Can Cats Eat Salmon? (Canned, Raw and Cooked)

Can Cats Eat Salmon?

Can Cats Eat Salmon

Can cats eat salmon? It’s a question that you might think would have a straightforward answer, but you would be wrong. There are a few things to consider here before you let your feline tuck into this pink, flaky fish.

Can Cats Eat Canned Salmon?

There is really only one issue with canned salmon and that’s the fact that it is designed for humans, not cats. The first thought is to keep it fresh, so they add salt and oil. They also want to keep it pink and vibrant, so they add additional chemicals. In the end you end up with a fish that is still salmon, but not quite as you know it.

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Cats need a diet that is low in salt and fat and high in protein. Fish is great for this, as is salmon. But canned salmon is not.

It may be okay as an occasional treat, but only if there are no additional ingredients in there. Look for salmon that has been canned naturally, relying on quick canning and airtight seals to keep it fresh, as opposed to salt, oil and God-knows what else. The same applies to all fish, including tuna, which we have discussed elsewhere on Can Pets Eat.

Can Cats Eat Salmon Raw?

Really, you shouldn’t be feeding your cats any raw fish. That’s what a lot of official advice says anyway. This is a little confusing when you consider that wild cats don’t really have a choice either way and have to eat raw fish and meat if they want to survive. But we can certainly understand the reasoning behind it.

The argument is that domestic cats are not able to safely consume a diet of raw fish, especially when they have been bred on cooked meats and other processed foods. They argue that the risk of bacteria like salmonella, which is as deadly to cats as it is to us, is too great. There are also some issues with regards to B Vitamins. A cat needs several B vitamins in order to survive, and these do not seem to be as easily digested in raw fish.

No matter how you look a it, they are better off with cooked fish. It may be that they can eat raw fish and survive. Based on what we know of feral cats and wild cats, that would certainly seem to be the case. But then you have to consider that the raw fish eaten by a wild cat has probably been plucked fresh from the water, whereas the raw fish eaten by your cat has likely been caught, stored, shipped, sold and then ended up in your fridge.

That process increase the risk of salmonella and other bacteria developing, which adds more credence to the suggestion that raw fish should be avoided.

Can Cats Eat Salmon Cooked

This is probably the best way for your cats to eat salmon. Just bear in mind that pre-cooked salmon is prepared for humans and may contain ingredients not healthy for cats. Look for salmon that is prepared with cats in mind. That way you know you’re getting something that is 100% healthy for them.

Smoked salmon is a great treat for cats as well. They love it, it has the benefit of being partially cooked while remaining fresh and juicy, and it is full of omega 3 fatty acids.