Can Cats Eat Tuna?

Cat eating tuna

A tuna is one of the 15 species of saltwater fish that are classified under the tribe Thunnini. There are small tunas, with an excellent example being the bullet tuna that reaches a maximum length of 50 cm. However, people tend to be more familiar with bigger tunas, which are formidable predators in their own right. To name an example, yellowfin tuna can reach a maximum speed of 75 km per hour. Moreover, they can reach a weight of more than 400 pounds, though that falls short of both the Atlantic bluefin tuna and the Pacific bluefin tuna that can reach a weight of more than 990 pounds. Tuna is well-regarded as a food item by a wide range of people from a wide range of cultures. Something that has had a negative effect on their populations, as shown by the multiple species that are now being threatened with extinction because of overfishing. Some cat owners might assume that their cats can eat tuna without issue. After all, there is a widespread belief that cats are fond of fish, which has some truth to it. Unfortunately, it is an overstatement to say that cats can eat tuna without issue. For starters, tuna is a decent choice for cats from a nutritional perspective. It is high in protein while low in carbohydrates. Furthermore, tuna contains beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the skin, the coat, and even anti-inflammation. Even so, tuna isn’t some kind of super-food that can meet every single one of a cat’s nutritional needs on its own. As such, cat owners should feed tuna to their cats in moderation.

Consult a Veterinarian

It is always a good idea to consult the veterinarian before making changes to a cat’s diet. Just because something is fine for most cats to eat, that doesn’t mean that it will be fine for a specific cat to eat. On top of that, veterinarians are an excellent source of professional advice about what cats should and shouldn’t be eating from a nutritional perspective, so it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunities that they represent.

Some Cats Are Said to Have Become Addicted to Tuna

Different cats can react to the same food in very different ways. Unfortunately, there have been reports of cats having become addicted to the taste of tuna. As mentioned earlier, cats can’t get all of their necessary nutrients from just tuna, meaning that they need to eat other foods for the sake of their own wellbeing. Tuna-addicted cats are said to become more reluctant to eat normal cat food, which can make feeding them an exercise in frustration. There are some places out there that suggest that cat owners shouldn’t feed tuna to their cats at all because of this. However, even if cat owners don’t go that far, this is still one more reason for them to feed tuna to their cats in moderation.

Eating Tuna Can Cause Too Much Build-Up of Mercury

Mercury poisoning doesn’t happen a lot. However, it is possible for cats to get mercury poisoning by eating too much tuna. This is because tuna contain higher-than-normal levels of mercury, which makes sense when one remembers that these saltwater fish are predators that eat other fish on a regular basis. It is possible for mercury to be excreted from the body. However, this happens very slowly. Thanks to this, top-level marine predators can build up higher-than-normal levels of mercury, which can cause the same to happen to those who eat them. Eventually, this can cause mercury poisoning, thus resulting in symptoms such as a loss of balance, a loss of coordination, and problems with walking. If cat owners notice such symptoms in their cats, they should visit a veterinarian sooner rather than later. Whatever the cause of the problem happens to be, it is serious enough that it needs to be checked out.

Pay Attention to Cat Food Labels

Tuna is a quite decent food for cats. Furthermore, it is pleasant-tasting for them as well. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that tuna sees a fair amount of use in cat foods. Due to this, if cat owners are thinking about feeding tuna to their cats, they need to make sure that they are taking their cat food ingredients into account. It is very understandable for people to overlook food labels, but it is always a good idea for people to check out food labels so that they won’t be caught off-guard by such surprises.

Choose the Right Kinds of Tuna

Not every kind of tuna is suitable for feline consumption. For example, if cat owners are going to feed canned tuna to their cats, they should go for the tuna that has been canned in water rather than oil. This is because the oil can be bad for their cats’ digestion as well as other components of health, meaning that it should be avoided. Similarly, cat owners should avoid canned tuna that has had either salt or other ingredients added for extra flavor because some of those ingredients can be unhealthy for their cats as well. The source of the tuna can apparently have an effect on its mercury contents as well. However, this can be rather complicated, seeing as how it is determined by not just the tuna’s species but also the tuna’s place of origin. As a result, cat owners might not be able to find such information even if they put serious effort into it.

Cook Raw Tuna

Raw tuna can be eaten by cats. However, it should be cooked. This is because raw fish can contain parasites as well as other harmful microorganisms. Furthermore, raw tuna has thiaminase, which can cause a thiamine deficiency when it is eaten too much. Cooking should kill any harmful microorganisms while breaking down thiaminase. Cat owners should avoid putting anything in that could be harmful for their cats while cooking raw tuna.

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