Can Cats Eat Cooked, Raw, Smoked or Canned Salmon?

Belonging to the family Salmonidae (which also has whitefish, trout, and grayling), salmon is a name given to several fish species with ray fins. Their common types include including the Chum, Sockeye, Pink, Coho, Chinook ( king) and the Atlantic salmon.

This fish is a source of high-quality protein, fats including long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12 and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, iron, selenium among others.

Looking at its nutritional profile, it is, without a doubt, it is quite nutritious and will give your feline some of the essential nutrients she or he requires.

Do cats like it

Although not part of their natural diets, most kitties will like salmon as well as other fish types including tuna, sardines, mackerel, and so on.

Can I give my cats salmon
Can I give my cats salmon

Therefore, if your cat seems to like it, there are many cat foods that have it and balanced nutritionally such as:

Brands such as Fancy Feast, Fussie Cat, Merrick Purrfect, Dr. Elsey’s and American Journey among others have dry and/or wet canned foods with salmon.

Can I feed my cats salmon?

Yes. Cats can eat salmon. It is not bad. However, like most of the other fish, give them only a small amount, as a part of your feline diet and not a replacement of their usual diets.

For instance, including a small amount of this fish once or twice in a week as a treat is ok. However, excessive amounts are not ok because:

  • It is lacking nutritionally – It does not have all the nutrients that these pets require and in their correct proportions. Expect nutritional deficiencies if your cat eats only this fish every day. For instance, cooking destroys the taurine.
  • It is high in unsaturated fats ­–Excessive amounts of unsaturated fats is likely to deplete vitamin E and lead to deficiency signs and yellow liver disease.
  • Can cause allergies – Like most of the other fish types, it is possible to cause protein allergies that may have symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, itchiness and so on.
  • Contamination – There are chances of mercury accumulation and consequently poisoning especially to the types that eat other fish.

These are the same reasons why you should reduce any kind of fish since it is not part of their natural diets while they are in the wild.

What about kittens?

Can I give my kitten salmon? For the same above reasons and considering that kittens require a lot of protein for growth, only give your weaned kitten a small amount as occasional and it should not replace their normal kitten diets.

Can I give my cat smoked, cooked, or raw salmon?

This fish can be available in cans (smoked or cooked and ready to eat) or raw (frozen). Let us look at each of these forms briefly.

1. Can my cats eat canned salmon?

If you are considering canned one, always go for those canned in water and have no other additives or flavorings. If they are in brine or vegetable oil, you must rinse them off to avoid excessive salt or oil they contain.

2. Is smoke one ok

Whereas it might be very tasty, you should worry about the excess salty added during the curing stage. It may contain an excessive amount of sodium (from common salt for sodium chloride) that may cause sodium poisoning.

Furthermore, kitties with renal failure require diets low in sodium as well as those that have heart disease. Therefore, avoid smoked one or if stored in brine.

3. What about raw or cooked salmon?

Although if given cats can eat raw salmon, it is not safe. The cooked one is the most recommended because:

  • Firstly, cooking destroys thiaminase. Thiaminase in raw fish destroys thiamin or vitamin B1 leading to deficiencies.
  • Secondly, although cooking may affect taurine, it will certainly kill any harmful germs such as bacteria as well as bacteria. However, after cooking you must remove any bones present.

Although you can get rid of any parasites in raw fish by freezing it at temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius for a week. This will not kill harmful germs including bacteria make frozen ones not safe for humans or even your feline pals.

Therefore, do not give your kitty raw or freshly caught salmon or any other fish as it may be having bacteria as well as parasites. This is in line with what Chewy.com advises “while some cat-friendly human foods can be fed to your cat raw, make sure to give her only cooked salmon.”

Cooking freshly caught fish thoroughly will kill any bacteria and parasites present making it safe for your kitties.

What about its skin?

Can cats eat salmon skin? Yes. However,  you need to cook it as freezing alone cannot kill all germs present.

Finally, the amount to be given should be small and occasionally just as you do to any other fish. You do not have to give more.

See also

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