Do cats eat fish?

If we consider the common image of a cat completely engrossed in eyeing the swimming fish inside the goldfish bowl or a very satisfied and burping cat beside a plate of fish bones, we can certainly say that cats are fish eaters. Do cats really eat fish? Do they eat fish because they like the taste? Or do they eat fish because it is the only kind of food provided by the owner. Cats really do eat fish. In fact, it is not uncommon for these pets to steal fish when the owner’s back is turned.

What do cats eat? Cat foods of course! Modern day cats are provided with manufactured dry and wet or canned cat foods. Cats though were not always fed store bought foods. In the wild, cats have survived and thrived on the meat of prey. Cats are natural predators. The ancestors of today’s cats have existed in arid lands. Historians believed that during the ancient times, cats that have lived in the marshes along the River Nile have helped themselves to the rodents, birds, frogs, lizards and other small animals. As there is an abundant supply of fish, cats have become adept at catching fish using their paws. The excellent hunting abilities of cat is what made the Egyptians welcome these animals into their homes. As cats like to eat fish, fresh fish were used by the Egyptians to lure the cats. Cats have evolved into pets that kept the homes rodent-free.

Proteins, fat, minerals, vitamins and water are the basic nutritional requirements of cats. Aside from the fact that protein provides energy, it is also essential in the cat’s growth and development. Fat is another source of energy. Fat also aids in nutrient transportation and utilization. Cats derive protein and fat from foods like meat, eggs, poultry and fish.

There can be half truths in the theory that cats love the taste of smell because just like other animals, cats do not have very sensitive taste buds. Moreover, since domestic cats have descended from sub-Sahara African wildcats, historians and scientists believe that fish is not a natural food of cats. However, cats have very keen sense of smell and fish have a very strong smell. A cat will certainly smell the fish that is being cooked or the raw fish on the counter. It is not uncommon for a cat to steal a piece or two even if it is not hungry. Do cats know that this food is an excellent source of protein? Just like humans that are enticed to enter a restaurant when the cooking food is smelled, cats’ mouths too would water when fish is smelled.

Cats would benefit from eating fish. As mentioned, fish is a good source of protein and fat. Not many cat owners though are aware of the dangers of feeding the pet too much fish. Tuna fish is one of the favorites of cats. Cats are picky eaters and individuals that have developed a taste for tuna would turn away from any other kind of cat food. Too much fish in the cats’ diet can give rise to some medical problems one of which is the serious steatitis also known as yellow fat disease. This condition occurs if the cat’s diet mostly consists of tuna fish or if the pet is exclusively fed tuna. Tuna and some other fish have very low vitamin E content thus the cat becomes vitamin E deficient. The cat will then loss appetite and run a temperature and be hypersensitive to touch.

Fish is not a natural food of cats. Too much fish in the diet can throw the cat’s health off kilter. Fish can be given occasionally as a treat but never as the main diet of the pet. Raw meat or premium canned cat foods would still be ideal as these kinds of diets would ensure that the nutritional requirements of the cat are met.