Cat Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,953 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The only wet food Murphy has ever eaten is the Turkey, Chicken & Rice Dinner from Trader Joe's, but lately he's been leaving a lot of it uneaten. Thinking he needed some variety, I recently gave him some Ocean Fish, also Trader Joe's brand. He loved it! All of a sudden the wet food was much more exciting. :)

What's the verdict on giving them food with fish in it? Is it only a problem if they're allergic to fish? How would you know if a cat is allergic to something?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
The issues I know regarding fish are:
-Some cats can be allergic or intolerant. If he has no negative reaction to the food (itching, vomiting, loose stools) then you don't have to worry. If he develops one at any point, then obviously stop the fish.
-Raw fish fed in large amounts can cause thiamine deficiency because it contains thiaminase. I don't know if the same applies to cooked fish or if the cooking sufficiently breaks down the thiaminase.
-Some fish carry risks of mercury/other heavy metal poisoning or toxins, especially those higher on the food chain.
-Some cats can become "fish addicts" and refuse any other kind of food in favor of fish.

That said, I'm personally comfortable feeding fish in very small quantities (fish oil in a food doesn't bother me, or small amounts of fish not making up the primary protein source or flavor), or feeding a fish flavor/whole fish once a week, as they do contain some beneficial nutrients, like omega-3s.

It's an entirely personal choice. Some people choose to feed no fish at all because of the above concerns, some are fine with occasional fish feeding, some feed fish more than I would personally be comfortable. I do not think feeding the occasional fish flavor would at all negatively impact your cat's health. As long as he's not showing any allergy symptoms, or refusing other foods, I think it's fine in moderation.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
19 Posts
I'm most concerned about fish addiction and avoid fish in all foods and snacks. I fear once my cats learn to eat fish, they won't go back so easily to a more cat natural and better nutritionally rounded protein source like poultry. I don't see why cat keepers apply their own human proclivity over food variety - on to their cats. I mean if you have a few foods the cats will eat and derive the proper balance of nutrition, why feel compelled to offer variety? In my opinion, all you are doing is buying into pet food industry marketing, not any sound veterinary science.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
991 Posts
Both of my girls developed UTI's from foods with fish in them.... I've found that I can offer them the rare piece of shrimp or salmon when we're having fish for dinner, but that's it. After we got past their UTI's I would give them food with fish in it once every few weeks, but then I found that I couldn't get them to eat their normal wet food for a couple of days. I've decided it's not worth it no matter how cute they are sitting at the table giving me cute pathetic eyes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,953 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The issues I know regarding fish are:
-Some cats can be allergic or intolerant. If he has no negative reaction to the food (itching, vomiting, loose stools) then you don't have to worry. If he develops one at any point, then obviously stop the fish.
-Raw fish fed in large amounts can cause thiamine deficiency because it contains thiaminase. I don't know if the same applies to cooked fish or if the cooking sufficiently breaks down the thiaminase.
-Some fish carry risks of mercury/other heavy metal poisoning or toxins, especially those higher on the food chain.
-Some cats can become "fish addicts" and refuse any other kind of food in favor of fish.

That said, I'm personally comfortable feeding fish in very small quantities (fish oil in a food doesn't bother me, or small amounts of fish not making up the primary protein source or flavor), or feeding a fish flavor/whole fish once a week, as they do contain some beneficial nutrients, like omega-3s.

It's an entirely personal choice. Some people choose to feed no fish at all because of the above concerns, some are fine with occasional fish feeding, some feed fish more than I would personally be comfortable. I do not think feeding the occasional fish flavor would at all negatively impact your cat's health. As long as he's not showing any allergy symptoms, or refusing other foods, I think it's fine in moderation.
Thanks, everyone, for your responses. It sounds like no one is advocating a fish diet on a regular or everyday basis, which was one of my questions. He had almost completely stopped eating the chicken and turkey dinner, so this was my next attempt to get him to eat wet food. Accckkk, you can't win for losin'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
I'm most concerned about fish addiction and avoid fish in all foods and snacks. I fear once my cats learn to eat fish, they won't go back so easily to a more cat natural and better nutritionally rounded protein source like poultry. I don't see why cat keepers apply their own human proclivity over food variety - on to their cats. I mean if you have a few foods the cats will eat and derive the proper balance of nutrition, why feel compelled to offer variety? In my opinion, all you are doing is buying into pet food industry marketing, not any sound veterinary science.
While I don't think fish is required to offer cats a varied diet, I think it's shortsighted to say that the supposed benefits of a varied diet are based on human dietary reasoning and pet food marketing.

