Cats, unlike other pets such as dogs, can be extremely picky eaters.
If you have a cat, you’ve probably noticed that it favors certain types of foods and that it might even refuse normal food once it’s had a taste of something better.
Taste can vary from cat to cat, but most felines will find fish food extremely tasty and will go crazy for it, meaning cats generally do in fact like fish food.
It’s not rare to picture a cat sitting by the fish tank, paws in the water, trying to catch a fish or two to snack on. In fact, it’s somewhat of a stereotype for cats to love fish. But what about fish food? Are cats after that too?
As mentioned, many cats will go crazy for the fish food and will meow and meow until they get a taste of it. Many fish owners that also have cats can attest to their cat wanting a piece whenever they’re feeding their fish.
But is this okay? Is fish food even safe for cats?
It can completely depend on fish food, but as a general rule, fish food should be pretty safe for cat consumption. However, it is very probable that the fish food will make your cat feel sick, especially if it eats too much of it!
If your cat really insists on enjoying a bite or two of fish food, it should be a special treat, and never as a main component of its diet. Some fish food might consist of fish itself, so you might think that it is therefore also apt for your cat even as regular food.
But here’s the thing, fish in itself should also only be kept as a treat for cats, and not as a main component of their diet. Cats don’t usually eat fish in the wild, with their natural diets mostly consisting of small rodents, birds, and insects.
So neither fish nor fish food you feed to your fish should be used as a regular source of food for your cat.
Types of fish food that your cat can enjoy as a treat
If you really want to treat your cat with some fish food, the safest bet is to find the fish food most apt for cats, so that the chances of your cat feeling sick are reduced.
(However, once again, you shouldn’t feed your cat fish food too often or in big amounts, and should be one-off treats. And if the fish food makes your cat sick, you should then never again give it that fish food as a treat, no matter how insistent your cat is!)
The reason cats may like fish food, is that a lot of fish food is made from actual fish. There are fish pellets that are made with real fresh shrimp, and with other types of fish, just ground up and compressed into a small amount.
These are the ones that should be fine to feed to your cat as a treat. However, it is always best to check the product description for a full list of the ingredients contained in the fish food.
You should aim for the ones that are almost entirely fish, with as little other components designed for a fish’s nutritional needs as possible, as that is what might make your cat sick.
If your cat is sick or develops diarrhea after consuming the fish food, it should get better within a few days.
However, it is always best to consult with your vet to make sure everything is okay, and it should not be made into a habit to feed your cat the fish food as treats.
Especially as the cat might start refusing its normal food in favor of these tasty one-offs, which could be dangerous.
Why fish food should not be a regular source of food
As we’ve mentioned, fish food is mostly made out of fish that has been ground up with other added components, which is why it is so tasty for your feline friend.
Some people reach the conclusion that, as the fish food contains fish, it is suitable for cat consumption and can therefore be a part of the cat’s diet. This is incorrect for two main reasons:
The first reason is that fish food, although it may usually contain fish that is completely safe for cat consumption, is put together with added components that are designed for a fish’s diet and nutritional needs.
These components and added ingredients might not be suitable for cat consumption. Although they won’t be lethal, they can cause your cat to be sick for a few days or to develop diarrhea, so it is best to avoid it.
If you do decide to give some to your cat as a treat, it should be done very rarely and in small amounts. That way the cat won’t get used to eating fish food, and it also reduces the risk of stomach problems and digestive issues.
The second reason is that, even if the fish food was completely made of fish, it would still not be suitable as a main component of a cat’s diet. This is because fish in itself should not be a major part of a cat’s diet. It can sound a bit contradictory, especially as cats are so often depicted enjoying fish.
However, in the wild, cats survive on a natural diet based on birds, small rodents, and insects. No fish. Therefore, in the house, fish should be given as a special treat or complement to the main source of food, and should never take over as a main component of the overall diet.
Fish food, therefore, might be able to substitute the normal fish treats, but should still remain as a rare treat that is not given often or in big amounts.
Can cats eat fish food? When in doubt, it is best to stick to normal cat food, so as to avoid your cat from getting sick or developing diarrhea.
There is a reason that fish food is classified as food for fish, as it has been specifically designed to fulfill the nutritional needs of fish. Although cats may enjoy fish food, they shouldn’t eat it on a regular basis or in large amounts.
If anything, fish food can be given to your cat as a rare treat now and then, in a small and controlled portion.
If you do so, try and stick to the fish food that is mainly made from fish. You should also read the product description carefully to check the ingredients and ensure that there is nothing that could harm your cat.
It is also a good idea to directly ask your vet about it, as they will be able to advise on whether that specific type of fish food is potentially harmful to your cat or not.