Like dogs and bones, cats and fish are inseparable. Cats may not always be able to safely consume fish. Contaminants like mercury and parasites can be found in them and cause serious harm to your pets.
Cats can eat fish, including cod and other varieties if they are cooked properly. If you want to feed your cat seafood like cod, you should know the following.
Is It Safe To Feed My Cat Cod?
If you want to feed your cat cod, make sure to cook it thoroughly. While some wild cats may be able to safely consume raw meat, domestic cats are more likely to fall ill if they do.
Never give your cat raw cod, and never give your cat fish that was caught in an unregulated manner. Parasitic worms are a major health risk associated with eating raw cod. Roundworms can be transmitted orally to cats from cod and other oily fish.
Roundworms aren’t usually a problem for adult cats, but they can cause serious illness in young cats and cats with compromised immune systems. Ascariasis is an intestinal infection caused by a parasite population explosion of roundworms.
Ascariasis signs and symptoms include:
- Pain in the belly
- Human feces stained with blood
- Slimming down
Roundworm larvae can infect a cat’s lungs if the infestation is severe enough to enter the bloodstream.
It’s also possible to contract a bacterial infection from eating raw cod. Salmonella, which can be found in uncooked cod and other fish, can be transmitted to cats. Cats typically experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea due to an upset stomach.
These additional symptoms may also be present:
- Abnormal lochial secretions
- Racing heart
- Skin disorders
- lymph node swelling
- Getting leaner
Cats can safely eat properly cooked cod, and many do so because it makes a tasty treat. Cooking cod is necessary for parasite elimination.
The roundworms can be killed by cooking the cod to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds. The parasites can also be killed by rapidly freezing the cod to a temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cod should be discarded if it has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
While it is true that high heat can kill salmonella, it is still not safe for humans or cats to eat raw fish that has been out for an extended period of time.
The Nutritional Value of Cod
Cats can benefit greatly from eating cod. To begin, it’s a healthy option because it’s high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates. Vitamin B12, which is essential for a cat’s digestive system, is also abundant in this food.
Phosphorus, found in abundance in cod, is beneficial to the health of bones and teeth.
However, a phosphorus supplement may not be useful for all feline patients. The kidneys of a cat can be damaged by an excess of this mineral.
As a result, you should keep your cat from eating too much cod if it has kidney disease or is prone to developing kidney stones.
Is Cod Healthy for Cats?
Commercial cat food frequently contains fish, including cod, because it is beneficial to feline health.
Protein-rich, low-to-moderate-fat diets are ideal for feline health. A 4-ounce serving of cod has about 1 gram of fat, making it a low-fat option.
There are also 20 grams of protein in the same serving size. Cats, being true carnivores, get the most out of the protein and fat found in fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in cod, are also beneficial for the skin and coat of a cat. Fish oil has been shown to improve immune function and reduce inflammation.
Does Cod Contain Mercury?
Most of us know that mercury exposure from eating certain fish can be dangerous for some people. Cat owners should be careful not to overfeed fish high in mercury.
Here’s some good news: cod is relatively low in mercury and can be fed safely in moderate amounts (which we’ll get into below).
Can Cod Upset My Cat’s Stomach?
Your cat’s digestive system may react negatively to any novel food you feed it.
Although cod is not poisonous, not all cats do well with fish or even fish-based cat foods. If you feed your cat cod, keep an eye out for any stomach upset symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
A Cat’s Nutritional Needs
The nutritional profile of cod is compatible with that of a cat. Protein and fat are the foundations of a healthy cat’s diet.
High Protein Diet
A diet with at least 40% protein is ideal for cats. Being obligate carnivores means cats don’t require as many carbohydrates as omnivores like dogs and humans. In fact, carbohydrates are poorly absorbed by their digestive systems.
Cod is low in carbohydrates and high in protein, as was previously mentioned. Since it’s low in calories, it can be a great snack for cats trying to watch their weight or shed a few pounds.
Taurine is an amino acid that cats need and can get a lot of it from cod. Taurine is essential for cats, but they can’t make it themselves. Therefore, cats must get their taurine from animal protein.
Taurine deficiency is a leading cause of illness in cats. Retinal degeneration and cardiomyopathy are two diseases that can result from a lack of taurine.
If your cat is getting enough taurine, you won’t have to worry about either of these diseases. Both can be treated, but untreated cases have fatal outcomes.
Moderate Amount of Fat
Fat makes up about 20–24% of a cat’s ideal diet. Cats rely on fat for energy because they have trouble processing carbohydrates.
Inflammatory diseases like allergies, arthritis, and heart disease are all things that omega fatty acids can help protect your cat from.
Omega-3 fatty acids are hard to come by, but cod is a great source. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for a cat’s skin and coat because of their anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Niacin, choline, and selenium can all be found in cod as well. Vitamins and minerals are essential for normal cat health.
Inflammation of the gums, loss of appetite, and bloody diarrhea are just a few of the unpleasant signs of niacin deficiency in cats.
Choline is important for cats because it aids in fat metabolism and prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver.
Selenium’s anti-inflammatory properties make it useful for keeping cats’ skin and coats in good condition. In addition to bolstering the immune system, it aids joint health.
How To Feed Cod To Your Cat Safely
Don’t Feed Raw Cod
First and foremost, your cat should never be given any raw fish, including cod. Dangerous bacteria, such as Salmonella, may be present in raw foods.
Your cat might get sick from these, and they might also spread bacteria to young children or the elderly if they come into contact with them.
In addition, the bones in raw fish pose a hazard to your cat because they could get lodged in its mouth or digestive system.
One compound in raw fish is especially worrying because it destroys thiamine (B1). Your cat may develop a thiamine deficiency if they consume excessive amounts of raw cod. Seizures, a tilted head, and difficulty walking are all symptoms of this disorder.
Avoid Added Fats and Salt
Only fully cooked cod is safe for cats to eat. However, you shouldn’t use too much butter or oil when cooking the fish.
Don’t season it with any salt or pepper, either. Cooking cod in a healthy manner for your cat includes steaming or baking without oil.
Feed Appropriate Portions
Cod is a healthy option for your cat’s diet, but it should only be given in small amounts occasionally. If your cat is eating a homemade diet that includes cod as a protein source, this is not the case.
Homemade diets, on the other hand, can be difficult to properly balance without the help of a veterinarian.
Commercial cat food is the most convenient option because it already contains all the nutrients your cat needs.
This food should account for the majority of your cat’s caloric intake every day. Cod, like any other treat, shouldn’t account for more than 10% of your daily calorie intake.
What Other Fish Are Healthy for Cats?
If your feline friend isn’t keen on cod, you may be curious about what other types of fish are cat-friendly. In general, you should eat only low-mercury fish, such as those listed below.
It’s best to stay away from mercury-rich fish like:
- Ahi Tuna
- Imperial mackerel
There is a range of mercury concentrations in canned tuna, making it inappropriate for widespread consumption.
When cooked properly, cod makes for a delicious snack for felines. A cat can safely eat cod if it has been cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds, so follow these cooking instructions.
You can always give your cat dried cod treats if you’re not sure how to prepare fresh fish. You can feel good about giving your cat one of these treats because you know it’s not only tasty, but also very healthy for them.