Can Cats Eat Sardines? 10 Useful Things For You

Cats enjoy eating sardines, despite the fact that they aren’t aquatic predators or fishers in the wild. Since many common human foods can be harmful to cats, their owners may be concerned about the safety of feeding their feline companions sardines.

Because of their high protein content, which is converted by cats into usable amino acids, sardines are beneficial for feline health.

A cat’s coat and internal organs need minerals like calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc, all of which can be found in these foods. Because of their high water content, sardines can also help you stay hydrated.

Fish is high in protein, which is why cats enjoy eating it. You should only give your cat sardines on rare occasions, and you should always remove any extra oils, sauces, or brine from the can before feeding it to your cat. Spring water sardines are the best.

Can Cats Eat Sardines?

All types of oily fish, including sardines, are popular with felines.

Cats, oddly enough, neither hunt nor eat fish in the wild. The origin of their fish-eating preference remains a mystery.

Cats almost exclusively eat meat because it provides them with the high protein content they need. Protein content in fish is comparable to that of white and red meats.

Protein, vitamins, and minerals can all be found in abundance in sardines. However, there may be bones in canned sardines, but they are small and pliable enough that your cat won’t have any trouble processing them.

It’s also debatable whether the oils, brines, and sauces used to preserve sardines are safe to eat. As long as you don’t eat too much of it, you should be fine using any sauce or oil you like.

If you want to limit the amount of sauce or oil your cat consumes, drain the sardines first. Avoid giving your cat too much sodium or fat by feeding them sardines in spring water without added salt.

Can Cats Eat Sardines in Olive Oil? - Wise Kitten


When given in moderation, cats can safely consume sunflower oil.

Therefore, it is not harmful to give a cat one sardine with the sunflower oil mostly drained from it. Olive oil and sunflower oil are both safe for cats to consume.

However, consuming a lot of sunflower oil (or any oil) can make you sick to your stomach. Don’t overdo it, though, or your cat will gain weight.

Even sardines packed in olive oil, which are marginally less harmful, should be eaten in moderation.


A brine is a container of saltwater. Brine has been used for food preservation since ancient times.

Unfortunately, cats shouldn’t consume too much salt because it can cause hypertension. You should limit the amount of brine your cat consumes.

A healthy cat can eat one sardine in brine without any ill effects, but you should still wash it off first.

Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes are not a good source of nutrition for cats, so they should not be fed to them.

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If your cat likes sardines, you can serve it sardines topped with tomato sauce. On the other hand, it could do without the sardine sauce.

Spring Water

Sardines in spring water are the healthiest option because they contain no added salt or fat.

Sardine Nutritional Information

Sardines are healthy for cats because they have a lot of minerals and some vitamins.

Macronutrient-wise, sardines are excellent because they are rich in protein and fat but low in carbohydrates.

Here is a table showing the macronutrient content of sardines, based on information from

Sardines canned in sunflower oil are listed below.

MacronutrientQuantity per 100g

Being obligate carnivores, cats require a high-protein diet.

Should I drain the liquid of canned sardines before cooking? - Quora

The high water content of sardines makes them an ideal food for cats that have trouble getting enough water from their dry food diet.

Vitamin and mineral content in sardines is high.

Vitamin/MineralQuantity per 100 grams
Vitamin B3 niacin5.245mg
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid0.642mg
B2 vitamin riboflavin0.227mg
Cobalamin (B12)8.94ug
Folate and B60.167mg
Vitamin E2.04mg

All of these minerals and selenium are essential for the health of your cat.

However, JSAP warns that cats who consume a lot of fish may not get enough vitamin K.

Are Sardines Good for Cats?

In most cases, that is correct. (Although, there are a few exceptions that we’ll discuss below.)

According to Catcentric, there are ten reasons why your feline friend should eat sardines.

  1. They contain the protein essential for the growth and maintenance of a cat’s muscles and tendons.
  2. They are rich in vitamin D, which helps strengthen bones, and the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are beneficial to joints.
  3. Because of the vitamin B12 and the aforementioned EPA and DHA, they are good for your heart.
  4. Cancer metastasis can be stopped in its tracks by the omega-3s found in sardines.
  5. DHA has been shown to improve memory, learning, and motor function.
  6. Fatty acids in sardines may help young animals avoid developing allergies.
  7. There is some evidence that feeding your cat sardines rich in omega-3 fatty acids may aid in weight loss.
  8. Seizure attacks may be mitigated with the aid of Omega.
  9. The fish oil in sardines may help slow the progression of kidney disease.
  10. The EPA and DHA in sardines have been shown to have a calming effect.

