Hey, is that tuna good for me?

(Related ref: Kitty Allergies – Food)

Cats eat fish, or so the thinking goes. But there are fish, and then there are fish.

Tuna, while a fav with cats, should not given to a cat unless it’s been properly “processed”:

It may come as a surprise to many that tuna fish is bad for cats. Feline’s heart muscle requires an amino acid called taurine to maintain normal strength and function. Regular tuna fish for humans does not have this amino acid and cats that eat too much tuna fish will develop heart problems. If you want to give your cats that taste of tuna that they love, just make sure it is tuna fish for cats which has this amino acid added. ”
(source: Ten Things You Should Never Give Your Pets)

There is a real possibility of fish causing yellow fat disease in cats:

“…Tuna and ated certain other fish possess very little vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant. When a cat’s diet consists mostly of tuna fish that is not commercially formulated as cat food, the cat becomes deficient in vitamin E. Dietary unsaturated fats from the fish are oxidized by a biochemical called peroxidase into a substance called ceroid. Since the affected cat has low vitamin E levels, this oxidation process is not restrained. Ceroid, an abnormal, pigmented, yellow-brown breakdown product of unsaturated fat oxidation, is formed and deposited in fat cells. The result is yellow fat disease (steatitis).” here.

More detailed info on the impact of a tuna-heavy diet to your cat’s health here (pdf format).

Also, please note this very important comment:

Even if a tuna-fed cat receives prophylactic or supplemental doses of vitamin E, there are other problems besides steatitis that make feeding tuna unwise. Some believe that tuna contains specific substances (allergens) that stimulate allergic-like disorders in cats. Cats should be fed a balanced, commercially prepared diet to avoid these problems.

Other food notes:

(Created: 7 Dec 06. Updated: 15 Apr 07)


One response to “Hey, is that tuna good for me?

  1. Pingback: Must meow can haz fish? « Tipped Ear Clan

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