Can Cats Eat Tilapia? 9 Full Explanations

Almost 100 distinct species of tilapia can be found in the world’s freshwater ecosystems, and they are the fourth most consumed fish in the United States. You’ve probably eaten your share of tilapia by this point in your life.

If you’re a cat owner who likes to cook tilapia at home, you may be wondering if you can safely feed it to your cat(s).

Cats can, in fact, eat tilapia, to put it briefly. However, before you feed tilapia to your feline family members, there are a few things to keep in mind.

It’s important to remember that cats aren’t meant to eat fish, so tilapia shouldn’t ever make up a significant portion of their diet.

Instead, tilapia should be used as a supplement or a special treat every once in a while. What else do you need to know about giving tilapia to your pets?

Can Cats Eat Tilapia?

Cats can eat tilapia, but only in small amounts and only occasionally. Tilapia is low-cost, tasty, and nutritionally dense, boasting high levels of beneficial vitamins, proteins, minerals, and other compounds.

It’s a great way to get protein without overloading on fat. However, when compared to other options, tilapia has a lower omega-3 fatty acid content.

What Is Tilapia? Is It Healthy For Cats? 

Can Cats Eat Tilapia? (Hint: Yes, But Limited Amounts)

In the United States, tilapia has gained a lot of popularity. In 2016, it ranked #4 on the list of most popular fish dishes.

Tilapia is a fast and simple fish to cultivate. Additionally, it is cheaper than other nutrient-dense fish. There is little to no fishiness to the taste or aroma of tilapia.

Nutritionally, tilapia is excellent because it provides a lot of protein and very little fat. Cats can safely consume the tilapia due to its low sodium content. Keep in mind that cats are extremely sensitive to salt, and that eating too much of it can be fatal.

Furthermore, tilapia does not contain the carcinogenic nitrates that plague other fish. Tilapia is relatively risky because it contains more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3.

  Can Cats Eat Cookies? 14 Things You Need To Know

Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in many fish, including salmon, sardines, trout, and albacore tuna. To be more specific, the omega-3 fatty acid content of 100 grams of salmon is 2,500 milligrams. In addition to reducing inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are a healthy fat. Additionally, they aid in lowering cardiovascular disease risks.

When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, a single serving of tilapia only has 240 mg. When compared to omega-3 fatty acids, tilapia is higher in omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-6 fatty acids are not as beneficial as omega-3 fatty acids. Inflammation and possible harm from an excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids.

Nutritional Value Of Tilapia 

Protein-rich tilapia is a great option. In addition, this fish is loaded with nutrients that are good for cats. Vitamin B12, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and niacin are all present in adequate levels in tilapia.

The nutritional breakdown of 3.5 ounces of tilapia is as follows:

  • 26 grams of protein
  • 128 calories
  • Three grams of fat
  • With 31% of the Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin B12
  • Approximately 78% of the Recommended Daily Intake of Selenium
  • Vitamin B3 – 22% of the RDI
  • Twenty percent of the Recommended Daily Intake for Potassium
  • Twenty percent of the recommended daily intake for phosphorus
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g

The Benefits of Feeding Tilapia to Cats

British shorthair cat eating

Because cats can digest and absorb the same nutrients as humans, the health benefits of tilapia for felines are comparable to those for humans. Many essential nutrients for healthy feline development can be found in this fish.

  • B12
  • Niacin
  • Phosphorous
  • Choline
  • Selenium

In humans, tilapia consumption has been linked to improved cardiovascular health, stronger bones, and reduced risk of cancer.

Omega fatty acids are abundant in this food, and they help maintain a cat’s skin health and reduce the discomfort of arthritis in older cats.

How To Feed Tilapia To The Cats? 


Cooked tilapia is safer for your cat to eat. The cat will also enjoy tilapia that has been grilled, pan-fried, or boiled. However, when preparing the tilapia, refrain from adding any additional flavors, seasonings, or ingredients.

Never give your cat any fish that has been prepared with onion or garlic. Cats shouldn’t be fed smoked, canned, or salted tilapia, either. Before giving the fish to your pet, make sure to carefully remove the bones after cooking.