What Are the Side Effects of Sardines in Cats?

Cats can benefit from eating sardines, but they aren’t the best choice.

When consumed in large quantities, they may cause the following undesirable effects:


Cats can get diarrhea from eating oily foods. A single sardine probably wouldn’t cause any problems for a human stomach, but cats have much smaller stomachs.

A cat may experience laxative effects from even a small amount of oil.

Choking Hazard

Even if your cat is on the smaller side, it won’t have a problem with the bones in canned sardines. Your cat will still be able to gnaw through the sardine and avoid the larger bones.

Mercury Poisoning

The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health reports that mercury levels can rise in cats who regularly consume tuna.

Cats’ internal organs are affected by mercury poisoning, and pregnant cats shouldn’t ingest it because it can affect the development of their kittens. Sure, one or two sardines won’t be enough to poison your cat with mercury.

How To Make Sardines for Cats

Once you’ve opened the can and drained the brine/oils, you can put the sardines in your cat’s bowl.

Include it in your cat’s regular meal or give them a few sardines as a special treat every so often.

How Often Can Cats Eat Sardines?

Reduce weekly intake to no more than two sardines. As long as you balance out your cat’s calorie intake with less of its regular food, you can feed it sardines more often than this.

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Which is Better for Cats, Chicken or Fish?

Meat is a great way to spice up your cat’s diet and mealtime. Whether it’s turkey, beef, chicken, or fish, your cat has a refined palate just like you do. Fish and chicken are the most common choices for cat food because they are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Fish provides vitamins and nutrients, such as fatty Omega 3’s, not found in other dishes, though all meat, when cooked properly, can be good for your cat. The immune system, joint health, and coat sheen can all benefit from these. Cats with kidney disease benefit greatly from the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oils.

Fish, however, does not come without its drawbacks.

The ancestors of the domestic cats we know and love ate mostly rodents and reptiles and not fish like mackerel and salmon. Many people don’t realize that eating fish can put them at risk for serious health problems, such as mercury poisoning and vitamin B deficiency due to an enzyme found in fish called thiaminase.

Fish may have some great and unique benefits for your cat, but they lack a number of essential nutrients. You shouldn’t ever replace your cat’s kibble with fish-only canned food.

Fish should be added to your cat’s diet in moderation, no more than once a week. While poultry is preferable, fish can still be a healthy part of your cat’s diet.

Do Cats Like Sardines?

Even the faintest whiff of sardines can be irresistible to a feline. Cats would love to try sardines for the first time because of the fish’s distinct odor and high protein content. If your cat doesn’t seem to like the new foods, don’t force them on him or her.

We’ve already established that sardines are an excellent resource for both lean proteins and the healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. However, they also contain other beneficial vitamins, such as calcium for bone health and vitamin B-12 for heart health.

Most of the resources I looked at stressed the importance of using sardines canned in water rather than brine, olive oil, or tomato sauce.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these points.

Can cats eat sardines in olive oil

Can Cats Eat Canned Sardines in Water?


In fact, due to the inherent innocuity and ease of preparation of water, this is likely the best method for administering sardines to your feline friend. There is nothing in the sardines that could be harmful to your cat, and you won’t have to wonder if it’s getting “too much” of anything.

Can Cats Eat Sardines in Tomato Sauce?

Not at all a good plan, no.

Unripe, green tomatoes contain solanine, which is toxic to cats in large doses. (Green tomatoes aren’t used to make tomato sauce, but knowing this is useful anyway.)

Though the tomatoes themselves aren’t the issue.

Small amounts of the added salt, garlic powder, and/or onion powder can be fatal to cats.

If you want to feed your cat canned sardines, make sure you thoroughly rinse them before serving them.

In fact, it’s best not to eat canned sardines at all.

Can Cats Eat Sardines in Olive Oil? Is Olive Oil Good for Cats?

True, and also yes.

