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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21448
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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Is salmon, shrimp and tuna bad for cats

Resolved Question:

I have some very spoiled cats (9 of them) and once a day they eat salmon, once a day they eat tuna and once a day they eat shrimp. I also provide them dry and moist food (fancy feast, friskies, etc.) so they don't eat salmon, shrimp and tuna exclusively. Is this bad for a pet? I don't want to make my babies sick but they do seem to love thier seafood. Thanks!
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 10 years ago.
Hi, and thanks for your question.

Can you tell me how much salmon, tuna and shrimp they eat each day?

Is this fresh fish/seafood that you cook for them, or canned? If it's fresh, how is it prepared?

How long have you been feeding them the seafood?

Are they eating, drinking, using the litterbox and playing/active/alert as usual?

Thanks for any additional detail.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: In terms of salmon - they eat chicken of the sea canned salmon and have a tablespoon of that daily. The tuna, they don't really eat that regularly, they mainly have the tuna juice but if they do eat it the amount is probably a teaspoon and not all of the cats eat that.

The shrimp is frozen shrimp from wal-mart that I thaw out daily. Between all of them they probably eat half to 3/4 of a bag daily. I've been feeding them this for about a year and a half.

They all seem to be very healthy, they don't go outside and are playing, alert, use thier litter boxes frequently. I do have one cat that is appearing sluggish the past week but I think he has hairballs because he has been trying to cough them up. I started giving him laxatone last night (he doesn't eat the tuna or shrimp, just the salmon)

The reason I'm asking is that I see conflicting information about this on the web - some people say it is okay to give your cats these things and some don't. About 3 months ago I had to take a new addition to the household to the vet because he was running a fever for no apparent reason and I told him what I fed them and he didn't seem concerned (blue is over the infection he had) so I just wanted to make sure the only thing I was hurting was my bank balance. I love my kitties and I don't want to ever do anything to hurt them.

Expert:  Cher replied 10 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your additional information.

If your cats are eating a premium cat food whose primary ingredient is meat, that's fine. If these 'snacks' of fresh seafood and tuna are given daily, these are the drawbacks: if the one tablespoon of canned salmon is shared among them, they're not getting that much; if you give each cat a tablespoon of salmon a day, I'd cut it to a teaspoon for each. That amount of salmon shouldn't do any harm. Also, give them the oil from the canned salmon. The canned tuna, if they just usually get the juice, it should be tuna packed in oil, so they can reap the benefits of the Omega 3 fatty acids, to help their skin and coat (same reason to give the salmon oil). The tuna packed in water contains a lot of sodium and doesn't serve any nutritional purpose. The shrimp is of concern. Your research was correct, in that feeding a lot of seafood to cats can result in urinary or kidney problems. This is due to the minute particles of sand that may still be in the shrimp and also, shrimp is high in cholesterol and does contain iodine.

While I understand your devotion to your cats and wanting them to enjoy the best food, I would definitely cut down on the amount of shrimp, and make sure you're feeding them a premium cat food like Wellness, Felidae, Innova, or Natural Balance (just to name a few), which are usually available at most major pet supply stores. The canned Fancy Feast is alright, but Friskies dry food is not considered a 'premium' food. If the ingredients on your cats' foods contain corn, gluten, wheat, and artificial preservatives/colors/flavors, these are all common allergens for cats and it's best to feed a more natural and artificial preservative-free diet.

Keep in mind that prepared cat foods should contain meat as their first ingredient (or at lease among the first 3), because cats are obligate carnivores, and prepared cat foods also contain all the vitamins, minerals, etc., essential to your cats' nutritional needs, for example, taurine, necessary for good vision.

Most cats do love the taste and smell of seafood, but it's sort of a fallacy that cats should love and eat, only fish--when wild cats hunt, they're land animals, and they hunt for, and eat, meat. Did you ever see a cat wading in the ocean for fish? : ) So, essentially, cats need to eat meat to be healthy and this should be their primary source of protein. The canned fish and frozen shrimp you're feeding now, should only be a treat, but just try to cut down a little, gradually, on the amounts, especially of the shrimp.

Your cats sound very loved and well-cared for, and for that, you should be applauded! : )

Much good luck to you and all your furbabies! Please let me know if you ever have further questions. Thanks.

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