Can cats eat tuna? Advantages and possible health issues

It's no secret that cats adore fish, especially seafood. Tuna is a classic cat treat, and many people were feeding canned tuna to the cats until commercial cat food became popular. However, given that cats have unique dietary requirements, is it okay to give your cat tuna? If yes, what kind and quantity of tuna are OK for cats to eat?

The Advantages of Tuna for Cats


For most cats, tuna may be a nutritious treat when consumed in moderation. In actuality, tuna is a common element in commercial cat meals. Low in carbs and high in protein is tuna. The omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA, which are also found in tuna, can aid with inflammatory illnesses such as allergies, heart disease, some malignancies, and renal disease. They can also improve the general health of the skin and coat.

What are the possible health issues with tuna for cats?


Small quantities of tuna can be given to your cat as a treat and as an addition to its complete and balanced cat food, but too much of it can be dangerous. First off, a cat requires a precise mix of nutrients to be healthy, which tuna alone cannot offer. Cats require highly particular diets.

A claim on the packaging of premium commercial cat food is that it is “complete and balanced,” having been verified by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The term "complete and balanced" on a cat food label indicates that the cat will get all the nutrients required in the proper amounts for that specific life stage. This might include adult maintenance for cats that are already adults, growth and reproduction in kittens or nursing and pregnant females, as well as all life stages for cats of all ages.

Unbalanced vitamin E levels in tuna can lead to issues with fat inflammation or bleeding abnormalities. This has been seen in certain pregnant cats on a diet high in tuna. Furthermore, because tuna contains a lot of mercury, eating too much of it may cause your cat to accumulate too much mercury, which could result in mercury poisoning. Poisoning with mercury in cats can present as balance issues, walking difficulties, and incoordination; however, these symptoms are uncommon.

And lastly, cats may be obsessed with tuna. Perhaps even tastier than your cat's nutritious usual meal, tuna is incredibly delectable. When ordinary cat food is replaced with tuna, some cats will begin to show distaste for it and wait for you to give in so they can have more tuna. This can quickly worsen into feeding issues and unfavorable, fussy eating.

Can cats eat any kind of tuna?

Cat Eating Tuna

If you decide to sometimes give your cat a tuna treat, then you can either use fresh or tinned tuna. Choose tuna that has been canned in water rather than oil or with additional salt or flavorings. For your cat, chunk-light tuna was a better option than albacore, which has a higher mercury content. Keep an eye out for additional tuna sources your cat may be consuming. For example, if you're serving tuna-based canned food, adding extra tuna on top could be excessive.

It's ideal to offer fresh tuna cooked. Giving a cat raw fish could be detrimental, even though humans frequently eat sushi. Your cat is just as much at risk from eating raw fish as you are. Parasites and bacteria can be present in raw fish. Furthermore, thiaminase is an enzyme found in uncooked fish. This enzyme has the ability to degrade thiamine, an important B vitamin, in cats, which can result in thiamine insufficiency, a very serious illness. Cooking the tuna you want to give your cat eliminates the thiaminase as well as any bacteria or parasites.

How to Give Your Cat Tuna in a Safe Way


Before introducing any fresh foods to the cat's diet, it's a good idea to consult your veterinarian. If your veterinarian gives the okay, then feed the cat tuna according to the same instructions as you would any other treat. Snacks like tuna should not account for more than 10% of your cat's daily caloric intake. Ninety percent of your cat's diet should consist of premium, comprehensive, and balanced cat food.

Keep tuna as a rare treat for your cat rather than a daily food to prevent any of the possible problems that might result from overindulging, such as fussy eating habits.

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