  Can Cats Eat Fish Food? 14 Facts About It


It’s possible that the raw tilapia contains harmful parasites or bacteria. This is why you shouldn’t give your cat any raw fish. Parasites are the only microorganisms that can be killed by flash freezing tilapia at -20 degrees Celsius for seven days.

Furthermore, there are ties between fish oil and raw fish. The cat vitamin B1 (thiamine) is destroyed by the thiaminase compound that is present in this product.

Cats are at serious risk from a lack of vitamin B, specifically thiamine, which is essential for metabolism.

Cats may experience weakness, appetite loss, and problems with their nervous systems and hearts as a result. For these reasons, cooked tilapia is preferable to raw fish.

How Often And How Much Tilapia Can A Cat Eat? 

In most cases, tilapia should be fed to cats in very small portions. Cats may eat the entire fish, but doing so is unhealthy for them. Only offer a couple of small pieces of tilapia at a time.

Can Cats Eat Fish Bones? Is Fish With Bones Safe? Should You Give Fish To Your Cat? - My British Shorthair

The tilapia should be boneless before you feed it to your cat. The cats’ lives are in danger from these tiny fish bones.

Cats can’t control themselves when it comes to chowing down on bones. Because of this, cats frequently consume these tiny bones, which can cause serious damage to their esophagus and stomach.

In conclusion, it is best to limit cats’ fish intake to no more than twice weekly. They will get enough variety in their diet and new nutrients from this routine.

Why Tilapia Should Be a Limited Offering

Tilapia, like all other fish, is not something that cats can naturally capture and eat, so it has never been a part of their diet.

Fish like tilapia are occasionally used in commercial food, but they are usually only used as a supplement to more common proteins like chicken or beef. Your cat will not get all the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from tilapia.

If tilapia is your cat’s main source of protein, she may become nutrient deficient if she doesn’t get enough of certain nutrients.

That’s why it’s important to feed your cat commercial food that has been carefully formulated to meet all of its nutritional needs and comes from a reputable manufacturer.

  Can Cats Eat Pineapple? 7 Things You May Not Know

If you want your cat to get the most out of its commercial cat food, tilapia should be served as a treat or supplement on occasion.

Potential Risks Of Feeding Tilapia To Cats 

british short hair cat eating

Asthma, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases are more likely in people who consume a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids. The farming methods used to raise tilapia, especially in China, pose the greatest risk. There have been reports of farmed tilapia in China being fed animal waste.

It’s very harmful, but it reduces production costs. Animal feces can introduce harmful bacteria like Salmonella into the water supply, increasing the likelihood of waterborne illnesses. Furthermore, 73% of China’s farmed tilapia exports go to the USA.

Toxic chemicals like dioxins have been found in some tilapia. It occurs when polluted water and contaminated feed are used in tilapia farming. This is why it is important to research the origin of the tilapia you intend to purchase.

Dibutylin, another harmful chemical, could be present in some tilapia. Inflammation and, in some cases, damage to the immune system are possible outcomes. Asthma, fish allergy, metabolic disorder, and obesity could all be made more likely by this compound.

Alternative Fish Options to Consider

Fish, in moderation, is fine for cats to eat, and not just tilapia. You can find excellent choices that will satisfy your cat’s dietary requirements. Those with the lowest mercury content are preferable.

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Whitefish
  • Sardines
  • Swordfish
  • Cod

Make sure the fish your cat eats is caught in the wild and not farmed. Fish raised in captivity, as opposed to wild fish, typically contains higher levels of toxins and lower levels of nutrients.

To Sum Things Up

Fish like tilapia is a popular choice because it is readily available and most cats enjoy eating it. However, if we feed our cats an excessive amount of tilapia, they may lose interest in their regular food, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Therefore, the majority of your cat’s diet should consist of commercial food that is nutritionally balanced, with tilapia and other healthy foods served as treats.

Don’t make tilapia your cat’s staple diet. Make something special for them on a holiday, and you’ll both benefit.

Leave a Comment