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Old 01-26-2006, 11:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is canned tuna good for cats?

Hi, our cat has always been a finicky eater but in the last 10 days, she has become almost impossible. We fed her some tuna chunks in spring water, the kind that we humans eat also and she enjoyed it so much.

So, we got her a can of tuna for cats but she didn't like it that much. Is it ok to continue giving her tuna chunks that we humans consume?

Is the lack of appetite something to worry about?
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Old 01-26-2006, 11:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No, canned tuna is not good for cats. Not only is it not nutritionally balanced, but it is very high in certain things (can't remember off the top of my head), which is why we also should limit the amount of tuna we eat in a week. Also, feeding tuna on a regular basis is likley to cause a cat to turn their nose up at normal food because it has such a strong smell and flavour. They become "desensitized" almost, to regular foods.
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Old 01-26-2006, 11:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, if worst comes to worst, you can always get him Pet Gold Elite canned food (available at Petco) in tuna and prawn. Cats looove that stuff and it is at least nutritionally balanced.
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Old 01-26-2006, 11:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi, thanks for the quick responses.

Our problem is how do we convert her to normal foods now that she's discovered tuna. We've stopped tuna for about a week now and she's still refusing to go back to normal cat food. We've tried Iams, Nutro and a thai brand of wet food. sigh.

Sheng Mei, the selection of cat food in Thailand is pathetic. I'm certain I haven't seen that brand you recommended.
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Old 01-27-2006, 12:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Be persistent. Because the truth about tuna, especially the kind for human consumption(and they shouldn't even eat cat food tuna exclusively either) is that it's empty calories. Cats rely very highly on their sense of smell to be attracted to their food. They actually have a relatively poor sense of taste compared to people. Tuna is very smelly and often the stuff that smells most offensive to people, cats love. Tuna fish doesn't even have the nutrients that cats need, can cause vitamin E deficiency leading to yellow fat disease, and while it is high in protein, that is not enough. Cats need a lot of vitamins and minerals in their diet and they need those in the right ratios and proportions. They especially need taurine for their heart and their vision. Without taurine they will go blind and eventually die of heart failure. Tuna fish for human consumption is very low in taurine. There is also much concern about mercury levels in tuna that can be harmful to both cats and people if too much of it is eaten. Tuna can be fed to cats occasionally as a treat as long as they don't become addicted to it to the point where they don't eat anything else. Unfortunately your cat is a tuna junkie. You will need to take her to the vet if she continues to starve herself. In the meantime here are a few things you can do.

To get her on cat food, try buying fishy cat foods that are formulated to be nutritionally complete, containing all vitamins, minerals and taurine that the cat needs. One food to try for cats that are really finicky and stubborn is Fancy Feast. And while there are people here who will say that Fancy Feast is not the highest quality food you can feed, Fancy feast which is formulated to be nutritionally complete is better than tuna. And plenty of cats have lived long on this type of junk food anyway. In fact often when a cat has a reduced appetite a vet will ask, "Have you tried Fancy Feast?" If you don't have Fancy Feast in Thailand, then try Friskies, 9 lives, whatever it takes to get her eating. Once she is eating those you can try buying cat food cans that contain some fish but also contain other ingredients such as chicken, turkey, beef or lamb. You may not be able to get your cat completely off fish but the important thing is to get her to eat cat food. Has your kitty been eating anything at all besides tuna? For example, dry cat food? Not that cats need dry cat food, canned food is actually better for them, but dry cat food, even the fish flavored dry cat foods are better for your cat than tuna fish simply because the vitamins and minerals and taurine are in there.

Most importantly don't let your cat go more than 48 hours without eating. If this happens, take her to to the vet. She may be sick.
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Old 01-27-2006, 01:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for your advice moggiegirl.

Yes, we give her one meal (wet) in the morning and Iams kitten (dry) or Nutro (dry) when we leave for work. On weekends and bath days, she may get treats. We try to vary her choices so she doesn't get bored.

Strange thing is, she turns up her nose at cat tuna/sardines! Just this morning, we were at our wits ends. Decided to open a can of cat tuna/sardines with aspic. Almost seemed too smelly for her. By the way, what is aspic? The packaging on the can is mostly in Thai but the english words say "Tuna and sardines with Aspic".

Here's another question: Can animals tell the difference between fresh and stale dry foods? My husband thinks the reason she's not eating the Iams kitten dry is because we kept it in its resealable packaging which may not have kept the food fresh enough.

Oh, and she likes Ben & Jerry's ice-cream - always on the lookout for us when we eat. I thought I read somewhere an article that said cats couldn't taste sweet, sugary foods. Here's one with a sweet tooth.
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Old 01-27-2006, 01:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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She probably likes the ice cream because of it's milk content, which is bad for many cats because they are lactose intolerant. I would try mixing tuna with her dry or wet food.. then gradually adding more cat food in it so she will associate the two.
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Old 01-27-2006, 09:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Sorry that I can't offer any advice. Our Ginger is starting to be a picky eater and it's frustrating to say the least.

I can help in one way though: Aspic

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Old 01-27-2006, 11:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You can definitely mix the tuna with her wet cat food to slowly transition her to eating canned cat food. But I wouldn't mix it with the dry food because it's not good to get dry food wet. When dry food gets wet bacteria will grow so I would feed the wet and dry separately. Glad to hear your cat does eat some cat food, the dry food. That means she's not malnourished.

Yes, they can tell if food is getting stale. Their noses can detect it. Unlike dogs who are scavengers, the cat is a hunter with an instinct to eat fresh food. And when dry food sits in storage for long periods of time it tends to lose some of it's nutrients. Although large bags are economical for those with multiple cats I like to buy the small bags more frequently so I'm using only as much as my cats will eat in a month and that keeps the food fresh and up to date. Also the bag of cat food should have an expiration date on it but once you open it it's best to use it up. You can keep a bag of dry food for about 3-6 months but I wouldn't keep it longer than 3 months and 2 months or less is better.
I think your kitty is just finicky. Maybe she likes the Nutro better than the Iams. Some cats don't like Iams. Can you get the Nutro kitten food in Thailand?
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Old 01-27-2006, 06:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I am in agreement, tuna is not good and people have made good suggestions. Another thing to try, I don't think anyone mentioned it, is to warm up the cat food you are transitioning your cat to. That will make the smell more intense. It's worth a try. Much luck to you!
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