Can cats eat tuna fish? Benefits and risks of Cats consuming tuna fish

Yes, most of the cats can safely have tuna in their diet. In fact, they love eating tuna fish for its sapidity and robust smell.

Some cats are even very addicted and fond of it. But always remember tuna is never a replacement for a regular meal.

Cats require a well-balanced meal so tuna fish alone cannot have all the nutrients, and if replaced, the cat can lead to malnutrition.

Feeding tuna fish to cats is not toxic, but excessive feeding can be dangerous to their health. Cats on an average weigh around 10-12pounds that means, it has to consume nearly 290 calories per day.

Tuna should cover just 10% of the total meal if you are willing to feed them regularly. Cats eating tuna fish every day can be prone to equal amounts of benefits and risks.
Let’s explore below in detail;

Health benefits of cats consuming tuna fish:

Tuna fish contains,

  • Vitamin B12
  • B-vitamin like niacin and riboflavin
  • Vitamin D
  • Phosphorous
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  • Calcium

Because of the above nutrients present in tuna, cats can have benefits like,

  • Improves immunity power
  • Cats stay hydrated
  • Weight loss
  • Reduces free radicals
  • Increases eyesight
  • Heals arthritis
  • Supports hips and joints
  • Blood pressure can be maintained
  • Contribute to overall skin and coat health
  • Cures allergies
  • Reduces inflammatory bowel disease
  • Promote overall growth and development.

Health risks of cats consuming tuna fish:

There is no harm unless tuna is fed in moderation. Problems arise when there is too much of consumption or when cats are allergic to tuna, and you unknowingly provide them.

Let’s see below what are the risks cats will experience by eating tuna fish,

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Urinary disease
  • Inflammation
  • Vitamin E deficiency
  • Pancreatitis or steatitis
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cystitis
  • Heart problems
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Thiamine deficiency

Tuna contains a high amount of mercury levels that may lead to mercury poisoning. It can develop vitamin E deficiency that can aid to a condition called yellow fat disease.

Cat owner can find whether their cat is allergic to tuna by some common indications like itching, hair loss, vomiting’s, diarrhoea, swollen skin and loss of appetite.

Too much of salt would create problems like kidney failure and severe threat called Cystitis.

Can cats eat canned tuna?

Yes, cats can eat canned tuna and have tuna juice but, in significantly less quantities and not advisable to give them regularly though cats are so attracted to it.

You can only choose canned tuna as an occasional treat or else try to eliminate it from the cat diet. Canned tuna with water is the best choice than canned tuna with oil or brine.

Just be aware there is no added salts or other flavourings that could harm your feline friend.

Canned tuna is mostly offered in three formats, namely, Albacore, Yellowfin, and skipjack. This canned white tuna(albacore) has almost mercury levels three times higher to that of skipjack, which is very dangerous, causing mercury poisoning.

Canned tuna has too much of salt in it which is undoubtedly not good for their health. Canned tuna does not contain taurine in it, which makes food inadequate for cats. 

Best way to feed your feline the canned tuna is to rinse them before giving or else soak it in hot water and rinse it so that oil and extra additives separate from it.

This would be healthy for them, and cats will surely enjoy it. The health benefits and risks of eating canned tuna are the same as tuna. But fresh cooked tuna is much advisable to feed your cats than canned tuna.

Can kitties eat tuna or canned tuna?

Young cats require a high nutritional diet as they are still growing. Kittens can eat this tuna, but their resistance to risks associated with tuna is a bit low compared to adult cats.

So, once in a while if you feed them this tuna or canned tuna that would be appreciated avoiding oils, additives, salts and other flavourings. Tuna for kittens would bring more health risks than benefits. 

Especially mercury poisoning may happen more faster for kittens because of high mercury levels. Thus, freshly cooked tuna is much preferred to canned tuna for them.

Just include tuna only 10% out of their complete diet and never make this food as a replacement meal. Don’t completely avoid this food to cats because it is protein-rich and has all the essential nutrients your cat requires.  

Can cats eat canned tuna in oil?

The answer would be No; Oils are really toxic and harmful for cat’s health. Canned tuna fish for humans usually has oil in it, and if you feed the same canned tuna to the cat without any measure, then you are risking your feline’s health.

The cat may struggle with breathing difficulty, fattening, failure of the liver, heart issues and kidney failure. Rinse the oil out of canned tuna and then feed them. So Canned tuna with water is the best choice than canned tuna with oil. 

Can cats eat raw tuna fish?

Eating raw tuna fish is dangerous to cats the same as humans. Thiaminase enzyme present in raw fish breaks down the vitamin called thiamine, leading to thiamine deficiency which is very dangerous to a cat.

Adding to that, raw fish contain some bacteria and parasites that are poisonous to cats. So, by cooking raw meat, it would eliminate the bacteria and parasites in it and also destroy the enzyme causing thiaminase.

This makes your cat to absorb more vitamins properly from cooked tuna.

Can cats eat tuna with other foods?

The answer would probably be yes. Many commercial cat foods include tuna as one of their ingredients. Cats love this food a lot, so other nutritional foods that cats don’t like to eat are fed along with tuna.

Tuna fish itself alone cannot be consumed in significant quantities so be mindful about the proportion while you include them with other foods. 

Always take suggestions from your pet doc when you are trying any new combo to avoid further complications. Sometimes tuna is given along with medication for the cat if they don’t like to have medicines because of their taste.


In a nutshell, we would say that tuna fish for cats is recommended only on the grounds of an occasional treat to them. Regular feeding and replacing them with regular diet are not advisable, and the cat may suffer from malnutrition.

This food should only be fed in moderation, and extra additives, oils, salts, sauces and flavourings are strictly not permitted. Canned tuna may taste good but always prefer freshly cooked tuna for your cats.

Canned tuna in water is better than canned tuna in oil. In case you don’t have the option to rinse out all the oil and additives out of it and give to your feline.

Recent Posts