Yes, tuna is a great go-to, cat food on a busy morning. It’s just one easy-open can lift away and kitty will be hungry no more.
Besides, cats just love tuna just as we humans love to whip up some hearty tuna salad sandwich for ourselves. But just because little Fumble likes something, does not mean he gets to eat that every day.
As responsible cat owners, we are always concerned of everything we allow our pets to take. This is why cat diet research is very important.
At this point of time, I’m going to ask you my fellow feline lovers.
Can Cats Eat Tuna?
Well, the answer is yes, but, the real question delves into something much deeper than that. So if you’re ever worried that your cat may be having too much of the fish, feel free to read on.
Cats and Tuna
Tuna melts, tuna casseroles, tuna pies – I don’t know about you but I personally am a big fan of tuna. The popularity of tuna, however, lies not only in its taste value but because it is in fact a very healthy food.
But first of all, let us make this clear. We’re not talking about the fresh raw ahi sushi grade tuna. I’m here to discuss about processed canned tuna and not the kind from a fancy Japanese restaurant.
Now that it’s settled, let’s get started.
Tuna is low in saturated fat. It is also very rich in protein, if you still didn’t know that. The good news doesn’t stop there, though.
A can of tuna is also rich in Vitamin B6, which improves movement, memory, energy and blood flow. It also contains Phosphorus, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium which serves a number of critical functions for the body.
However, this type of food is most suited for the human body. You should not confuse yourself with processed tuna food in can for humans with the tuna flavoured cat food for cats.
Tuna for Humans and Tuna-flavored cat food
This is not a tomayto-tomahto, potayto-potahto matter. If it is, why not try serving yourself a plate of your pet’s favorite cat food to get the idea of what it is like?
That is a little off point, though.
On a serious note, there is an important reason to why grocery stores have a special place for cat food and a separate section for regular human food. That is, they are not meant to be interchanged simply because there is a whole lot of difference.
Tuna-based pet food consists about 5 percent of all the canned pet foods. A variety of brands and formulas exist in the market.
Usually, tuna for humans are usually much cheaper than tuna based cat food. That is why you might get tempted to buy the more affordable one for the use of everyone (including the cat) at home. But get this. Tuna for humans and tuna-flavored cat food do not contain the same nutritional contents.
Tuna for humans only has plain tuna because it is assumed that we eat a variety of other foods which will provide us all the other nutrients absent in a serving of tuna.
On the other hand, cat food manufacturers develop a special formula to make kitty goodies which are encompassing of all the nutritional values our cat needs. It is their job to make tuna-flavored cat food as healthy as possible without dangerous quantities of magnesium and mercury.
If you think you could save a few cents buying the kind of tuna which is not meant for your cats, you might want to think again. Trips to the veterinarian and medication will cost you way more if you do not follow these diet tips.
Another friendly reminder, you should probably stick to the dry type of tuna-flavored canned food for cats. Tuna for humans are usually soaked in oil and has way more sodium which is not very good for cats.
This shows that commercially available tuna for humans and tuna-flavored cat food caters to very different consumers with very different dietary needs.
Can cats eat tuna?
Fortunately, tuna is not pure pussycat poison. Kitty could still experience the delightful taste of processed tuna, as what was mentioned earlier. There is more. Cats can even benefit in eating tuna!
- Tuna is a great source of protein. Protein plays a role in the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.
- In fact, tuna contains amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids which prevent high blood pressure and other cardiac problems. But don’t get their paws into an entire bowl of tuna yet, buddy.
- You must remember that tuna should be fed in moderation.
- It should be an occasional treat and should not be part of his regular main diet.
The incorporation of tuna to the cat’s diet simply needs to be strictly controlled. So if you’re the type of owner who likes to spoil their cats, you might want to take it down a notch, just on the tuna giving.
As cat owners, we should also maintain the habit of checking cat food labels especially those which are fish based. Read the list of ingredients and find out if it is pure tuna packed in water. As long as you keep this in mind, your cats will purr just fine.
Can cats eat canned tuna?
Answer: They can, but, should not
Tuna has been popularly associated as part of the cat diet. Ironically, canned tuna poses quite a threat to your cat’s health. Commercially produced canned tuna sounds like a convenient pet food, it is unfortunately not made for your cat’s consumption.
- First and foremost, a vast percentage of cats are allergic to tuna. Tuna contains high levels of histamine which will cause a reaction to our kitties. Feline allergies are usually characterized by itching and other skin problems. A responsible cat owner should run a food trial before giving something to their pet for the first time.
