Can Cats Eat Salmon?
If you have a favorite furry feline at home, you may have wondered if you can share your favorite fish with them. After all, cats love fish! Don’t they? Unfortunately, giving “human food” to a pet isn’t always straightforward. While you may think a certain food, like fish or other proteins, is benign or even nutritious, it could prove a hazard to your pet’s health.
So, can cats have salmon? Here’s everything you need to know about feeding your feline this scrumptious seafood.
Can Cats Eat Salmon?
The easy answer is yes! Your cat can eat salmon. However, like all good things, salmon should be fed to your cat in moderation. If you feed them too much salmon, they may decide they like it so much, that they won’t eat anything else — and that’s no way to feed your cat a healthful, balanced diet.
Vets recommend that the average cat (so about 10 pounds) only consume about 270 to 290 calories per day, according to Daily Paws. Furthermore, they say that only about 10%, or 30 calories, of that daily caloric intake should be made up of treats. That means, if the average salmon filet is around 700 calories, your cat should only eat about one-twentieth of the filet. While that may seem like not a lot of fish at all, feeding your cat salmon in this small portion size will ensure they get all the nutrients they need, without overdoing it.
That may leave you asking, is salmon good for cats? If I can only feed my cat salmon in such small portions, can it really be that healthy?
And, yes, it is very healthy. Salmon provides your cat with protein, omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients that they need. However, cats need other nutrients and vitamins in their diets as well, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, calcium and magnesium. Salmon alone can’t provide everything your cat needs to thrive, so should be part of a well-rounded diet, not their entire diet.
How to Prepare Salmon for Your Cat
Beyond the portion restrictions, salmon should only be fed to your cat when prepared certain ways.
Can cats eat raw salmon?
Well, they can, but they probably shouldn’t. It is safe to eat raw salmon if the salmon is flash-frozen. However, eating raw fish comes with risks of parasites, bacterial infections, and viral infections for your cats.
However, if you do decide to feed your cat raw salmon, be sure that it’s deboned and that the head and tail are removed, as these can cause choking or even damage to your pet’s digestive tract (in fact, any time you feed your cat salmon — whether or not it’s raw — the bones, head and tail should be removed).
Can cats eat smoked salmon?
Again, they can, but there’s still the question of whether or not they should. Smoked salmon is prepared with a variety of spices or salt that may be unhealthy for your cat. Unless you’re 100% sure of the way the smoked salmon was prepared (like if you made it at home), you may want to avoid feeding it to your cat. In fact, some smoked, canned and cured salmon can contain so much salt that the salmon becomes toxic to your cat (via Whiskas).
What’s the best way to feed my cat salmon?
The best overall way to feed your cat salmon is not raw or smoked or brined, but cooked — fully. Whether you poach it, grill it, bake it or pan-fry it, cooked salmon is ideal for your cat’s health. Just be sure not to add any extra seasonings or salt and serve the salmon to your cat plain and only once it’s cooled.
But can cats eat salmon skin?
Yes! So, while you're cooking up that delicious salmon filet to share with your cat (remember, they only need about one-twentieth of a whole filet), just go ahead and leave the skin on. Not only will they love it (so long as they don't have a particularly sensitive stomach), but they’ll benefit from the higher concentrations of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Should I Buy Salmon Oil for Cats?
You may find it just easier to give your cat salmon oil supplements, to give them the benefits of salmon without all the extra cooking and portioning on your part. If that’s the case, vets recommend giving your cat a half teaspoon of salmon oil per day, poured directly over their normal food. However, before adding any new supplement to your cat’s diet, you may want to discuss the addition with your cat’s vet, who knows their unique health needs and any extraneous circumstances that may apply.
Tips on Picking Salmon for Cats
As you’re picking out the perfect salmon to feed your pet, avoid farm-raised salmon, as farm-raised fish are often exposed to high levels of pollutants, antibiotics and toxins. Not only is this an issue when shopping for human-grade salmon to feed your cat, but it’s also an issue when buying salmon-based pet food and treats. For this reason, it’s often better to skip over pet-specific salmon products entirely and go for human-grade, fresh-caught, wild salmon, no matter who in the family you’re feeding.
Give Your Entire Family (including the Cat!) the Very Best Salmon
You wouldn't feed subpar salmon to your children — so why would you feed your cat less than the best? Alaskan Salmon Company provides your family with wild-caught, Copper River salmon that’s flash-frozen at peak freshness and then delivered straight to your door. There are no extra fillers, no hard-to-pronounce ingredients — just fresh, pure salmon ready to cook and enjoy.
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