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You may have seen your cat with their eyes fixed on a fish bowl or an aquarium, following the fish around. Or you may have been shocked by how fast your cat gobbles down his meal if it’s fish flavored. Yes, most cats love fish, which is surprising to many since it is not part of their natural diet. Somehow, cats have developed a taste for fish and this raises the question if these water creatures are even healthy for our feline friends in the first place.
Cats, as a species, have never been dependent on fish as a primary food source. This means that even their ancestors did not eat fish as they evolve. So how did they come to love it so much? Some say the Egyptians, who first kept cats as pets, used to lure them to their homes using fish. While this may or may not be true, one thing is for sure – most domestic cats today love fish. But just how healthy are they? And how often should you feed it to them?
Fish is a good source of proteins for cats, as is the case with humans. So, as long as you feed your cat cooked fish every now and then, it shouldn’t be a problem. You can even give them canned tuna once in a few months. The key here is to remember to give anything fish-related as a treat, not as a part of their regular diet. Also, if you are planning to feed fish to your cat, always remember to remove all the bones thoroughly as it can get stuck in their throat or may cause gastrointestinal issues later.
Why shouldn’t you feed fish regularly to your cat? Well, there are several reasons. One is because consuming too much fish can lead to thiamine deficiency in your cat. Thiamine is a vitamin B1 which is essential for your cat to function normally and healthily. Raw fish contains an enzyme that breaks down this particular vitamin, leading to thiamine deficiency. This can lead to loss of appetite, convulsions, coma and even death.
Fish usually contains high levels of toxins such as mercury, which can result in the development of hyperthyroidism as well as Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). In addition, a lot of allergies in cats are related to consumption of fish. In fact, according to a study, fish is the third most common food that causes allergic reactions in cats, coming in behind dairy products and beef.
So, for the best interest of your feline friend, you probably should limit the amount of fish they consume even though they love to gulp it all down.