I’ve never met a cat that didn’t love tuna – but should our cats eat tuna?
25 years ago, while walking along the Tennessee River, I found two tiny kittens. They were trying to stay warm in a plastic bag that they were apparently dumped in. They were also too scared to let me anywhere near them. Given that the temperature was going to drop below zero that night, I couldn’t leave them to freeze.
So what did I do?
I got tuna. After a few hours of sitting in the cold with the open can of tuna, they could not resist the delicious fishy feast. Watching these tiny, precious and scared cats eat tuna was one of the best moments of my life. And yes, I took them home.😻
But I digress… Should our cats eat tuna?
Tuna is a very big fish. Unfortunately, big fish carry lots of contaminants – like pesticides, flame retardants, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), and mercury. The sourcing of tuna also contributes to the amount of contaminants found in the tuna. For example, tuna caught near industrialized areas of North America carry 36 time more pollutants than the same species caught in the West Pacific.
As with many foods, many tuna manufacturers are very tight-lipped about where and how they source and catch their tuna. It’s worth looking into the company selling the tuna (just as you would with your cat’s food).
That said – tuna also contains some great stuff! Protein, Omega 3s, and B vitamins are all part of a healthy diet for cats. But – and it’s a BIG but – tuna is not nutritionally balanced for our cat’s biological needs.
So what does this all mean? Yes – it’s actually fine if your cat eats tuna. Sometimes! Keep tuna as a high value, occasional treat, and only provide your cat tuna in water (never oil).
For cat’s that cannot live without their fishy treats (and yes, some cats can get addicted to tuna) – teeny fishies are a great alternative! We give our little ones sardines (also only in water) and Minnow Munchies to satiate their fishy fix!