Can Cats Eat Tuna? Why It Might Be Harmful To Your Kitty…

Can cats eat tuna

Critical question: Can cats eat Tuna? It is safe, right? Anime fans who watch Axis Powers: Hetalia may recall fondly how much Japan's little bobtail Tama loved “Dee-rish-us tuna”. The other “Nekotalia” cats would start trade agreements to get their tuna.

One of the old Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats cartoons featured a zombified cat moaning “tuna fish!” the way a typical zombie might call for “brains!”

Going further back, there are old adages and fables about cats wanting to eat fish. Many cat foods and treats have tuna as an ingredient. You may have noticed that opening a can of aromatic tuna is the surest way to get a cat to come running to you.

Cats love the smell and taste of tuna. Is tuna bad for cats? Is it okay to give them some? Is it fine to add it to your cat's diet? Those are some questions that we will be answering in this post.

Can cats eat raw tuna?

image of raw tunafish meat

While there is a popular on-line game called “Sushi Cat” where the goal is to stuff a cat full of sushi while navigating a maze, cats should not eat raw fish of any kind. This is all the more reason to put a lid on the aquarium and for fishing enthusiasts to keep their catch where Kitty can't get it.

Raw fish can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. They can even break down thiamine until the poor cat is in a coma. If you must feed your cat fish at all, make sure it's cooked all the way through first.

Can cats eat canned tuna?

Tuna from the can isn't always the best option. Canned tuna for human consumption is usually pre-cooked, but it lacks the essential vitamins a cat needs. A canned tuna based cat food is fine to give to a cat because it has all the vitamins they need added.

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If you feed them canned tuna at all it should be sparingly so they don't get spoiled and refuse to eat anything else.

Can cats eat tuna in oil?

Oil is fattening, pure and simple. You probably shouldn't be eating oil packed tuna yourself. If a cat is fed tuna it must be tuna preserved in its own natural juices. If your cat needs to be enticed to eat or just really craves tuna, you can pour a little tuna juice on her kibble to make it more palatable.

Can Cats Eat Tuna? Why It Might Be Harmful To Your Kitty... 1

The juice does have a high salt content so it is not recommended for cats with heart problems or high blood pressure. Even healthy cats only need small quantities as an appetizer.

Why is Tuna Good for Cats?

image of raw fish meat

Cats can eat small quantities of tuna as part of a balanced diet. It is rich in those proteins and amino acids essential for your cat's growth and development. There's also the B and C vitamins that improve immunity plus manganese and potassium. Tuna has healthy antioxidants that eradicate free radicals from the blood stream.

The thiamine, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids can give your cat energy. For better blood circulation there's iron, riboflavin, niacin and other nutrients. Unlike tuna flavored cat food, tuna does not contain fish meal or artificial preservatives and coloring.

Cats love the smell and taste of tuna, so it's a good way to tempt them into eating unfamiliar food. In short, tuna for cats is good as long as it is the right amount; not too much tuna!

Why is Tuna Bad for Cats?

Some of the things tuna does not have that your cat needs is taurine and Vitamin E. A cat fed more tuna than she really needs will suffer if deprived of these nutrients. A lack of vitamin E can lead to steatitis, also known as yellow fat disease. While a little thiamine is good, an overabundance can lead to thiaminase poisoning, a disease that weakens the immune system.

Why Do Cats Chirp?

Because tuna is a fish that's high on the food chain, it has a tendency to be high in mercury. If your cat seems weak, uncoordinated, mentally disturbed or develops a rash, she may be suffering from mercury poisoning and needs to see a vet right away. A mild case can be flushed out by having Kitty drink more water.

Can a Kitten Eat Tuna?

Because of all the nutrients that promote growth, it may be tempting to give some tuna to a small kitten. However, the risks seem to outweigh the benefits. A tiny kitten is at even greater risk for steatitis, mercury poisoning and seizures.

A half grown adolescent cat may be able to handle small quantities as an occasional treat and the tiniest squirt of tuna juice might help a recently weaned kitten get used to the idea of eating on their own. Otherwise, a kitten is better off getting their vitamins and nutrients from other sources.

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In Conclusion

Tuna should in no case be a regular basis for a cat's diet. It can make a good treat or occasionally to whet a picky cat's appetite. There are regular cat foods and treats with the smell and flavor of tuna plus some extra vitamins. In any case, do read that label so you know what Kitty is eating.

Keep all things in moderation and make sure any fish your cat eats is thoroughly cooked. Just make sure she's eating all the other good things she needs to eat through her years.

Is tuna bad for cats?

While tuna is fine for cats in moderation or as a treat, too much canned tuna can be bad for your cat. Fish is a great source of protein, but there are a few reasons why a steady diet of human-grade canned tuna can cause health problems for your cat.

Can I give my cat human tuna?

Cats can be addicted to tuna, whether it's packed for cats or for humans. Some tuna now and then probably won't hurt. But a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because it won't have all the nutrients a cat needs. And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning.

How do you make tuna water for cats?

Mash together one can of unsalted, dolphin-safe tuna (in water) with 3 cups of additional water. Let the mashed tuna and water sit for 15 minutes. Pour broth into covered ice cube trays. It is okay if you get some of the tuna in with the broth, but your cat will likely still just lick the broth and not eat the tuna.

Is tuna in springwater good for cats?

Fish, such as tinned sardines in springwater, tinned tuna and tinned salmon (take care with any fish bones) can be offered as a treat occasionally but please avoid feeding fish constantly because this is not a complete diet. Cats will occasionally eat grass, which may be a source of vegetable matter and micronutrients.

  • Updated July 29, 2022
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.