Last Updated on: September 21, 2020
Can cats eat tuna? On the face of it you would think yes, cats enjoy fish therefore feeding your cat tuna would be good for them. However, as is always the case when feeding your cat foods from your own dish, you have to be careful. While cats can eat tuna, it should be done in moderation as too much tuna is bad for your cat’s health.
Let’s take a look…
Can Cats Eat Tuna? – The Precautions
So why should tuna be given to your cat in small amounts?
The fact is, if tuna makes up too large a part of your cat’s diet, they could be missing out on essential vitamins such as vitamin E. This, in turn, can lead to malnutrition, and the onset of a condition called steatitic, (also known as a yellow fat disease). This causes inflammation of your cat’s fatty tissues and can be very painful.
Furthermore, tuna, especially the canned variety, contains a lot of mercury. This is a hazard of fish that are higher on the food chain and feed off smaller fish. Mercury builds up in the tuna’s body and is transferred to your cat upon ingestion.
Tuna is also high in fatty acids and magnesium. While these oils (along with omega-3) are great for us humans, they have very little nutritional benefit for cats.
Too much tuna in a cat’s diet can also lead to a problem where the cat grows too fond of it. Tuna is full of flavor and is enjoyable food for your cat. This adds to the notion that tuna is best placed as a treat, rather than part of a staple diet.
Can Cats Eat Canned Tuna Fish – Extra Precautions
While all tuna fish meat can cause the issues we have covered above, one must take extra special care with canned tuna as:
- Canned tuna can vary in quality
- Canned tuna comes with flavorings and preservative oils that can be bad for your cat
Cats and Canned Tuna Quality
Commercial tuna can range in quality, with a low range of fish generally being more detrimental to your cat’s health. It is these kinds of products that are more likely to be packed with cheap oil or brine.
Cats and Canned Tuna Ingredients
As well as the fatty oils and brine not being good for your cat, extra ingredients such as spices, tomato flavorings etc, are sometimes mixed into canned tuna. (This is a way of fleshing out the can with cheaper ingredients rather than actual fish meat). Again, these should be avoided as much as possible.
Healthy Tuna Cat Food
Many cat food brands have tuna as the main ingredient. However, Fussie Cat Tuna and Salmon Formula come highly recommended.
This wet cat food is crammed with vitamins as well as the amino acid taurine, which is essential to cats.
A small amount of tuna for your cat, whether it expensive fresh tuna or the cheaper canned variety (either for humans or as tinned cat food), is not going to harm your feline friend. In fact, the protein hit will be good for them.
However, stay away from the exotic ingredients and nasty oils and, as always don’t make a habit of feeding your cat one type of food.
A healthy balanced diet equals a healthy, happy cat after all.
Feature Image Credit: WaitForLight, Shutterstock
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.