There is no denying that most cats love tuna, but is it safe for them to eat? Should tuna be part of your cat’s diet? And, if so, how regularly should your cat be allowed to indulge in this fishy treat? Read on to discover everything you need to know about incorporating tuna into your cat’s diet and whether or not it is a good idea.

cat eating tuna

Tuna Should Be Viewed As A Treat

If you are going to give your cat tuna, it needs to be as a treat now and again. You need to recognise that this deep saltwater fish would never be part of a cat’s natural diet. It’s not like cats have easy access to tuna in the wild. Therefore, it should never be one of the main foods in your cat’s diet.

Cats can easily get addicted to tuna, but too much of a good thing can cause more harm than good, especially if they start refusing to eat anything else. After all, if we were to live off a diet of chocolate and chocolate alone, it may sound like heaven, but it would wreak havoc in terms of our health. The same applies to canned tuna that has been prepared for humans. There are a number of risks associated with this, including mercury poisoning and malnutrition because tuna does not have all of the nutrients that your cat needs. For example, it does not contain enough vitamin E, and consequently, this can cause steatitis, which is a condition that is also known as yellow fat disease.

Steatitis is a rare disease, which occurs when the fatty tissue is inflamed and this causes a lump to form under the surface of the skin. Although the condition is rare, it is common amongst cats that are fed too much tuna, especially red tuna. Some of the types and symptoms of steatitis are as follows:

  • A fever
  • Pain with handling
  • Abdominal palpation
  • Reluctance to play, jump or move
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lump in the subcutaneous tissue, i.e. the fatty tissue

Going back to mercury poisoning – this is a real problem for cats that eat too much tuna, and the consequences can be incredibly severe. Mercury poisoning can cause:

  • Vision impairment
  • Memory loss
  • Mental disturbance
  • Rashes
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of coordination

If you have been feeding your cat large quantities of tuna on a frequent basis because you did not realise it was bad for his or her health, make sure you visit a vet immediately if you have noticed any of the symptoms that have been mentioned. Depending on the level of poisoning, your vet may be able to give your cat supplements, herbs or antibiotics to assist.

There are a number of other risks that are associated with too much tuna too. Your cat may experience seizures and poor body control because of the low volumes of vitamin C, B6 and B12. As your cat eats more tuna and gets older, this condition will only get worse and worse. Not only this, but too much tuna leads to more Thiaminase being produced, which stops the distribution and production of vitamin B1 / Thiamine. This means that your cat will struggle to fight away diseases and attacks because of a weakened immune system. It is also important to recognise the large quantity of unsaturated fats that are contained within tuna, make it quite unhealthy. This will have a negative impact on your cat’s energy levels and immune system, as well as depleting essential vitamins, including B12 and E.

Purchase Tuna With Care

There are many different brands and types of canned tuna that are available today, and so you are going to need to purchase with caution if you intend on feeding the fish to your cat. It is important to make sure it is 100 per cent real tuna in water. Nowadays, there are lots of different types of fish that contain artificial fish flavouring. You need to stay away from these products, especially as they have been linked with hyperthyroidism.

Are There Any Benefits Associated With Giving Your Cat Tuna?

Despite the fact that your cat should not consume too much tuna, there are a number of benefits associated with the fish. However, you need to ensure your cat is given tuna in proper portions so that they experience the benefits and not the risks. It is best to avoid giving your cat tuna more than once per week. But what are the benefits associated with tuna when it is given in the correct quantities?

    • Enhances red blood cells and blood circulation because it contains a good amount of potassium, riboflavin, niacin and iron
    • Improves energy levels as a result of the thiamine, Vitamin B complex, and omega-3 fatty acids
    • Eradicates free radicals due to the levels of anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants
    • Boosts immune system thanks to the high concentration of potassium, manganese, and vitamins B12, C and 6
    • Assists with proper development and growth because it is rich in vital amino acids and protein

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding as to whether or not your cat should eat tuna. While there is no denying that a bit of tuna in moderation is fine, you need to make sure that tuna does not make up the bulk of your cat’s diet. As you now know, there are a number of health risks that are associated with this. Giving your cat a couple of a teaspoon of tuna every few days should not cause any harm, but larger quantities than this could be worrying, so make sure you only add tuna to their diet in the correct moderation.

Sources

  1. Fatty Tissue Inflammation in Cats, PetMD
  2. Is Tuna Bad For Cats?, Blog PetMeds
  3. Is Feeding Cats Tuna Safe?, VetInfo
Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!

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