Can Cats Eat Raw Fish? 7 Uncovered Reasons To The Answer!



Can cats eat raw fish? It is always the most asked question amongst cat owners, thinking that fish is the cat’s favorite food. Thus, let’s give her lots of it! Stop right there! 

No matter what you heard, watched, or even believed about feeding your cat, never in your life add any foods into your cat’s diet without discussing its benefits with your veterinarian. 

Because we will never know what is good and what is bad until the unwanted happens and your cat gets sick!

Can cats eat raw fish or sardines? My cat likes Tuna. Is Tuna harmful to my cat? We will answer your questions about fish, which fish is safe for your cat, and which fish is not! Let’s get started.


Can Cats Eat Raw Fish?

Perhaps many of us have been living underneath a false statement that fish is like mice, cats’ natural food. But nope! Throughout history, cats have been living in deserts and dry climates, where mice were the natural food for them, surprisingly enough, not fish! 

Why should you never feed your cat raw fish? First, Let’s take a look at “thiamine” to understand better.

Thiamine, or as we know it, vitamin B1, is one of the essential nutrients in the body, which is obtained through diet only, as the body can not synthesize it on its own. 

Thiamine is essential for metabolism, and so, producing energy for the body. Without thiamine, the body will become weak. Not only that, its deficiency can cause damage to the nervous system that might be permanent and unable to recover under treatment. 

Thiamine deficiency is also blamed for cardiac problems, pretty dangerous if you ask me! 

Now that you know all of that, can cats eat raw fish? And why? Raw fish contains an enzyme called “thiaminase.” This enzyme ruins thiamine by breaking it, making it not useful for the body to utilize, creating a thiamine deficiency situation that can lead to death if undetected at the right time.

No raw fish for cats! Got it! But what about fish in general? Can cats eat fish? 

Cooked fish is not as dangerous as raw fish. But even though you still have to give your cat the fewest amounts of fish, due to the following reasons! 


7 Reasons Why You Should Minimize Your Cat’s Intake Of Fish!

Your cat can’t eat raw fish, and as we mentioned before, this is due to the harmful content of different ingredients that might cause harmful changes in your cat’s body. 

The following are several reasons why you should avoid raw fish in particular and limit fish intake in general.

  • Cancer 

Unfortunately, many studies showed that even after banning different chemicals used in the fish industry, such as the PCBs in 1979, they are still manifesting in seas.

These chemicals are more likely to be found in larger-sized fish, such as Tuna. By consuming it, your cat is consuming chemicals that can cause many types of cancers. 

  • Hyperthyroidism 

You see, the thyroid gland is vital in our bodies. It controls metabolism levels and other essential tasks, and the thyroid gland requires iodine to function. 

But too much iodine can put your body in a state of hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid gland is going crazy. Same with cats, fish contains a significant amount of iodine. Thus, it can cause hyperthyroidism in cats, as many studies show.

You may think that canned fish is safe as long as you read the label and knew what’s going on. But in fact, some substances are added to fish by fishermen, not by the factories, such as Ethoxyquin. 

This substance is added to fish after it gets hunted. A few studies have shown that Ethoxyquin is responsible for many health problems in cats; Organ failure, cancer, skin problems, and allergy!

  • Fat Yellow Disease

Pansteatitis, or the fat yellow disease, is a serious and life-threatening condition caused by vitamin E deficiency. 

Vitamin E is essential for metabolizing fat tissue and forming cells membrane. Thus, its deficiency causes damage to all types of cells throughout the body; pretty scary? 

Then don’t feed your cat tuna, sardines, or any fish packed in oil because it contains an immense amount of polyunsaturated fat. Can cats eat sardines? Now you know the answer.

  • Kidney Failure 

Despite fish being rich in protein, vitamins, and other vital nutrients, it is also known for containing many phosphorous. That element is reported to cause kidney damage, thus, kidney failure in cats! 

  • Allergy 

It is widely known how fish can make some people sick, seemingly, cats as well. 

Fish contains histamine, a substance responsible for allergic reactions and can put your cat through allergy; GI disturbances, patches, skin itching, and problems that can lead to death.

Are you surprised? Let’s explain this one, fish contains high levels of magnesium, and high levels of this element trigger the formation of struvite crystals in urine. 

And that can accumulate to cause kidney, ureter, or urethra stones that can block the entire urine tract.



The short answer to today’s question of can cats eat raw fish is No. But can cats eat fish? well, yes, but you have to be careful; serving your cat a small portion of fish as a treat is a key to keep your cat healthy because your cat might get addicted to it and refuse other foods, which is so dangerous and might lead to many health problems. 

Make sure to be careful picking the type of fish for your cat, cooked fish for the win, but still, small amounts only, don’t listen to your cat or to what you see on the internet of street cats eating, because that’s a different story. 

Always seek help before adding food to your cat’s diet, no matter how obvious you think the food is.

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Mob Bowlen
Mob Bowlen
3 years ago

One of my cats was prescribed raw white fish by a vet about 7 years ago and has eaten 2 fish a day since then; she is 16 and has not had to go to the vets since her health seems fine; this is the first time I’ve heard raw fish is bad for cats but just going on my cat’s health I would say the article isn’t strictly true. What alternatives would you suggest instead of raw fish? She doesn’t like to eat chicken.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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