Willow Creek Olive Oil claims that their extra virgin olive oil is not only safe for cats to consume, but is also a beneficial addition to their diets because it is not chemically processed, is less acidic, and is of higher quality than regular olive oil.

Olive oil is useful for:

  • Protect your cat from developing diabetes and heart disease.
  • Immunity in cats can be improved.
  • Weight loss aid for felines.
  • Help alleviate the symptoms of constipation naturally.
  • Facilitate a treatment for impacted hair (for three days, add one teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to prevent hairballs).
  • Keep fur smooth and shiny.
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Can Cats Eat Sardines in Soybean Oil or Soy Brine?

Not at all.

One of the problematic ingredients in cat food is soybean. Your cat’s hormone secretion may be disrupted and/or the thyroid may be damaged.

Can Cats Eat Raw Sardines?

This is a terrible plan.

All Cat Secrets warns that cats should avoid eating raw sardines because of the potential for heavy metal poisoning.

(Not that sort of heavy metal, but rather mercury and fat-soluble pollutants found in contaminated water.

How Do I Prepare Sardines For My Cat?

Thankfully, this is a breeze:

  1. Open can.
  2. Can drain.
  3. Put some of the can’s contents in the bowl for the cat.
  4. What’s left in the can can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.

Frozen sardines are another option for your cat’s diet, but they need to be finely chopped and then pulsed in a food processor to create a paste.

Are Sardine Bones Safe for Cats?

You don’t have to worry as much about bones if you stick to sardine.

All Cat Secrets claims that adult cats have no trouble chewing and swallowing sardine bones because of their small size and softness.

When it comes to fish in general, Tails Life recommends:

There is a risk of oesophageal injury when eating certain types of cooked meat because the bones can splinter. Bones in cooked fish should be removed before serving to avoid harming or obstructing your cat’s throat or digestive tract. However, most cats have no trouble with bones and will regurgitate them if they become stuck.

Feeding fish that is the right size means the bones won’t cause a problem because they won’t be big enough to get stuck. This means you could switch to feeding on smaller fish. Their tiny, flexible bones will aid in digestion.

Can Diabetic Cats Eat Sardines?

Since sardines are generally considered a healthy food for cats, I see no reason why a diabetic cat shouldn’t eat them. (Once again, I want to stress that I am not a veterinarian but merely a cat owner with a laptop; if you have a diabetic cat, you should consult your vet regarding this question.)

Because it contains fewer carbohydrates than commercial cat food, sardines may be a good choice for diabetic cats.

Can I Feed My Cat Sardines Every Day? How Many Sardines Can a Cat Eat?

Catcentric recommends limiting your cat’s sardine intake to no more than 1/4 to 1/2 of a 3.75 ounce can per week.

On “sardine days,” you should limit your caloric intake to the equivalent of one can of sardines.

There’s also the risk of your cat developing an “addiction” to fish if you give it to it on a regular basis. The next time you make a tuna sandwich or broil some salmon for yourself and your cat won’t stop screaming at you, it’s not a medical emergency, but it could drive you crazy.

Is Canned Tuna Okay for Cats?

There are many potential partners out there, as the old adage goes. Which ones shouldn’t kitty eat?

It was discovered that canned tuna is not a good option for feline diets.

(Yeah, it caught me off guard, too.)

Tuna, like other fish, lacks the essential nutrient vitamin E, making it nutritionally incomplete. Both the salt content of canned tuna and the prevalence of mercury in wild-caught tuna make it a poor choice for human consumption.

Can Cats Eat Salmon?

Can Cats Eat Sardines? | Waldo's Friends

Salmon, being a smaller fish than tuna, typically contains lower amounts of mercury. However, your cat’s digestive system could be severely damaged by parasites found in raw salmon. Fish for your cat should always be cooked thoroughly.

Can Cats Eat Mackerel?

Be sure to check the mercury content of King Mackerel before feeding it to your cat; the smaller Atlantic variety poses less of a threat.

Avoid smoked mackerel and other smoked fish because of the high levels of salt used in the smoking process. Make sure your canned mackerel was packed in water, and always cook your fish thoroughly if it is a filet.

Examples of fish that are low in mercury content are:

  • Trout, Freshwater
  • Cod
  • Perch
  • Tilapia
  • Flounder

Just make sure to cook everything thoroughly and discard the bones.

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