Is “Fish” Cat Food Bad For Cats?

TeacupCat

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I’ve been feeding my two cats Fancy Feast canned cat food. My baby cat was such a picky eater last year (the year she was born). We tried sooo many different brands. She was such a tiny little thing! About 8 months ago I finally found a cat food that Daisy just loves!! 👏👍 She loves the Fancy Feast brand and loves the ones with gravy. (Her sweet mother would eat anything!) I bought several different flavors and they both 💕 the Salmon. I’ve been buying a lot of the Salmon flavor. I did some reading and just discovered Fish isn’t that good for cats. 😮😳 It was recommended that you shouldn’t feed your cats fish more than once a week. Is this true?? We always try to give our cats the best care and food possible. I need to order more cat food and if FISH isn’t recommended for cats, I want to order cartons of meat & poultry canned cat food tonight Instead.
Any information about ‘Fish cat food’ for cats would be greatly appreciated!
Thank You from me and my girls!
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Many people feed their cats fish cat food. Some cats are just picky and they feed them what they will eat. Other people say NO, don't ever feed fish to your cat. Here is an article that may help you. Be sure to read the entire thing because it starts out one way and ends differently: Can I Feed My Cat A Fish-based Or Fish-flavored Diet? [Answered] - TheCatSite

Just because of recalls, it's always good to try to feed a variety of flavors AND BRANDS to your cats, so if you can get your picky eater to try something else, that would be a good idea. Maybe you could order some other types of foods and try mixing in a little bit of them with her favorite foods to see if she will eat them. If she does, then perhaps gradually increase the amount of the new food in with the old and see if she'll eventually accept some chicken or turkey or beef or lamb or whatever as an entire meal. If so, then that's great. If not, at least you tried.
 

amethyst

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As the link posted in the comment above, the biggest issue with feeding fish is when you are just giving fish, like pieces of fresh or canned (never feed raw, way too risky), it should be limited to just an occasional, like once a week, treat. Commercial cat food are going to have other things added in to make sure your cat is getting a nutrient balanced diet. However keep an eye on your personal cat, some cats do fine on a fish based cat food their whole life, others have issues. Personally I don't like the idea of a single protein diet period, if at all possible it's best to provide a variety, if you think about it cats don't naturally just eat mice/rodents everyday, they also eat birds, reptiles, rabbits, bugs, etc. Fish is notoriously addictive to cats, so if you can it's best to not give them the option of only eating fish. I rotate the wet food I give daily between 5 flavors (only 2 are fish, one of which is salmon which is a favorite of most of my cats too), and I give other brands and flavors occasionally. I've also switched brands and flavors/proteins (though mostly chicken and/or turkey) for the dry food I feed multiple times over the years, but those should to be changed slowly not meal to meal like you can with wet food flavors.

Another thing to consider is what kind of fish and the source when it comes to how bad it is for your cat. The larger, higher on the food chain, and longer living the more risk of things like heavy metals. As well as farmed tend to be full of antibiotics and hormones, making wild caught better.
 

maggie101

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Some fish are worst than others depending on how deep they swim. I rarely feed tuna,if at all, but I have started giving my cat turkey and salmon or trout so it's not totally fish
 
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TeacupCat

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Thank you for answering. My cat does Like Turkey in Gravy and Beef in Gravy too.
So yes absolutely, I will now offer a selection of various flavors in gravy. Makes a lot of sense!
If I’m not sure if Daisy will like a new flavor, I always buy one or two cans in the supermarket first as a “test”, to see if she likes it. Her mother eats everything!


How do you “Like” something on here? Can you Edit or Delete posts on here?
I’m new here, and trying to figure it out myself. I’m not successful yet! :thanks::crossfingers:
 

IndyJones

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Honesly the mystery meat (me at byproduct) in fancy feast is more concerning than the fish. I don't buy anything with unspecified meats in it.

Indy eats salmon food (perfomatrin ultra)on a daily basis and is perfectly fine. I think its only an issue if your cat has a sensitivity to fish but when in doubt ask your vet.
 

daftcat75

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Honesly the mystery meat (me at byproduct) in fancy feast is more concerning than the fish. I don't buy anything with unspecified meats in it.

Indy eats salmon food (perfomatrin ultra)on a daily basis and is perfectly fine. I think its only an issue if your cat has a sensitivity to fish but when in doubt ask your vet.
Byproducts aren't a dirty word. To a cat, there's no such thing as meat byproducts. They'll eat it all. Except maybe the digestive tract which is not included in what can be used in byproducts.

AAFCO does have regulations about what can go into cat food and what can be called byproducts.

As this website says,
Byproducts - AAFCO.
Essentially, a byproduct is what is left over after the intended product has been made. In the case of animal feeds, including pet foods, it’s often the excess materials left over after processing human foods.
Taken together with what can and cannot go into cat food, it essentially means unnamed organs. Instead of saying giblets, they say byproducts. It isn't "lips and buttholes" (as my brother would put it.)

My last cat, Krista, she ate salmon and brown rice kibble for a dozen years. It wasn't until she was nearly thirteen that she started to have problems with it. I can't tell you that she wouldn't have developed IBD on another commercial food. Personally, I like the idea of Fancy Feast which is a lot closer to the ideal cat food recipe of "meat, moisture, organs, and supplements" (preferably in that order, and byproducts counts as organs) than the kibble she ate or the junky prescription food my current cat, Betty is eating. Much as I'd like her to eat Fancy Feast, she likes her junky prescription food. And it seems to agree with her (most of the time.)

In other words, if fish is bad, it may take a lifetime to prove that out. Then again, every cat is different. If you have reservations about fish, rotate it with non-fish flavors. Fancy Feast Classic pate in the Turkey with giblets flavor is one that doesn't include fish.
 

gitabooks

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I don't think fish in itself is bad, but you have to consider that feeding something every day means the cat is being exposed to whatever is in it daily. There is a concern of pollutants, contaminants, and even natural enzymes and fatty acids that can lead to issues.

