Our feline friends are big fish eaters. Tuna is a popular choice, but you may be wondering why there aren’t more varieties of fish there. That begs the question, though: can felines enjoy a can of tuna?
If you’ve ever opened a can of tuna, you know the sound of tiny feet coming your way. The scent and flavor are irresistible to most feline friends. Should you share the tasty fish with your furry friend when it nudges your hand?
Tuna is not harmful to cats in any way, but you shouldn’t make it a regular part of your cat’s diet.
Can Cats Eat Tuna?
How about tuna salad for cats? In a nutshell, no; however, most cats will enjoy the taste of tuna even if they cannot digest it.
If your cat is a fussy eater, they probably won’t eat any canned food, including tuna salad.
Some felines do well on a diet high in animal-based protein, but others require special gluten- and soy-free diets. Canned foods, such as tuna, should be avoided by cats with a soy sensitivity.
Cats have a high protein requirement but are so light that even an entire can of tuna would be too heavy to carry.
While tuna salad may seem like a good option for lunch, it can actually be harmful to cats if fed in large quantities.
Can Cats Eat Tuna Salad?
Canned tuna should be given only occasionally. If your cat enjoys other types of fish, like salmon or chicken, it may also like tuna if you prepare it properly.
Cats shouldn’t be fed raw fish. If they aren’t fed properly, even otherwise healthy cats with sensitive stomachs may have trouble digesting canned foods like tuna.
Is Tuna Good or Bad for Cats?
Tuna is a great source of protein and healthy fats like omega-3s and a good source of vitamin B12. These are associated with improved cardiovascular health, stronger bones and muscles, and healthy blood and nerve cells.
But can we assume that cats get the same health benefits from eating this tasty saltwater fish as we do? Maybe cats shouldn’t eat tuna.
There is no denying the health benefits of tuna. However, it can cause health issues in cats if given to them frequently.
The Merck Veterinary Manual lists fish as one of the top 10 foods that trigger allergic reactions in cats. (It’s the very first thing that’s eaten!)
Some symptoms of feline food allergies include:
- Crusted, small bumps
- Hair loss
These symptoms may indicate an allergy to fish, and they may appear after you introduce tuna (or another type of fish) to your cat’s diet.
Mercury poisoning is another major issue. Mercury is a poisonous metal that permeates the environment. Although mercury can be found in all fish, tuna tends to have higher concentrations than other fish. Over time, eating a lot of tuna can lead to mercury poisoning in both cats and humans.
Mercury poisoning in cats can manifest in a variety of ways.
- Coordination breakdown
- unstable stride
- Abnormal conduct
- Seizures or tremors
- Eye and body movements that you can’t control
- Depression of the central nervous system
- Reduced vision
Keep in mind that thankfully mercury poisoning cases have decreased in recent years before you go tossing your tuna in the trash. (Whew!)
Finally, if you feed your cat a lot of tuna, he or she may gain weight. Although tuna is considered a healthy option for humans, the calories it contains have a much greater impact on our canine and canine companion friends. Although chubby kitties are endearing to look at, their extra weight poses serious health risks, including inflammation, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
If we feed our cats treats and snacks according to the 10 percent rule, we can ensure that they maintain a healthy weight and enjoy a longer life.
The Benefits of Tuna for Our Cats
Our feline friends love tuna and we love giving it to them because of the many health benefits it provides. Here’s an example:
Because it contains B12, C, B6, manganese, and potassium, tuna is a great food for boosting your immune system. The cat’s immune system will thank you later!
Tuna’s chemical components not only help the body get rid of toxins, but they also lower blood pressure.
Reduced Inflammation: Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents found in abundance in tuna. These aid in the elimination of inflammation- and cancer-causing free radicals.
Cats can benefit from tuna’s protein and amino acid content by putting on weight and getting stronger. Muscles and tissues are fortified by these nutrients as well.
Our feline friends will be pleased to learn that the tuna they adore can provide them with so many health benefits. On the other hand, there are consequences to eating too much tuna.
What Are the Risks of Feeding My Cat Tuna?
Tuna doesn’t contain the variety of nutrients that our cats need, so if they eat more tuna than cat food, they run the risk of malnourishment. In older cats, malnutrition is a leading cause of seizures.
The mercury in tuna can be toxic to our small feline friends if they eat too much of it. Damage to the nervous system can result in problems with coordination and balance, skin irritation, impaired vision, and trouble getting around on one’s feet.
Steatitis: Overfeeding our cats tuna can lead to a vitamin E deficiency and fatty liver disease. Steatitis (also called “yellow fat disease”) is an inflammation of fatty tissue that can result in a lump in the cat’s fatty tissue, fever, lethargy, pain when handled, abdominal pain, and other symptoms.
Thiaminase Overload: Thiaminase production is increased by eating tuna, which can block the body from making and distributing vitamin B1. This compromises our cats’ natural resistance to illness.
Tuna is so delicious to our cats that they may develop food aversions if they are fed it too frequently (this is especially common in kittens). A malnourished cat is one that prefers the most delicious treat to the food that contains the vitamins and minerals necessary for its growth and health.
Allergies to Fish and Tuna: Of 56 cats tested for food allergies, 13% had an adverse reaction to fish.
So Why Does My Cat Love Tuna?
Although tuna may not be the healthiest option for our feline friends, it is interesting to note that they all seem to love it with an unquenchable fervor. The reasons for this are still a mystery to researchers.
Cats may prefer salty, fishy foods because they may not have the taste receptors for sweet or bitter foods.
A cat’s diet should not include fish of any kind, let alone tuna. As a result, we can’t blame natural selection for their hunger.
We may not know why cats find tuna so appealing, but we can see from the opened can that they clearly do.
While there are some concerns about feeding tuna to cats, most experts agree that the occasional can won’t hurt and can actually help keep your cat healthy and happy.
Can Cats Eat Tuna Sometimes?
While too much and too frequent consumption of tuna can be harmful to feline health, the fish itself is not toxic to them. You may be wondering, then, whether or not you should feed your cat its preferred fish.
And the good news is?
Cats can safely eat tuna, but only in small amounts. Debra Eldredge, DVM at Senior Tail Waggers and award-winning author of Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, says it is best used to flavor food or for a cat who is temporarily off her food.
If your feline friend can’t get enough of the tasty fish, Eldredge warns that different types of tuna may contain varying amounts of nutrients—and mercury.
Straight tuna is poor in antioxidants like vitamin E, despite being high in unhealthy unsaturated fats. It’s also unbalanced, as she puts it. Mercury levels in tuna fish, particularly albacore, can be quite high.
(This is also why people shouldn’t eat tuna every day.) There is always the chance of an allergic reaction, as with any protein-based food. ”
Cooking tuna before feeding it to your cat is recommended to ensure a safe feed, just as it is with other fish like salmon. To your health!
How Much Tuna Can I Feed My Cat?
If given the chance, our cats would subsist entirely on canned tuna. Despite their preference for tuna, we know it’s not good for them to eat too much of it. The old adage goes something like, “All things in moderation.” ”
Juice from tuna packed in water can be added to the water bowl to encourage your cat to drink more often. Many cats enjoy tuna-flavored cat food, according to Eldredge. Just make sure to look for the words “balanced and complete” on the packaging. Don’t think of tuna as a treat for your cat, period. Instead, it can be used as a special treat or as a flavoring in moderation. ”