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    Why Do Cats Like Fish? Is Fish Bad For Cats?

    Being domesticated since around 7500 B.C in the Near East, cats have left the wild then become an important part of the modern world as the best friend to humans, alongside with dogs. Cats are renowned for their cuteness, thus they have been the main protagonists of some cartoons, and were featured countless times in many others, such as these famous names: Tom, Garfield, Simon or Felix the Cat. These cartoons gave a strong impression to the audience, since the time when they were children, that cats love fish. Therefore, you may wonder, as a grown-up, do cats really like fish? The truth in real life might be a little bit different from what you expected.

    Do cats really like fishes and the reasons why

    Cats can be called by many different names, but definitely not the excellent swimmer. Despite that cats know how to swim, they would not be willing to dive deeply into the water to catch fishes. The truth is, cats love fishes not because they suppose to feel that way, but they were affected by these several reasons:

    Cats love fish because they were fed by human

    For a long time, it was believed that cats were first domesticated by the ancient Egyptians. There is a folk story stating that, around 2100 B.C, in ancient Egypt, cats were lured to civilians’ homes using fish. The story has not been proven, but it is surely that ancient cats in the old time didn't fish for themselves. Except for some breeds, the majority of cats hate to swim. Hence the love for fish isn’t ancestral as their ancestors weren't born with fish in their diet.

    Cats are natural opportunistic feeders, meaning they would take advantage of everything that would keep them alive. When humans fed food to cats, they would gladly accept as more energy and time used to hunt was saved. As humans offered fish to cats, it soon became a part of their diet.

    Cats love fish because they are opportunistic feeders

    Cats love fish because they are opportunistic feeders

    Nutrition and smell of a fish are what make them most appealing to cats

    Fish meat always has one of the strongest smells in the wild, and cats love it. This type of intense smell is alluring to cats. Despite the fact that domestic cats sometimes eat vegetables given by humans, they are typical carnivorous mammals, not omnivores, unlike humans. Thus the smells of meat that would make humans cover their noses are more attractive to cats.

    Furthermore, fish meals have all kinds of essential nutrients for cat bodies, namely protein, taurine and omega-3. Cats need protein, oil and fat in their diet.

    Unique cats eating sushi all over print t-shirt

    Unique cats eating sushi all over print t-shirt

    Is fish bad for cats? Be careful feeding fish to your cats!


    fish to the diet of your cats is a pretty good idea as it is primarily meat. However, according to the scientists, only several particular nutritional components from fish meat are worth feeding to your cats. Hence the diet for cats that includes fish has to be balanced out. And there are more factors that cat owners need to consider in order to feed their cats with fish.

    Read more: Cat Won’t Move From One Spot?

    The nutrition from fish meat that cats need and the harmful ones

    To begin with, fish is an ideal source of protein for either you or your cats. The protein from fish meat is easily digested by cat bodies, providing a good quantity in the fairly right ratios that cats need. Protein is a type of amino acid which builds tissues, regulates the PH balance, provides energy and forms all the enzymes, antibodies, and hormones that keep cat bodies operating properly.
    Another type of amino acid that is extremely vital to mammals is taurine as they support their bodies in regulating heart rhythm, digestion, reproduction, and vision. Cats can’t manufacture taurine from other amino acids like some mammals, thus they need to supplement their diet with fish for a quality taurine source.

    Fish meat is a good source of protein and taurine

    Fish meat is a good source of protein and taurine

    Fish oil is also an essential for cats with a lot of astounding benefits as it increases cats eyesight and intelligence. If you want to cut your cats from stiffening up, fish oil can also help. To explain this, scientists have looked way back to the time when the kittens were still in their mother’s womb. There is this particular fish oil - DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid - which has involved developing the brain and neural connections. Apparently, after birth, these effects still continue. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and arachidonic acid (AA) can’t be synthesized by the cat’s body, they need to come from an additional source of food. Therefore, you can feed the kittens during their first months with DHA to power up the brain development, so that they become more alert and adaptive.

