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Is it true that seafood is bad for cats?

Is it true that seafood is bad for cats?


Cats need a nutritionally balanced diet like most other animals, and seafood is a perfectly suitable food source that can be used to make up that balanced diet for your feline friend. Is fish or seafood unsafe for cats? No.

Most cats can safely have fish and seafood as a part of their everyday diet. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about including seafood in your cat’s diet.


Fish can be a healthy part of a healthy cat’s diet

Like any meat source, fish is beneficial for most cats when given in moderation.

Fish contains a high protein content and many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can contribute to your cat’s health.

Cats are historically fierce predators who have retained their carnivorous dietary requirements in their domestic form today. Cats require meat to survive and generally do best on a balanced diet that incorporates various types of meat including fish, beef, poultry, and pork.


Can cats be allergic to fish?

While fish is normally a safe source of protein in the diet of a cat, it is possible for a cat to develop an allergy or sensitivity to fish or seafood the same as for any other food ingredient.

Fish allergy and sensitivity is uncommon in cats; beef and dairy are more common triggers.

In sensitive cats, consumption of fish or shellfish, such as oysters, shrimp, or mussels, can lead to an upset stomach or skin issues. These can include itchy, patchy hair loss and scabby sores. If your cat is displaying unusual symptoms, consult a veterinarian.

GI symptoms and skin irritation in cats can be caused by several other medical problems besides a food sensitivity or allergy, so it’s important to see a vet to get a diagnosis. 


Heavy metal exposure

Cats, like humans, are susceptible to health problems stemming from heavy metal exposure.

Seafood may contain high levels of mercury, pesticides, and other toxic elements.

Commercially prepared fish-based cat foods are not a risk factor for heavy metal toxicity, but you should consider the risk of heavy metal exposure if you feed your cat a homemade seafood diet.

Typically the risk of mercury or other heavy metal poisonings from fish and seafood come from eating excessive amounts of fish from contaminated locations.


The problem with table scraps

Many foods that are safe for humans are harmful to cats, so it’s best not to make a habit of sharing your table scraps with your feline friend.

Added seasonings like garlic or onion, flavorings, and high sodium content in some processed seafood meant for humans may be problematic for cats if present in large amounts.

In addition, pets should never have raw food. Raw foods can contain bacteria that can cause food poisoning. If you choose to give your cat a small amount of fish or shellfish as an occasional treat, make sure it is cooked thoroughly and unseasoned.


The bottom line

Fish is safe in moderation and can be an excellent part of a balanced feline diet. 

A well-formulated and veterinarian-approved cat food is the best source of nutrients for most pet cats and kittens. Although the cans are the same shape, feeding your cat a can of cat food that contains fish is a balanced and nutritious meal, while a can of tuna is not.

While cats may love fish and will not be harmed by it in moderate amounts (unless allergic or sensitive), feeding a cat a fish-only diet for an extended period of time will lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health problems. 

If you are unsure if your cat’s diet is providing them the right balance of nutrients, or if you suspect they may be experiencing a reaction to their food, you can consult an online vet 24/7 without even leaving your home.

A Vetster vet can give you current information on diet and nutrition advice for cats based on science, without the rumors.



Facts Check


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