Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to eat meat! They can't fully digest plant matter, although some cats will eat small portions of grains, vegetables or fruits.
Yet, why do cats like fish so much? The strong smell of fish is likely why and it's an excellent source of protein.
Why do cats love fish?
Well, fish and other seafood can be classified under the meat category, so it is possible cats would probably like fish and other seafood.
There is some interesting speculation about how cats acquired a taste for fish! This is how the Egyptians lured them in to take care of their rodent problems and because they are opportunistic feeders, cats started hanging around fishermen for a free lunch.
What's so great about fatty acids?
Cats, dogs, and humans all benefit from fatty acids. Exerts at Cat Check-Up tell us that the health benefits are endless.
"Omega-3 fatty acids provide cats with a lot of health benefits. They reduce such inflammatory conditions as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and various skin disease. They also reduce the risk of cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids also provide a cosmetic benefit: They increase the glossiness of a cat's fur."
Cold-water fish like tuna and salmon are among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
What type of fish should my cat eat?
Tuna and salmon are both good sources of omega-3 fatty acids as we mentioned above, but they're also high in mercury. Experts recommend smaller fish like cod and halibut, which contain less mercury and are safer to eat.
Canned fish should be given only on a special occasion because it contains a lot of sodium.
Is too much fish bad?
Little Fat Kitten warns us that too much fish can be bad for your cat.
"Although fish is a great source of protein, taurine, and fatty acids, it also contains some harmful toxins like mercury. It also often contains an enzyme called the thiaminase, which destroys the thiamine that cats need.
A thiamine deficiency might damage the cat's nervous system, although developing the deficiency would require feeding your cat with fish every day for long periods of time. Eating too much fish may also risk developing urinary tract infections or hyperthyroidism in your cat."
Cat food and a cat's diet can be supplemented with cooked fish, but stay away from raw fish, as there can be some health issues with feeding raw fish as a consistent food source. Wildcats and Fishing cats may eat raw fish, but our domestic cats should not.
You can also talk to your vet about using fish oil as a supplement. That's a great solution for domestic cats (and dogs) and can complement the high-quality commercial cat foods you're feeding.
Always protect your fish tank from your cat, too! That's not the type of leftovers they should be eating!
Are you lucky enough to live with a cat that loves fish? If you do, tell us what they're like below in the comments!