Salmon is considered a healthy fish for us humans to eat. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and many essential vitamins. Because cats seem to love fish, you might want to feed your cat some salmon as well. That brings us to a question, can cats eat salmon?
Can Cats Eat Salmon? The Short Answer
In short the answer is yes, cats can eat salmon, but only in moderate amounts and not too often. Salmon definitely cannot replace regular cat food.
There’s actually a few problems with feeding your cat salmon and that’s why it is for the best not to feed your cat salmon too often. It’s also necessary to cook the fish before feeding it your cat and make sure it doesn’t contain any bones.
The Problems with Feeding Salmon to Your Cat
Fish Allergy in Cats
As a lot of cats absolutely seem to love the smell and taste salmon and other fish, it might be hard to believe, but fish is not actually a natural part of a feline diet — cats do not eat fish in the wild. And perhaps because of that, it’s common for cats to be allergic to fish and seafood.
The most common signs of a food allergy in cats are vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing and itching of the skin, ears and tail. If you notice any of these signs in your cat after feeding her salmon or other fish, then there’s a good chance that your cat is allergic to fish.
In that case, consult with a veterinarian to determine whether your cat really is allergic to fish or were the symptoms caused by something else. That’s important because if your cat is allergic to fish and seafood, then you need to avoid feeding your cat commercial cat food containing fish as well.
Salmon Wouldn’t Provide Your Cat with All of the Nutrients She Needs
While salmon is a great source for many important nutrients, it doesn’t offer everything your cat needs to be healthy, because of that salmon should only be fed to a cat as a treat and not as the main food.
One problem with salmon is that it wouldn’t provide your cat with enough taurine. Taurine is an amino-acid that is one of the most important nutrients for cats. Taurine deficiency in cats can cause blindness and other serious health issues.
Salmon actually does contain some taurine, but because a lot of it is destroyed by cooking, it will fail to provide your cat with adequate amount of this essential amino-acid.
Cooking, of course, destroys a lot of taurine in animal muscle tissue as well, but because chicken and animal muscle tissue contains a lot more taurine than salmon and other fish, cooked chicken or animal meat is still a lot better source of taurine for cats than cooked salmon.
Salmon Is Okay for Cats as a Treat
While salmon should not be the basis of your cat’s diet, it is still okay as a treat. Salmon still does contain a lot valuable nutrients for cats. Salmon is an excellent source of Vitamin B-12, Vitamin B-6 and protein.
The only problem with feeding salmon to your cat as a treat is that cats can become addicted to salmon and refuse to eat other food. However, this problem can be avoided by not feeding your cat salmon too often. A few times a month would be safe.
Can Cats Eat Canned Salmon?
It’s best to avoid giving your cat canned salmon. Canned salmon can be tasty, but it contains an unhealthy amount of sodium and other food additives that are harmful to cats.
Can Cats Eat Raw Salmon?
Because cooking destroys taurine content in fish and meat, it would make sense to feed your cat fresh raw salmon, but is it safe for cats to eat raw salmon?
The answer is no, it’s not safe for cats to eat raw salmon. For one, raw fish and meat is likely to contain bacteria and cause food poisoning in cats. For two, eating raw fish can lead to thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency in cats. That is because raw fish contains an enzyme called thiaminase, which destroys thiamine.
Thiamine deficiency in cats is a serious problem, which can lead to nerve damage and vascular injury. It is a rare condition, but common among cats that are regularly fed raw fish.
So, if you are going to feed your cat salmon, it would be for the best to cook the fish before offering it to your feline friend. Remember, though, that cats cannot tolerate a lot of salt, so go easy on the salt.
What about Smoked Salmon?
Smoked salmon too is not safe for cats. The problem with smoked salmon and other smoked fish is that they contain excessive amounts of sodium.
Before salmon is smoked it is cured with salt. And because of that smoked salmon contains a lot of sodium. Usually around 700-800 milligrams per 100 grams, which would be a dangerous amount for a cat.
Conclusion on Salmon
Contrary to popular belief, salmon and other fish is not healthy for cats to eat on regular basis. It is still okay to give your cat salmon as an occasional treat, but make sure it is cooked and doesn’t contain any bones.