    Fatty acid, particularly omega-3 and omega-6, contributes to the act of balancing cat’s bodies. Omega-3 can be found in fish meat, the more oily the fish is, the more omega 3 for cats. Omega-3 fatty acids also keep cats’ coated fur glossy, fluffy and shiny, depending on length and density of each cat breed’s coat. They also reduce the risk of cancer, inflammatory conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and some skin diseases.

    Find out more with Washington Health Department at: Health Benefits of Fish

    However, fish meat also contains mercury and other toxins from river or ocean water. There are some common fishes that owners choose to feed their cats like tuna and salmon, which actually have quite a high dose of mercury. Fish meat also contains too much phosphorus.

    In addition, fish meat doesn’t have all the required minerals and vitamins in a standard healthy and balanced diet. It lacks many minerals, such as calcium, iron and sodium, and some necessary vitamins like vitamin B and Vitamin E, despite the fact that fish meat is a good source of protein.

    The balanced diet with fish for cats

    A balanced diet for cats is important
    A balanced diet for cats is important, buy this shirt here

    First, we will take a look at what types of fish are fit for cat’ diets. High-fat would cause indigestion, thus cats like tuna, salmon, trout, herring, or sardines as they offer low to medium fat and rich in protein, taurine and omega-3. Other considerable worthy alternatives are halibut, cod, flounder and anchovies because they have less mercury in their meat.

    The origin of fish is also important. To avoid parasites and bacteria, don’t feed your cats with fish that was freshly caught from sweet water. Choose the fishes with trustworthy sources like from fish farms that were raised properly and have safety warranty. If you want to feed your cats with tinned food, be careful of fish that are stored in oil.

    Moreover, raw fish could cause many health problems and contain parasites, so it is recommended that only a small quantity is given to your cats raw. The reason is that the digestive system of domestic cats changes from time to time, unlike wild cats that can devour raw fish directly. Therefore, cooked fish suits home cats better. The way fish dishes have been cooked needs to be cautious as well. Boiling or grilling are the wise choices, not frying or smoking if you have raw fish.

    An easier option is to buy canned fish, especially tuna canned fish - the most common species in supermarkets. Remember to look at their labels to see if extra fish oil was added to the can. Canned fish in its own juices or in water are both good options, as long as they don’t have any other source of oil. For the best quality of canned meals, choose a reputable brand which you can trust their fish source, and estimate how much your cats can eat. It isn’t always necessary to buy a large can. Buy the right size so your cats would always eat fresh food.

    Canned fish is a good option

    Canned fish is a good option

    Too much fish meat for cats is dangerous. A thiamine deficiency is harmful to a cat's nervous system, along with urinary tract infections or hyperthyroidism. So just feed cats with fish meals several times per week, ideally two or three times. You can check out professional diets to modify the balanced meal yourself.

    Do cats have an allergy to fish and how to tell?

    Some cats, indeed, have an allergic reaction to fish meat. You should be careful with their allergic symptoms. Firstly, your cats will be intensely scratching, which may cause open wounds since their nails are too sharp. Next, the signs of fish allergy will be shown on the skin as cats would have skin inflammation: some small areas will turn red and the fur will fall off. Other symptoms that may show up are vomiting, diarrhea, wheezing, sneezing and coughing. In this case, take them to the vet right away and get rid of fish out of your cats’ diet immediately.

    Cats can be allergic to fish

    Cats can be allergic to fish

    Watch this video for more types of foods that are toxic to cats:


    To sum up, cats do really like fish, but please remember that fish does not naturally fit in the cats’ diets, but it is the result of the domesticated process of humans for nearly ten thousand years. They might be due to the domesticating method of luring wild cats to their house with fish by the ancient Egyptians. Cats might hunt for fish in the water if it is in their reach, not willing to swim far out to catch fish.

    Fish meat is a great source of fat, protein, taurine, oil and omega-3. However, it has some toxins like mercury and many other drawbacks. Therefore, feed your cats with a limited amount of fish meat and do add fish to cats’ diets too regularly. Moreover, you need to choose the type of fish carefully and balance out the amount of nutrition, especially avoid giving your cats canned fish with extra sources of oil. Cats might have an allergy to fish.

    Thank you for reading our blog. And since you’re here, if you’d love to stay connected to your favorite animal, check out Hyperfavor’s awesome Cat Hoodies category.

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