Can Cats Eat Salmon? Is It A Superfood For Felines Too?
Salmon has been touted as a healthy food. And it really is! It not only has a lot of healthy nutrients but it has the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated “good fats”. As long as it’s not cooked up with heavy, fattening oils, salmon can be considered a heart healthy food. It’s full of vitamins and protein.
People dealing with stress and depression may be recommended to eat some of this tasty and nutritious brain food. Because it raises the responses toward insulin, diabetics are recommended to have an occasional serving.
Cats and Fish
Cats certainly seem to like fish of all kinds. Bobcats in the wild have been known to catch salmon in shallow streams. Jaguars and Siberian tigers aren’t afraid to get a little wet if it means fish. There’s an old Chinese folktale about a young cat who learns that he must be patient and learn to focus if he wants fish.
You may have noticed that just the smell of fish is enough to drive your furry, four-footed friend into a frenzy. While cats in the wild normally would not eat a deep sea fish like tuna, a fish like salmon that swims in freshwater rivers and streams in order to spawn might wind up in the jaws of a cunning carnivore.
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Would this superfood be safe to give to your cat? And all those proteins and vitamins look like they would be good for a cat too. You can feed your cat salmon on occasion, but there are details to consider.
Cats should not eat raw fish of any kind. Even if you decide to feed your cat salmon skin it should be well cooked. Raw meat can be contaminated with E. coli and salmonella. There are enzymes in raw fish that destroy the thiamin and other B vitamins your cat needs.
Some fish carry parasites that can be passed to your cat if eaten raw. In any case, remove the bones so your cat doesn’t choke on them.
Canned salmon usually has too much salt to be safe for your cat to eat. Your average cat needs only about 21 milligrams of salt per day. Canned cat food that’s been flavored with salmon, but do make sure to read that label.
Too much salt can lead to hypernatremia, an imbalance of electrolytes. This can lead to spasms and seizures as the brain cells shrink. (Let’s face it, Kitty needs all the brain cells she can get!)
It is the same problem with canned salmon. Smoked salmon is cured with salt and so has a too high of a sodium nitrate content for your cat to handle. It is best to give a cat salmon that has been thoroughly cooked by baking or pan searing without any dressings or seasonings that could make her sick.
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Salmon?
Salmon is high in Omega 3 fatty acids which discourages obesity, as long as you don’t over do it. Just half an ounce of salmon has more than enough anemia fighting Vitamin B 12. There’s plenty of Vitamin B 6 to metabolize all that protein which salmon also has an abundance of.
There’s also potassium, selenium and niacin. It’s one of few fishes that nursing and pregnant women are encouraged to eat. Salmon is one of the healthiest types of fish.
How often can people feed their cats with salmon?
While salmon is a healthy treat, it should not be a meal replacement. It should be less than 15% of your cat’s total diet. Giving your cat salmon about once a week should be safe. No more than two or three times in a week is advised.
Whatever you do, don’t get Kitty addicted to the point that she won’t eat anything else. A safer bet would be cat food and treats that list salmon as one of the first ingredients.
The Possible Problems of Salmon
As with any fish, there is a risk of mercury poisoning. Because salmon are plant eating fish, the risk of mercury poisoning is low, but be careful anyway. Only feed Kitty fish that has come from clean waters. Even you should only eat fish that comes from clean waters!
Farmed salmon has been known to damage the environment and may contain toxic chemicals such as methylmercury and dioxins. Know where your salmon comes from!
As with all food, too much leads to obesity. Learn what amount of food is healthy for your cat and stick to it.
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Health Benefits of Salmon fish
The anti-inflammatory acids plus all that selenium and Vitamin A can improve immunity. If you have an active little cat who is constantly testing the “cats always land on their feet” theory, then salmon might strengthen their bones and help them heal faster. Salmon is full of the lean protein your little carnivore craves.
The Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will lead to your cat having healthy skin and a thick, shiny coat. Salmon has even been shown to reduce cancer risks. If it isn’t loaded with salt and fat in the cooking process, salmon can be a very heart healthy food.
While Salmon is one of the healthiest types of foods on the market, the old aphorism “All things in moderation means all things”. Don’t negate all the wonderful benefits of salmon with added fat and salt. It’s best if the salmon is wild or at least responsibly farmed.
The fish, including skin, must be cooked until flaky. Your cat needs a variety of food. While salmon can be a made a part of your cat’s diet, it should not be a major part.
- Salmon – The World’s Healthiest Foods
- Distribution of a Vitamin B1 Destructive Enzyme in Fish H. F. Deutsch, A. D. Hasler First Published May 1, 1943
- Parasites of Freshwater Fish By Jeff Gunderson, 2008
- Salmon: Health benefits, facts, and research Last updated Wed 20 September 2017 By Megan Ware RDN LD Reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD
- Chronic toxicity of methylmercury in the adult cat. Interim report. Toxicology. 1976 Mar;5(3):337-49. by Charbonneau SM, Munro IC, Nera EA, Armstrong FA, Willes RF, Bryce F, Nelson RF.