I have always wondered why cats like fish.it's not a natural food for them,
they don't fish...



Mindy Bough, veterinary technician for the ASPCA Pet Nutrition and Science
Advisory Service, dishes out the facts on this savory feline fave:

"An occasional tuna treat for your cat is generally harmless," says Bough.
"However, if a large part of the cat's diet consists of tuna--or if the cat
is fed tuna exclusively--some problems are likely to arise."

Tuna does not contain significant amounts of vitamin E, for example, so too
much of the fish can lead to vitamin E deficiency, resulting in yellow fat
disease, or steatitis. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fever and
hypersensitivity to touch, due to inflammation and necrosis of fat under the
skin. Felines who are fed too much tuna can develop other nutrient
deficiencies, too, because most de-boned fish are lacking in calcium,
sodium, iron, copper and several other vitamins.

Mercury, frequently present in tuna, also presents a potential danger. "At
low levels, this may not be a concern," explains Bough, "but if tuna is fed
nearly exclusively, it could pose significant problems."

The bottom line? "I recommend premium commercial food for domestic cats,"
Bough says. "These foods are formulated to meet all of a cat's dietary




Many owners consider fish to be the staple diet of cats - and they believe
that it is beneficial to feed them an exclusively fish ration. 

Fish is a good raw ingredient to incorporate into cat foods, but it has
certain draw backs. Firstly it does not contain all the nutrients that a cat
requires and, like meat, it is deficient in calcium with an inverse
calcium:phosphorus ratio. Coley (or Saithe) a popular fish with cat owners
in the UK and the fillet cut contains 15-20 mg calcium per 100g but over 200
mg phosphorus per 100g, a Ca:P ratio of 1:10. Cod and other white fish are

If owners are feeding fish bones should be removed to avoid complications.
Fish should be cooked to avoid the possibility of disease transmission.  

"Salmon poisoning" has been recorded in cats which contracted the disease
caused by Neorickettsiae spp from eating raw salmon or trout. This disease
occurs within 2 weeks of the ingestion of infected food and causes the
following signs : 

*       Depression 
*       Fever 
*       Lymphadenopathy - swelling of the lymph nodes 
*       Oculonasal discharge 
*       Haematemesis - vomiting blood 
*       Diarrhoea 
*       Death - 90% in untreated cases. 

Diagnosis is confirmed by finding trematode eggs in faeces samples, or
rickettsiae in lymph node samples.

Clinical cases of thiamine deficiency are periodically seen by veterinarians
due to cats being fed  fish - as commercially prepared canned food, or as
raw fish. Thiamin (vitamin B1) is an essential dietary nutrient for cats.
Processing can destroy thiamine in a food, and so reduce the initial
concentrations present at canning, and some fish (including herring and
carp) contain the thiaminase which will destroy thiamine. 

Clinical signs of thiamine deficiency include : 

*       Anorexia 
*       Ataxia - 2-3 days later 
*       Vomiting 
*       Convulsions - short  
*       Dilation of the pupils 
*       Ventroflexion of the neck (Chastek's paralysis) 

Affected patients will die unless treatment is administered (100-250 mg
thiamine IV or SC twice daily). In most cases a complete recovery can be
expected in treated cases unless severe central nervous system has occurred.

Confirmation of diagnosis is not readily available : 

*       Increased plasma pyruvate 
*       Increased plasma lactate 
*       Reduced erythrocyte trans-ketolase activity (a thiamine-dependant

Some fish are particularly high in oil content, and pansteatitis or "yellow
fat disease" is caused by the intake of too much fat in the absence of
adequate antioxidant. Red-meat tuna has been reported to be particularly
involved as a cause of this in cats. The cause of the disease is
accumulation of peroxides - the end product of rancidification of fat - in
the cats adipose tissue causing yellow-brown discolouration.

Clinical signs of pansteatitis include :

*       Abdominal Pain 
*       Anorexia 
*       Fever 
*       Lethargy 
*       Hardening of subcutaneous and intra-abdominal fat depots 
*       Occasionally ascites (low in protein content;  compare with FIP -
high in protein content) 

The condition is treated with dietary management (a complete and balanced
diet), Vitamin E supplementation (30mg alpha-tocopherol/day ) , and some
authors recommend the use of corticosteroids. 



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