Despite the fact that cats are not omnivorous, there are still benefits to a varied diet. Not all animal meats (nor commercial cat foods) are 100% equal. Some contain different levels of fat, different levels of omega-3s and omega-6s, some contain more of a particular nutrient or less. In fact, if you really want to use natural cat dietary models as an example, a feral cat isn't going to be eating one single animal day in day out. It's going to be eating what it can catch (mice, rats, birds, lizards, insects). A cat's natural diet is varied.

That's why I personally feel offering a variety of foods is important. It's easier to ensure a balanced diet when feeding a varied diet.

That said I think there are many valid reasons not to feed fish, as I mentioned in my above reply, which is why I only feed it sparingly, and why many do not feed it at all. Fish would not be a common part of a feral cat's natural diet (if ever included) but I think for some cats it's fine in very small amounts.

The primary reason I ever offer it at all is because I am not confident of the omega-3 content of all available meats. Corn-fed animals have a significantly higher level of omega-6 fatty acids and a significantly lower level of omega-3s. That fatty acid balance is important to maintain health, and so offering fish on occasion is one of the ways to increase omega-3 intake. Another way is to ensure the meats being fed to cats are grass-fed/pasture-fed animals which would naturally have better omega-3 levels. When feeding those types of meats, adding fish is probably totally unnecessary.

My personal ideal dietary rotation for a cat would be one made up of fowl (chicken, turkey, duck, quail, etc.) and small mammals (rabbits, mice), preferably those fed their own healthy vegetation-rich diets (as opposed to the corn feed so often used for factory-farmed chickens). But not everyone has those options. Any kind of small mammal food is difficult to include unless you find a brand that offers rabbit or use feeder mice, and many commercial brands use corn-fed chicken. So that's where pet owners may have to look into other options to boost the nutrient levels of the foods they're offering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,168 Posts
Thanks, everyone, for your responses. It sounds like no one is advocating a fish diet on a regular or everyday basis, which was one of my questions. He had almost completely stopped eating the chicken and turkey dinner, so this was my next attempt to get him to eat wet food. Accckkk, you can't win for losin'.
October, one thing you may want to try is offering a rotation of different non-fish flavors. One of my cats also goes off his food any time he consistently gets only one flavor over and over (another benefit to a varied diet). So I definitely think you're on the right track, wanting to add variety. Him enjoying the wet at first and then suddenly refusing to eat it sounds like he may just be losing interest getting the same thing all the time. I'm not sure how many flavors the Trader Joe's brand comes in, but you could always look to other brands for some more non-fish flavors if needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,953 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Saitenyo, I'll do that. Trader Joe's food only comes in 5 flavors, and one of the other ones is tuna. :-( I've been sticking to Trader Joe's because it's so cheap in comparison to other good brands (only 59 cents a can), but maybe I'll have to branch out into other brands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
506 Posts
Every time we have tuna, we drain the can (packed in water) into a dish and give it to Midnight (see avatar), the wild cat. He loves it! It's a real treat for him. I don't know why, since there is not a lot of tuna in the woods in Minnesota. That's the only fish he gets. When he first showed up, he was all mangy and there was no fur on his ears. We feed him Purina Cat Chow and his coat is shiny and thick. (That's him in the avatar, sunning himself at 6 degrees below zero on his favorite recycle bin on the South side of the garage). Well, he does get the treat of sliced deli beef in the morning when he shows up after a night of roaming the woods with the foxes. :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,842 Posts
I stay away from fish for the most part, because Rochelle becomes addicted to it very quickly. It took forever to break her of her fish obsession when we first got her, and I really don't want to have to go through all that trouble again. Not to mention, I'm raw feeding now, and I've heard mercury levels can be high in certain fish. The girls get a sardine a week, and a small hunk of whatever fish we are having that week as part of one meal (last week was salmon, this week is tuna). If the girls are being difficult with a meal, then I'll break open a salmon oil capsule and put some on their food.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
I would stay away from it, as it can be very addictive. My cat became incredibly picky when she got used to eating fish flavour canned food, to the point where she would turn up her nose at anything less than tuna and salmon fillets. She refused all other canned food. Now I haven't given her fish for a few weeks, only kibble and a rotating range of other canned foods, and she will eat a bit of the other wet foods but still acts disappointed and rarely eats a whole serving. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Out of desperation to get my cat to eat something today I gave him a little bit of tuna. He ate that and than licked the gravy part of the canned food off the food and was done. He's battling CRF and the past 2 days he hasn't ate much so I wanted to get SOMETHING in him. :(
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top