can cats eat tuna?

Can Cats Eat Tuna?

Cats are obligate carnivores that obtain their nutritional needs from animal proteins. But can cats eat tuna? You’ll find yourself asking this question especially if you are a tuna fish sandwich or sushi and your cat is begging you for a bite. Humans can eat canned tuna, cooked tuna, or even raw tuna. But is it safe for your cat?

Most cats can safely eat tuna. However, tuna should be fed to cats in moderation and only under certain conditions. There are instances where feeding tuna to your cat may put your feline friend’s health at risk. As such, it is always important to consult your veterinarian before sharing any tuna with your cat. 

When Is Tuna Safe For Cats?

When eaten in moderation, tuna should be safe for most cats. However, it should not be part of your cat’s regular diet. Tuna is rich in protein and will provide your feline friend with rich servings of omega 3.

However, tuna will not provide other nutrients and vitamins that would be essential for the growth and development of your kitty. For this reason, eating too much tuna can lead to nutrient deficiency among other health issues in your cat. 

In addition, when offering tuna to your cat, you should ensure that you are giving it real tuna. This is because there are some types of tuna available containing artificial fish flavors. These are not healthy and are often linked to hyperthyroidism in cats.

It is therefore important to ensure that the tuna you get contains no additives and chemicals.

Also, if you plan on giving your cat canned tuna, avoid the tuna that’s in oil. Instead, go for the tuna that’s in water. Tuna that’s in water is convenient since you can use the water on your cat’s regular food to encourage her appetite if she’s picky with her food. You can then gradually wean her off it so that she doesn’t become dependent on the tuna flavor. 

If you plan to feed your cat fresh tuna prepared from your counter, ensure that all the bones are removed and that it is unseasoned.

You should avoid garlic, spices, and any other additives since they are toxic to cats and are harmful to their health. Cooked bones, on the other hand, can splinter or shatter, choking your cat or even causing damage to her digestive system. 

You should also ensure that the tuna is thoroughly cooked before serving your cat.

If you plan to have your cat on a raw diet, you should first consult your veterinarian who will advise you on the proper ways of preparing raw food, to minimize the risks of you and your cat being affected by the bacteria and parasites present in raw meat.  

When Is Tuna Bad For Cats?

Although your cat can safely eat tuna, you shouldn’t offer it to her on a regular basis.

Even though tuna is a fish, it is a deepwater fish that wouldn’t normally be part of a cat’s diet. As a meal, tuna does not meet all the nutritional requirements of a cat. Ideally, it should only be fed occasionally to your cat as a treat, or mixed in with a regular meal on occasion.

The following are circumstances where tuna may be harmful to cats:

Tuna addiction

Most cats find the smell and taste of tuna to be irresistible. Feeding your cat tuna regularly can lead to addiction, making them refuse to eat any other food. 

Overfeeding tuna

Tuna does not meet all the nutritional requirements necessary for your cat’s growth and development. Overfeeding your cat tuna may lead your cat to suffer from vitamin E deficiency, affecting your cat’s health. 

Mercury poisoning

Tuna contains small amounts of mercury. Feeding your cat tuna over a long period of time may cause the mercury to accumulate leading to poisoning. 


Some cats are allergic to tuna. If your cat starts exhibiting signs of an allergic reaction such as itching, swelling, coughing, or sneezing, do not give it to her again.

How Cats Can Eat Tuna?

Before offering tuna to your cat, it is important to first consult your veterinarian. You will be given advice on how often to offer your cat tuna, and how to prepare it. If your vet gives you the green light, offer your cat the tuna in very small portions at first to see how they react. If they exhibit any symptoms of an allergic reaction, you should stop giving her tuna. 

Tuna should only be an occasional treat for your cat. A teaspoon of tuna a few times a week should be enough. Be sure to read the labels to ensure that the tuna contains no additives or chemicals. It’s also important to ensure that the tuna is boneless and contains no spices whatsoever. 

Looking for more information about your feline’s diet? Check these articles out!

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