Tilapia is a name given to almost a hundred fish species that belong to the cichlid fish. You will find them mainly freshwater especially in lakes, rivers, ponds, and shallow streams.
Nutritionally, tilapia is a good source of proteins, fats, niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and potassium as well as other minerals and vitamins.
However, its higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with inflammation in human beings. There are no studies on its effect on felines or canines.
Can I give it to my kitties?
Yes. Cats can eat tilapia as well as the other more popular fish types such as tuna, sardine, salmon, mackerel and so on. However, it should be only a small part of their diet and not replace their whole diet even if they like it.
Despite the fact that most cats love fish, it is not part of their natural diets and not nutritionally complete.
However, commercial food like Tiki Cat Luau Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food Tilapia is an awesome choice if you want to give your kitty a chance to munch this fish as it is nutritionally balanced. They also have salmon, tuna chicken, salmon chicken, and tuna mackerel.
Also, some fish sources have been associated with cat protein allergies and contamination including PBDEs, mercury, among others.
Therefore, ensure you only feed your kitty tilapia that is from clean and unpolluted waters and give them small amounts not more than twice times a week.
Always go for cooked tilapia (it can be pan-cooked, grilled, boiled and so on) and do not add any ingredients especially harmful ones such as onion or garlic and avoid smoked or salted ones. After cooking, remove bones before serving it.
Although cats can eat it while raw including with its bones, it may have parasites and germs. Freezing it at temperatures of below -20°C for a week will only kill parasites and not bacteria or germs it may be having.
Additionally, raw fish has been associated with fish oil that has thiaminase which destroys thiamine or vitamin B1.
Finally, if your feline pal depends on homemade diets, ensure you engage your vet or animal nutritionist to ensure they are well balanced.
Choose where you get it wisely
When choosing tilapia for cats, ensure it is free from preservatives especially sulfur-based ones as they affect thiamine absorption.
Also, the FDA noted that fish farms in China often use livestock feces which increase risks of having salmonella among other bacteria. There have also been cases of unsafe additives and veterinary drug residues that make the FDA reject some shipments from China to America.