Sardine or pilchard is a name given to over 20 species of small, oily fish that belong to the Clupeidae or herring family.
Are sardines good for cats?
Yes. Sardines are good for your feline friend although just like any other fish, they are not a natural part of their diets. Most if not all cats will like them mainly because of their fishy smelly and unique yummy taste and flavor.
If your cats like this fish, commercial cat foods like Purina Friskies Shreds Wet Cat Food whitefish and sardine, and Tiki Cat Grill Wet Food for Adult Cats & Kittens – Sadine and lobsters, among others will be a yummy choice.
Nutritionally, they are a source of high-quality protein, fats ( including omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins such as vitamin D, B2, B3, B12, choline, as well as selenium, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, iodine, copper, magnesium among other minerals.
Each of the above essential nutrients plays vital roles to support the growth, development and optimum wellbeing of your feline friend.
Whereas we have said it is ok for cats to eat sardines, they should have them in moderation, as a small part of their diet or a snack, unless you are feeding them commercial foods with this fish. A few times a week will be ok (once or twice). It can replace dry kibbles snacks.
However, avoid replacing their normal diets with this fish. Furthermore, there are a few problems associated with human fish diets (not fish cat foods) which include:
- They lack some essential nutrients that kitties get in their balanced diets.
- They may cause protein allergies
- There is the mercury poisoning risk, but it is not as bad as tuna as sardines have a lower level.
- The depletion of vitamin E may occur since they are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Being oily, excessive amounts can lead to weight gain
These are the reasons why you cannot feed it to your fluffy friends every day or as part of their main diets.
Do I give them raw, cooked or canned sardines?
When buying them, you can find them canned (cooked or smoked) or raw ones often are frozen to kill parasites that may be present. Which ones should your kitty eat? Raw, cooked or canned ones?
1. Raw or cooked?
While freezing may kill parasites but not any germs present. Therefore, do not give your cats any raw fish.
Secondly, raw fish has thiaminase which deteriorates and degrades thiamine or vitamin B1. This can lead to thiamine deficiency symptoms. These symptoms include anorexia, drooling, lethargy as well as neurological signs including ventriflexion, incoordination, circling, dilated pupil, seizures, among others.
Therefore, only give your cats cooked sardines whether you buy the frozen ones, or you have freshly caught ones. Before cooking, remove scales and after cooking remove any bones and chop it into small pieces to make eating easy.
Also, to help ensure your home-based cat foods are balanced, seek the help of a veterinarian or nutritionist since it may be difficult to do so on your own.
2. Can cats eat canned sardines?
Canned sardines often come in oil, brine, tomato source or water. Some of the popular oils used include sunflower oil, olive oil, and soybean oil.
For the case of those in unsalted water, you can give them to your feline directly. However, sardine canned tomato source and mustard, sunflower, olive or soybean oil, drain and preferably wash the excess oil off. A little oil is not so bad as it can improve your cat’s coat sheen.
We do not recommend those in brine since they have a high amount of salt. However, you can wash them to get rid of the excess salt (sodium) present before serving them to your feline friend.
Also check for other ingredients especially one in source to ensure it does not have garlic, onion, or other harmful ingredients.
Finally, avoid smoked sardines since they are salted during the curing process. This makes them have high amounts of sodium (sodium chloride or common salt) which might exceed the required amounts considering other foods may also have sodium.
Can my kittens have sardines?
Fully weaned kittens can have sardines as a treat or a small part of their diet. These pets require a lot of protein and other nutrients for growth and development and too much of this fish may not be helpful.
More sardine for cats brands
There are both dry and wet sardine cat foods in the market designed for these pets and hence nutritionally balanced. Some of the great brands in the market include the following:
- Racheal Rays Lip Smackin’ Sardine ‘n Mackerel Recipe™
- Tiki Cat Tahitian Grill Sardine Wet Cat Food
Also, there are other good choices from brands such as Heartsmart, Natures Balance, Solid Gold, Great Choice, Nature’s Logic, among many others.