your pet sushi on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image: kanami-y, Pixabay