In the wild, the only species of cat that is known to regularly eat fish is the Fishing Cat. And the species of fish definitely matters. Otherwise, rodents, birds, lizards, and insects make up the majority of most cats' diet.

I'm not a big fan of fish myself. I think it smells bad first off :lol: and I always manage to get it on my hands or shirt when feeding cats. I am willing to give Salmon treats and Salmon flavored cat food to my girlie sometimes, but I usually stick to poultry because that is what she does well on (she has IBD).

As far as fish concerns here are some of the things I've heard (not sure how true all of them are):
- Fish is one of the most common allergens for cats (along with chicken and beef)
- Fish may be treated with multiple preservatives (ethoyxquin, etc)
- Some fish may have dye in them (such as salmon) to color their meat
- There may be a link between fish and hyperthyroidism (an unfortunately common disease in older cats that has been rising in frequency in the last 50 years or so). It is thought that the high PBDE chemical level in some fish may be the reason, as PBDE is associated with the disease in cats.
- Fish based foods may be high in phosphorus (hard on cats with kidney disease) and magnesium (hard on cats with urinary tract issues)
- Fish can be high in contaminants (an issue in many species that live in the water where contaminants tend to drain and build up in predatory species), including heavy metals (I heard of one cat food that actually tests their fish for mercury but many fish can be high in it), pesticides, microplastics, etc.
- Fish based foods and toppers without supplements can lead to nutritional deficiencies (though so can white meat chicken, etc).
- Fish can be "addictive" to cats and lead to them not wanting to eat other foods.
- Raw fish can lead to thiamine deficiency in animals due to an enzyme in certain fish that breaks down thiamine. This is often seen in fish eating species like Mink who are fed too many raw fish.
- Canned fish can be very high in salt, which isn't safe for cats.
- Some people say that farm-raised fish (Salmon being a common one) may cause an issue due to pollutants in the fish pools, medications given, and overcrowding
- Some fish can be quite fatty actually (depending on the species)
- Fish can lead to a vitamin E deficiency without proper supplementation (called yellow fat disease). Some people have concern with the supplement commonly used to correct this (menadione).


Reasons for fish:
- It is often relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire
- There are a variety of species available to choose from (tuna, "whitefish", salmon, etc).
- Many cats like the smell and the taste and it may help with picky or sick cats
- It is high in healthy fatty acids as well as other nutrients that cats require

I personally think fish is too common in cat food, but I think a lot more research is needed to make conclusions.
 

IndyJones

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Byproducts aren't a dirty word. To a cat, there's no such thing as meat byproducts. They'll eat it all. Except maybe the digestive tract which is not included in what can be used in byproducts.

AAFCO does have regulations about what can go into cat food and what can be called byproducts.

As this website says,
Byproducts - AAFCO.


Taken together with what can and cannot go into cat food, it essentially means unnamed organs. Instead of saying giblets, they say byproducts. It isn't "lips and buttholes" (as my brother would put it.)

My last cat, Krista, she ate salmon and brown rice kibble for a dozen years. It wasn't until she was nearly thirteen that she started to have problems with it. I can't tell you that she wouldn't have developed IBD on another commercial food. Personally, I like the idea of Fancy Feast which is a lot closer to the ideal cat food recipe of "meat, moisture, organs, and supplements" (preferably in that order, and byproducts counts as organs) than the kibble she ate or the junky prescription food my current cat, Betty is eating. Much as I'd like her to eat Fancy Feast, she likes her junky prescription food. And it seems to agree with her (most of the time.)

In other words, if fish is bad, it may take a lifetime to prove that out. Then again, every cat is different. If you have reservations about fish, rotate it with non-fish flavors. Fancy Feast Classic pate in the Turkey with giblets flavor is one that doesn't include fish.
Its not byproducts i have issue with, its unspecified byproducts i have issue with.

Chicken byproduct for example is fine. Since I know it comes from a chicken.

Meat byproduct however I'm not ok with. I don't know what animal it has come from. Indy is sensitive to pork for example. So I can't know for sure the meat isn't pork and it could give her the runs.
 

daftcat75

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Its not byproducts i have issue with, its unspecified byproducts i have issue with.

Chicken byproduct for example is fine. Since I know it comes from a chicken.

Meat byproduct however I'm not ok with. I don't know what animal it has come from. Indy is sensitive to pork for example. So I can't know for sure the meat isn't pork and it could give her the runs.
That’s fair.

Even poultry byproducts is too vague if you are trying to avoid chicken but not necessarily turkey or duck. Krista proved this out. 🤮🤦🏼‍♂️😿

There is an AAFCO definition for meat byproducts. It can come from non-fish, non-poultry ruminants including cows, lamb, sheep, and pigs. So yeah. If you’re trying to avoid pork, you’ll need to write off the whole meat byproducts category.
 

Margot Lane

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Alls I know is mom would always shout: “Don’t get that catfood! It has too much ASH!” I’m sure there are cat experts here who can explain “ash.”
 

gitabooks

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Alls I know is mom would always shout: “Don’t get that catfood! It has too much ASH!” I’m sure there are cat experts here who can explain “ash.”
Ash is the minerals that remain when a cat food is burned in a lab. The carbohydrates, fat, protein, and water are removed and only the minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, etc) remain.
It is controversial if high ash content is an issue in cat food, but the belief is that it may be associated with stone production and urinary tract issues in cats. From what I understand specific minerals are better to track than general ash/mineral content. Magnesium, for example, may be associated with stone production, Phosphorus limitation is important for kidney disease, etc.
 
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