Can Cats Eat Salmon? Is It A Superfood For Felines Too?

Can Cats Eat Salmon

Can cats eat Salmon? 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.

Can Cats Eat Salmon?

Can Cats Eat Salmon?

1. Raw Salmon

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.

2. Canned salmon

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.

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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!)

3. Smoked salmon

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.

Related article: 10 Homemade Cat Food Recipes

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.

Can Cats Eat Salmon?

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.

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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

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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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Can Cats Eat Salmon?

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.

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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.

Can cats eat salmon?

While salmon should not be the basis of your cat's diet, it is still okay as a treat. Salmon still does contain a lot valuable nutrients for cats. The only problem with feeding salmon to your cat as a treat is that cats can become addicted to salmon and refuse to eat other food.

Can you feed canned salmon to cats?

So how about canned or cooked salmon? Canned fish lacks enough vitamins. It also contains a large variety of stabilizers and chemicals like sodium which are unhealthy for cats. So, to sum it up – cats can eat tuna and salmon, and they'll adore them, but too much of either of these will become harmful in the long run.

Is it safe to give cats raw salmon?

Human-grade sushi is generally safe for people, but it can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. There is thiaminase in raw fish that could break down an essential B vitamin called thiamine in cats. Thiamine deficiency can cause neurological problems, and even lead to convulsions.

Is tuna or salmon better for cats?

Both cats and dogs only produce a fraction of the omega-3 that they need to maintain a healthy and balanced ratio of fatty acids. Your furry friend can find the right proportions of these nutrients in human foods for cats such as salmon, tuna, herring, and crab.

  • Updated April 22, 2021
Mary Nielsen

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.