- Number two, a tuna diet in itself will most likely cause malnutrition. Cats need iron, vitamin B, vitamin E, copper and calcium. You may feed it to your cat in moderation but tuna alone cannot provide our cats all the nutrients they need. Every now and then, you may give it to them as a treat but it should not be served on a daily basis without other supplementary food.
- Third, it could lead to Thiamine deficiency or simply the lack of Vitamin B1. This may result to vomiting, loss of appetite and eventually, weight loss. Tuna also contains enzymes called Thiaminase which hinders the absorption of Thiamine in the cat’s system. Not only is it short of Vitamin B1. Tuna also blocks the nutrient from entering our cat’s body. Not good at all!
- Fourthly, an all-tuna diet may result to Steatitis or Yellow Fat Disease. Symptoms include but not limited to weakened muscles, lack of coordination, depressed appetite and fever. Cats who are suffering with this ailment is very sensitive to touch because of inflammation and necrosis of fat under their skin. Poor Felicity.
- Fifth, eating tuna regularly may cause mercury poisoning. The particular fish contains high levels of mercury which our beloved feline pets cannot tolerate. Mercury poisoning is no joke. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, mercury poisoning in cats may show signs of over-excitement, irritability and incoordination. It may even worsen into something much more serious as convulsions, stiff hind legs, tremors and blindness. Some breeds are more prone to this than the others. It is best to consult a veterinary expert in case you notice any of the symptoms.
- Sixth, mid-life cats living on a canned food, fish-based diet are likely to develop feline hyperthyroidism. This condition has reached epidemic proportions like kidney diseases in cats. Hyperthyroidism is the enlargement of the thyroid glands in a cat’s neck cause by the overproduction of thyroid hormones known as T3 and T4. Symptoms include increased appetite, thirst for water and alertness. You should also notice a fast heart rate, matted or greasy hair coat, and an upset stomach. The proper functioning of the feline thyroid is important because it is the regulator of your cat’s metabolism.
- Seventh, there is a possibility for cats to get addicted to tuna. The fish has a very strong taste and smell and could get your cat really hooked on it. You may never see him get his whiskers near any kind of food other than the fish. Veterinarians would use the term “tuna junkies” to refer to the cats who have this condition, which, I must say, is really catchy. This obsession to tuna will result to a number of vitamin deficiencies listed above.
- Lastly, your cat will find it difficult to digest tuna meat. Too much consumption will most likely result to an upset stomach. This is because they were used to eating wild foods back in the ages when cats were still undomesticated hunters. Tuna was not very much accessible then because this particular fish survives in the deep parts of the ocean. You would have never seen a Saber-tooth tiger sailing on that area. Turns out, cats do not have the evolutionary ability to easily process tuna meat.
Can Tuna Fish Cause CRF in Cats?
The list of concerns does not stop there, though. Tuna fish is also suspected to cause CRF or Chronic Renal Failure in cats.
CRF is a disease of the kidneys and is most common in cats of the late ages and is characterized of frequent drinking and urination. Symptoms also include depressed appetite and weight loss.
When cats have CRF, they suffer irreparable damage on their kidneys, leaving them unable to function on its brand new form. What happens is that the kidneys are now almost incapable of filtering the waste out of the cat’s blood leaving all the bad stuff inside her body.
Even though there is no proven correlation between tuna and CRF, we should always be wary of everything we feed our cats.
Bottom line: Cats and tuna
Popular media has demonstrated the tight relationship cats have with their can of tuna.
I grew up following animated shows, reading story books, and watching advertisements where cats would do everything just to reach the tinned fish on the top shelf. We have seen it a lot and it appeared like tuna is an obvious choice of food for kitties.
Lots of people have taken the liberty to feed their cats some tuna. That does not mean they are bad humans and should be punished under the cat constitution. It is true. Tuna can be toxic to cats… but, only in excessive amounts. It is safe to give them some tuna in case you run out of cat food.
Then again, too much of it will pose the threat of feline allergy, malnutrition, Thiamine Deficiency, Steatitis, Mercury Poisoning, Hyperthyroidism, Addiction and Indigestion. It sounds a little scary when I put it that way but it should not be as long as you are kept reminded with the rule of thumb. That is, they should only have it once a week or maybe twice at most.
Otherwise, they may get so used to eating tuna that they will refuse taking anything else for lunch. We do not want that. If we keep things in moderation, there is nothing to be concerned about tuna at all. I know your cat would love to get a taste of tuna every once in a while. You might even share a tuna dinner together. Sounds like a lot of fun!
I hope this article took one less worry out of your mind. I love helping out my fellow cat owners!
If you enjoyed the read, click share and help other feline lovers you know keep their cats healthy and happy! I would also like to hear from you in the comments section. Say hello to your cat from me!