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Can Cats Eat Salmon? What You Need to Know!

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

a raw salmon with skin

Society is constantly telling us that cats love fish. We get bombarded with the stereotypical picture of a cat with a fishbone in its mouth on dozens of product labels. Just because a cat can eat salmon, that doesn’t mean that they should eat it on a daily basis.

Yes, salmon is a safe food for cats in moderation. Even though salmon is nutritionally beneficial for humans, cats are a little more sensitive and have different dietary requirements than us. What’s more important is the fact that not all types of salmon are safe for cats. Thankfully, this guide is here to help you learn everything you need to know about feeding cats salmon and other types of fish.

Is it Safe for All Cats to Eat Salmon?

Cats can eat salmon but not all types of salmon. They also shouldn’t have too much of this oily fish. Your cats are naturally drawn to the strong odor that comes from this fish, but it doesn’t actually provide the appropriate nutrients that cats need. In other words, most cats need another primary protein source in their diets.

Salmon should only be 15% of your cat’s total diet. This equals out to about a meal of salmon once per week. Some people opt to use salmon as a treat instead of a large meal so that their felines can have a small pinch every day.

Not all salmon is safe for cats, but not all cats can eat safe types of salmon either. Some cats will have fish allergies that could make them ill. Common symptoms of food allergies are itchy skin, paws, tails, and eyes. Some cats may also sneeze more than usual or experience diarrhea, vomiting, or trouble breathing.

The Different Types of Salmon and if They’re Safe

Cooked Salmon

cooked salmon
Image Credit: Pixabay

Plain, cooked salmon without any use of seasoning is the ideal way to feed cats fish. Ensure that the fish is cooked all the way through and that all the bones get removed. It is acceptable for cats to eat the skin if it is cooked and plain.

Canned Salmon

canned salmon
Image Credit By: Alesia.B, shutterstock

Canned salmon should be avoided at all costs. This type of fish is not suitable for your cats because it is packed full of sodium and other additives that could potentially upset their digestive system.

Raw Salmon

raw salmon close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

You might think that raw salmon is safe for cats, but that is not true. Even though it tastes good, raw fish can contain harmful bacteria and give your kitty food poisoning. There are also high levels of dangerous enzymes in raw fish. For example, taurine deficiency is often caused by feeding cats certain types of protein.

Smoked Salmon

smoked salmon outdoors
Image Credit: Pixabay

This fish is similar to the canned type in that it contains extremely high sodium levels that are dangerous to cats. If you’re going to feed your cats salmon, do them a favor and stick to cooked meat.

Does Salmon Benefit Cats?

Not all salmon is bad for cats. Even though you must limit their consumption of it, there are some health benefits of this fish.

Fatty Acids

Salmon has both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These acids help to nourish your kitty’s skin from the inside out. They also help the development and function of eye and brain health. If that weren’t enough, fatty acids even support bone and joint health.

Vitamin B12 and B6

Salmon contains a good amount of both vitamin B12 and B6. These are good for your cat’s immune and nervous systems. They also help feline cognitive function and protein absorption.

cat obediently waits for salmon
Image Credit: PakulinSergei, Shutterstock

Should You Worry About Mercury Poisoning?

There are some controversial opinions on whether feeding your cat a mostly-fish diet will cause mercury levels to be dangerous. Most fish today have high levels of mercury, and consuming their meat means that your cat is also consuming it.

Mercury content is not the same for all types of fish. However, salmon and tuna are both known to boost mercury levels in the body. Too much of it could cause problems in cats the same way it does in humans. Signs of mercury poisoning in cats include difficulty walking and loss of coordination. Look out for other signs of neurological damage as well.

Final Thoughts

In general, salmon is a high-quality protein choice for cats. It can help make the skin, coat, eyes, and brain healthy. However, it should be given more as a treat than as a regular food source because there are a few health issues that it is associated with. Even though your cat may love the smell of salmon, it’s in their best interest to refrain from eating too much of it.

By the way…

Is your cat ready to sleep with the fishes? The Hepper Shark Cat Bed is a funny novelty bed with a cozy, cave-like design that you and your cat won't be able to resist! This is our product, and we hope you enjoy it.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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