Can Cats Eat Goldfish?

Those of us who have successfully raised goldfish and cats together in the same house know that it can be challenging. Cats are naturally attracted to fish and the brighter the coloring the more they want to play with them. It’s commonly believed that cats also love to eat fish but can cats eat goldfish safely with no ill effects?

This is a bit of a controversial subject among pet owners. Experts in cat nutrition have their own views on the matter. It’s good to become familiar with all points of view when attempting to answer such a question. To have an idea of all the potential issues surrounding the question, we conducted our own bit of research. Although it’s a rather bizarre question, it’s somewhat intriguing. We looked into this controversial question and here is what we discovered.

Our beliefs may not be correct

According to Petset, cats don’t routinely eat fish that are swimming around in a fishbowl. The fish that is found in popular cat food brands has been processed and it is mixed with other ingredients. The experts at Petset explain that there are potentially harmful toxins in fish that can cause harm to humans and cats if consumed raw. Most domestic cats don’t eat fish as a part of their diet and it’s not a part of their normal diet.

Why do cats try to catch goldfish?

Cats are attracted to the goldfish because of their darting movements and their bright colors. Cats’ natural curiosity and their playful nature cause a powerful interest in the colorful fish who make quick movements in the bowl or tank. Cats are also by nature, hunters. They are more inclined to play with their prey than they are to eat them immediately. If you’ve ever watched a cat play with a mouse you know what we’re talking about. Cats get a disturbing thrill out of watching their prey jump around and attempt an escape.

Fish is not a bad protein source for cats

The experts at Hills, claim that fish is a good source of protein for fish, but it should be used as a portion of a balanced diet without going too far with the portions. Some fish types are detrimental to certain vitamins and they can actually destroy them, therefore decreasing the nutritional value. The super nutrients are found in certain fish oils. This discounts the white fish which have less oils. Thse with the DHA omega 3 fatty acid are the best for brain health.

Can you feed your cat goldfish?

The popular cat welfare site POC warns that goldfish sourced from China have a higher likelihood of containing melamine or other potentially toxic substances. The experts on cat health and welfare concluded that technically, you can feed your cat goldfish if you’re certain that the fish have been obtained from an area that is free of potential toxins. The larger question is should you feed your cats goldfish?

Further investigation into the topic is that it’s a fairly bizarre practice. Feeding your cat goldfish could be unhealthy, but the truth of the matter is that cat’s don’t really want to eat a live goldfish. They prefer the commercial cat food that they have become accustomed to eating. Another consideration is that it’s cruel to feed a live creature to a cat when there are healthier and preferrable alternatives so why would you even want to do this? Your cat may enjoy playing with the fish while it’s flopping around. It’s a great source of entertainment for this natural predator, but it isn’t a natural food source.

Hidden dangers of eating goldfish

Joe Larson, also known as Crazy Cat guy points out that there is another reason you should avoid letting your cat eat a live goldfish, or a dead one for that matter. There is a real danger that your kitty will choke on one of the tiny bones in the fish. It could either get caught in his windpipe, or it could move through his digestive system and cause perforation in his intestines. It’s just not worth taking the chance with your cat’s health.

Conflicting points of view

Another Quora member countered Larson’s commentary by defending your right to feed your cat goldfish. She owns reptiles and feeds them a steady diet of live birds and other animals. She claims that there is nothing ethically or morally wrong with feeding your pets live creatures. The two are pet owners, however, not experts in the field. These comments stirred up a heated controversy over health concerns for the cats as well as for concerns over animal cruelty for the poor goldfish. Public opinion on the subject is divided, so we turn to the experts to settle the question about whether or not cats can eat goldfish. This leads us to our final conclusion on the matter.

Final thoughts

Can cats eat goldfish? The answer is yes, they can eat goldfish. There is not likely to be any lingering damage if it is only a portion of a balanced and nutritious diet. You must be aware however, that there is always the risk that your cat will be harmed by the tiny bones in the goldfish. If the fish is contaminated, your cat could be poisoned. These are the two main concerns with regard to cat welfare. When we consider the fact that cats really only wish to play with the goldfish and that it’s not their preferred food source, it begs the question of why we would consider feeding our goldfish to a cat? While some kitties will gobble a small goldfish down, others would simply play with it, bit it and bat it around until after considerable suffering, the creature dies. What’s the point?

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