Fish for Cats: The Pluses, Minuses & Origins

You may have heard that fish is a good source of protein for cats. Fish is a common ingredient in commercial cat foods, and many people believe that it has health benefits for cats.

However, there are also some drawbacks to feeding fish to cats. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of Fish for Cats. We will also look at the various types of fish safe for cats to eat. So, should you get a Fish for your cat? Read on to find out!

Short History of Cats and Fish

Cats have a long history of living among humans who hunted fish, so it seems sensible that they would develop a like for fish. According to research, cats initially emerged in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago.

The old tradition of taming cats likely developed around this period since cats helped control rodent infestations frequent in human settlements at the time.

Fishing became an essential method to make a livelihood throughout time, and cats naturally followed.

Cats’ sharp senses and natural hunting instincts have proven beneficial in assisting fishing villages in controlling rats and snakes. Naturally, many fishers relied on their feline companions to preserve their catch.

Ancient Egypt, Cats, Rodents & Fish

Who doesn’t like fish tales? How about a fish tale with our feline friends? Cats and fish have a long and convoluted history.

Fishers often gave fish to cats in Ancient Egypt. Cats naturally seek tiny prey, and fish provide vital nutrients and protein.

Rats were a severe concern in Ancient Egypt, damaging crops and creating food shortages. The Egyptians controlled the rat population by feeding cats fish.

Strangely, not all cats like shellfish. While most cats adore tuna or salmon, others are sensitive to it. So before you give your feline a taste of the sea, consult your Vet.

To keep vermin populations in control, cats are specially equipped as predators. Given their natural predatory drive, it’s easy to understand why the Egyptians valued cats for defending their crops from ravenous rats and mice.

Some even claim this similar impulse contributed to the habit of dangling fish outside houses to entice cats to become faithful mates. After all, cats typically hang around fish ponds and streams looking for a nice meal.

One thing is sure: despite their reputation for generating domestic mayhem, cats have long proved to be significant pest deterrents. Whether it’s ancient Egypt or the present day, the link between cats and fish will undoubtedly stay intriguing for years.

Other Reasons Cats Like Fish

cat tempted by fish
Cat tempted by fish

Cats are fascinated by fish, nibbling at the edges of their bowls or checking out the ocean from a distance. But what is it about fish that makes them so appealing to cats? One reason may be that cats and fish share a common history.

While cats are most closely related to other wild felines like leopards and tigers, they also have some degree of genetic ties to The Fishing Cat, an Asian wild cat that evolved alongside the Leopard. This cat has an innate love of water, but it also boasts an impressive ability to swim long distances, often diving for its food further from shore than other large cats.

There are other reasons why cats might love fish beyond their evolutionary connection. 

Their sharp noses and susceptible vomeronasal organs mean that they have excellent senses of smell and taste, which drive them crazy with a desire for all things seafood-related.

Additionally, the Jacobson’s organ in cats’ mouths plays an essential role in their sense of taste – it allows them to pick up on even the faintest traces of seafood on their tongues or in the air around them. One thing is clear: cats adore fish, and there’s no changing that.

Fish is a common ingredient in commercial cat foods, but is it suitable for cats?

Fish is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and it also contains other elements that cats need. However, fish also contains mercury and other pollutants that may damage cats. Most commercial cat food is verified by The Pet Food Industry Standards Council and the New Zealand Pet Food Manufacturers Association agencies under NZ Ministry for Primary Industries.

The standards cover chilling or freezing from catching or harvesting to arrival at the processing premises/ handled in a manner that minimises contamination and deterioration. Fish is an integral part of a cat’s diet, but it is vital to ensure that the fish you give to your cat is fresh and free of contaminants.

As any cat lover knows, commercial cat foods can be expensive. And as any budget-conscious cat lover also knows, it can be tempting to save money by feeding your feline friend the same thing as fried fish you’re eating for dinner.

After all, cats are carnivores, so they must like meat, right? As it turns out, there are a few things to consider before sharing your seafood supper with Snuggles.

The pros and cons of feeding fish to cats?

There’s no denying that cats love fish. The smell, texture, and taste are irresistible to our feline friends. But is fish perfect for cats? The answer, like so many things in life, is it depends.

Fish can also help boost cognitive function and improve joint health. So there are some benefits to including fish in your cat’s diet.

However, there are also some concerns to consider.

  • For one thing, fish can be a source of harmful microplastics. These tiny pieces of plastic can build up in the body and lead to health problems.
  • Additionally, fish often contain high mercury and other heavy metals, dangerous for both cats and humans alike. So how can you avoid feeding your cat the fish that may contain these harmful substances?

For these reasons, it’s essential to be selective about the fish you feed your cat. Look for commercially prepared foods free of contaminants, or prepare your meals using safe, healthy recipes. With a bit of knowledge and preparation, you can help ensure that your cat enjoys all the advantages of a delicious seafood dinner without any drawbacks.

What types of fish are safe for cats to eat?

cat eating tuna from a tin
Cat eating tuna from a tin:

While cats are notorious for being picky foodies, they will happily consume most varieties of fish like:

  • Anchovies (canned)
  • Tuna (canned)
  • Sardines (canned) – watch the salt!
  • Shellfish
  • Salmon
  • Squid or Octopus
  • Seaweed
  • Cod

Many cat owners find that their fur babies go crazy for canned fish. However, it’s essential to watch the salt content in sardines, as too much salt can be harmful to cats. If you’re looking for a flavoured fish option, your cat is likely to turn up its nose.

