Can Cats Eat Raw Fish? Facts About Raw Fish You Might Not Know

Last updated on February 19th, 2023 at 04:12 am

Can cats eat raw fish? This article will explain why you should not give your cat raw fish. Raw fish can contain bacteria and worms that can cause digestive issues to your cat. However fish is a nutritious food to cats, and we will explain to you how to give fish to your cat safely.
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If you worry that your cat’s regular diet is bland, it may be hard to resist the urge to spice things up by adding treats like human foods. But before doing that, you should learn what food is good for your cat. In this article, we will address the question “Can cats eat raw fish?”. The short answer is “No” since raw fish can cause a lot of digestive problems. Giving fish to your cat is okay since fish is a great source of protein and omega fatty acids. And this is the reason giving your cat cooked fish is a better option. In this article, we will explain why it is bad to give your cat uncooked fish and how you can safely give your cat some fishes.

Can cats eat raw fish?

You’d assume you should only give your cat raw fish because they’ve spent thousands of years catching and eating it in the wild. Cooked fish, on the other hand, is considerably safer for cats than raw fish. If you’re unlucky, raw fish will give your feline companion an upset stomach. These fish may also carry worms or bacteria that can harm your pet, and some (such as tuna) may be rich in mercury and other environmental contaminants.

Raw fish also contains the enzyme thiaminase. Thiaminase inhibits your cat’s ability to digest thiamine, an important B vitamin. If your cat does not get enough thiamin, he or she may develop a variety of neurological issues, including convulsions and even death. However, this does not rule out the possibility of risks lurking within cooked fish. The most dangerous are fish bones; if your cat gets one, it could become lodged in its esophagus or digestive tract, inflicting major harm or even death.

Can cats eat raw fish skin?

Like raw fish meat, raw fish skin includes the thiaminase enzyme, which degrades thiamine. Consuming raw fish skin that has come into contact with tainted flesh causes food illness. If the skin is virus and toxin-free and you don’t want to waste it, carefully boil it first. It is preferable not to add any flavoring agents such as salt. Just boil it and give it to your feline friend.

Can cats eat raw fish bones?

Cats are not harmed by uncooked bones of smaller fish. However, raw bones from large fish, such as tuna, can pose a choking hazard. Furthermore, they can splinter and injure your pets’ mouths and digestive tracts. As a result, the response is neither yes nor no. Small fish bones can be fed to cats, but large fish uncooked bones should be avoided. Also, before putting raw fish bone into a feline’s diet, seek veterinary advice. As usual, it’s better to know from experts if it is safe for your cat. Not all cats are the same so learning about them is a better choice than just giving them everything.

Can I give sushi to my cat?

Human-grade sushi is generally safe for humans, however raw sushi can induce gastrointestinal discomfort in cats. Thiamine insufficiency can lead to neurological disorders. If you own a cat, you should be aware of the dangers of eating raw or undercooked fish.

What if my cat eats raw fish?

Consuming uncooked meat and fish might result in food illness. An enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine, a crucial B vitamin for your cat. If you fed your cat raw fish and started to see some bad symptoms, contact your vet for first aid procedures. You also need to contact your vet if you saw any allergic reaction after your cat ate cooked fish. Again, stay away from raw fish. Canned food contains protein and vitamins, but it is also high in fat and calories. If you want to give them canned fish, choose canned foods that do not contain added sugars, salt, preservatives, or artificial colors and flavors.

Is cooked fish safe for cats to eat?

What about cooked fish? Now that we know the truth about feeding raw fish to our cats, is it okay to cook fish for our cats? Let’s dig a little deeper.

The good news is that a small amount of fish will not harm them. But there are a few things you should keep in mind. You should also be aware of how to properly prepare the fish for your cat, as it is possible for the fish to cause injury to your cat if it is not properly prepared. 

Now, you may start asking, “But why are there fish flavored cat food and treats if they are not safe to consume every day?”. I know, it’s a bit confusing, but let me explain it in a simpler manner. Commercial cat foods and treats follow a really high standard for them to be safe for your pets. They made sure that thiaminase is already gone, or at least on the safe level, and that the dangerous toxins will not harm your cat anymore.

On the other hand, even if you cook fish, it will only reduce the thiaminase, but it will still be there. Raw fish has thiaminase content, thus making it really dangerous and cooking it will only reduce it. That’s why it’s important to remember that you can only give cooked fish for cats in moderation. Here are some helpful guidelines you have to remember when feeding cooked fish to cats.

Make certain that the bones have been removed

If you serve your cat cooked fish, be sure there are no bones in it. Bones might clog or harm your cat’s digestive tract or throat. Even if you remove huge bones, keep in mind that smaller bones may still be present in the fish. Chefs remove these with tweezers, which might take a long time. It’s always better to be cautious than sorry, so avoid feeding them fish with bones.

Avoid oil-packed fish

Oil-packed products, such as some tuna and sardines, should not be considered cat food. Their polyunsaturated fat content is considerable, and they can cause pansteatitis, also known as yellow fat sickness, which is a very frequent ailment. Some symptoms of this condition include:

  • Depression
  • Fever
  • No or little appetite
  • Painful abdomen
  • Vomiting

Is it healthy for cats to eat fish?

Yes, certain varieties of fish can be beneficial to cats. Assuming the fish you’re feeding your cat is healthy and digestible, fish has significant health benefits for cats. It’s high in lean protein, so they’ll get plenty of muscle-building amino acids without gaining weight. Fish oil, which is high in omega fatty acids, is abundant in seafood. These are beneficial antioxidants that do everything from fighting inflammation to keeping your cat’s coat smooth and glossy.

Aside from that, many cats simply enjoy the taste. If you have a picky eater on your hands, a small amount of fried fish (or simply the oil from the fish) may be all that is required to persuade them to eat their kibble. While it is not always safe to share human food with your cat, we have a solution that will keep you both happy.

How Much Cooked Fish Should I Feed My Cat?

There are two kinds of fish to think about here: those that are sold as cat food and those that you cook yourself.

If it’s the first one, you can give it to your cat every day. Most commercial cat food has to meet strict safety standards, so it’s unlikely that your cat will get sick from eating it every day. Cooking fish for people, on the other hand, takes a little more discipline. Healthy thiamine is found in fish-based cat food, but not in human food. If you feed your cat too much cooked fish, it could get sick from thiaminase poisoning. Most of the thiaminase is burned off when fish is cooked, so it would take a huge amount of cooked fish to cause this poisoning.

Also, as we said, be careful with fish in a can. There is a lot of salt and other preservatives in these, and they also have a lot of polyunsaturated fats. This can cause a disease called pansteatitis, which makes it hard for the cat to store fat. It could cause your cat to lose weight quickly, feel sad, have stomach pain, and be sensitive to touch. As a general rule, it’s fine to give your cat cooked fish, but it shouldn’t make up more than 10% of its diet.


Cats should not consume raw fish because it may contain dangerous microorganisms. Furthermore, it contains enzymes that degrade thiamine, resulting in thiamine insufficiency. To avoid health problems, give your cat cooked fish in moderation. In conclusion, cats are able to consume fish, and doing so in moderation may actually be advantageous to their overall diet. Because eating an excessive amount of fish can lead to thyroid difficulties, allergic reactions, and vitamin shortages, this food should not be a staple in their diet. The majority of doctors agree that giving cats fish oil supplements rather than actual fish is the best way to provide them with the nutritional benefits of fish without exposing them to any potential health risks. For further information, discuss the matter with your pet’s doctor.