Cats prefer their fish plain and simple. Mullet, cod, and salmon are all excellent choices, but you may find that your cat loves them even more, when they’re unseasoned.

When it comes to bones, it’s best to avoid giving them to your cat altogether. If you’re preparing fish leftovers for your feline friend, chop the skin and carefully remove any bones or scales. Most commercially-prepared fish cat food is safe for felines to eat.

The benefits of fish oil for cats

Cats are picky eaters, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the best possible nutrition. Just like their human counterparts, cats can benefit from omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, which are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids essential for cats of all ages.

The benefits of fish oil for cats include:

  • Supporting dry, flaky skin.
  • Slowing the development of renal disease.
  • Reducing arthritic pain.
  • Enhancing neurologic and cognitive development.
  • Reducing triglycerides.

The recommended dose of fish oil for cats is 40 mg. As with anything, it’s important not to overdo it – too much fish oil can cause issues. So give your cat the gift of fish oil and watch them thrive!

Fish Allergies in cats

Fish Allergies in cats are more common than you might think. Fish Allergies are one of the most common allergies in cats. Fish Allergies can cause various skin symptoms, including scratching, biting, licking, hair loss, and skin rash. Fish Allergies can also cause swelling in the face and limbs, hives, and inflammation in the paws. If you suspect your cat has a Fish Allergy, you can do a few things to help relieve his symptoms.

First, from your Vet, grab an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin). Second, bathe your cat to relieve itching. Finally, keep your home clean of dirt and dust and regularly wash your cat’s bedding. You can help your cat feel more comfortable and ease his Fish Allergy symptoms by taking these steps.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Fish?

While people feel frying fish kills nutrients, this is not necessarily the case if you prepare it correctly. Frying fish may boost the bioavailability of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids for cats. So if you’re seeking to offer your cat a nutritious supper, don’t be scared to fry up some fish. Follow a few simple guidelines.

First, pick white fish that is baked, grilled, or boiled. Avoid adding excessive salt and spice. And last, be cautious not to overcook the fish. Doing so will diminish the number of vital fish oils and omegas, making them less nutritionally beneficial. But as long as you follow these tips, cooked fish makes a terrific supplement to your cat’s diet.

What about Raw Fish Bones for my Cat?

Our feline friends love to nibble on anything they can get their paws on, as any cat owner knows. So it’s no surprise that they’re often drawn to the irresistible taste of fish. However, you may be wondering – are fish bones bad for cats?

The short answer is yes. Fishbones can pose a severe health risk to cats, as they can easily lodge in the throat or digestive tract and cause choking implications or other internal damage. Moreover, cooked fish bones are more dangerous than raw ones, as they tend to splinter more easily. So if you’re planning on giving your cat some fishy scraps, be sure to remove any bones first.

Of course, not all cats will have an adverse reaction to fish bones. Some lucky kitties seem to be able to digest them just fine. However, it is always advisable to err on caution and play it safe by keeping the bones out of reach.

Raw Fish Skin for Kitty?

Raw fish skin is a great treat for cats and an excellent source of protein. Cats love the taste of raw fish, and the skin is packed with nutrients that are essential for their health. Fish skin is also tough, which helps to keep cats’ teeth clean and healthy.

When treating your cat’s raw fish skin, keep these points in mind:

  1. Make sure that the skin is spotless and free of parasites.
  2. Only provide your cat with small pieces of skin at a time to avoid choking.
  3. Supervise your cat while eating, as they may try to swallow large amounts of skin whole.

With a little bit of care, raw fish skin can be a delicious and healthy treat for your cat.

Fish for Cats out West Auckland

Fish is an essential part of a healthy diet for both cats and dogs, but it can be tough to find a reliable source of seafood if you live in West Auckland. Raw Essentials is the best place to buy fish for your cats, whether you live in Hobsonville, New Lynn or Kumeu.

They sell Pilchards, which are great for pets with skin or joint problems, and freeze-dried salmon, which is suitable for all pets. Plus, they’re a New Zealand-based company so you can be sure that their seafood is fresh and sustainably sourced.

So if you’re looking for the best place to buy fish for your cats, look no further than Raw Essentials!

Final Thoughts on Fish for Cats

Our feline furry friends can be very particular about their diets, as any cat lover knows. While some cats turn their noses up at anything other than dry kibble, others develop a taste for more exotic fare, including fish. Many people assume that it must be a proper meal because cats like fish to eat regularly.

However, there are a few reasons why fish is not the best choice for your cat’s daily diet.

For starters, raw fish can carry harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning in cats. Furthermore, enzymes in uncooked fish can degrade over time, making the nutrients less available to your cat. If you choose to feed your cat some fish, it’s best to cook it or make sure it’s fresh.

Salmon, tuna, and cod are all excellent seafood choices for cats, as they’re high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, they encompass various vitamins and minerals that can help keep your cat healthy and strong.

So when it comes to feeding fish to cats, the final word is to proceed with caution.

Sources of Information

Solomon, D. D. (2018, August 15). Fish Oil for Dogs and Cats: Six Benefits. Animal Medical Center of Chicago. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from

Wilson, J. (2022, May 21). Home. Cat-World. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from

Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. (2021, August 3). Fishing cat. Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from

Hill, J. (2010). Cats in Ancient Egypt | Ancient Egypt Online. Ancient Egypt Online. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from

Bhuyan, M. S. (2022). Effects of Microplastics on Fish and in Human Health. Frontiers. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from

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