Can I give my cat canned tuna?

Cats love tuna. They really love fish in general, the taste, the smell. Which is weird to me because, outside of a goldfish in a bowl, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a small cat actually acquire fish on its own.

EDIT: I found a video on YouTube –

A lot of people, though, wonder if its okay to give their sweet little baby canned tuna. Generally, I would say to be very careful about giving kitty canned tuna. While kitties love fish, and there is nothing wrong with giving the baby tuna in general, the problem comes from who, exactly, that canned tuna was manufactured for: People (Big Kitties, as Gabby calls us).

Humans love two things in our food above all else: Salt & Sugar. We can’t seem to get enough of either. Think about all of your favorite cereals and treats, they’re soaked in liquid sugar! And what about your favorite munchie snacks, like goldfish, trail mix, nuts, etc? Loaded with salt! In fact, most food manufactured for people (specifically Americans) is going to be loaded to the brim with either sugar, or salt, or maybe even both!

Think of a cat’s natural diet: Fish, mice, snakes, the occasional beetle. None of it is very salty naturally, and especially not in the concentrations seen in canned meats – which are generally overloaded with salt.

This is especially true of canned tuna. It is absolutely inundated with salt. Lots and lots of sodium (just look at the ingredients!). Salt acts as a flavor additive and preservative, so they pack it in there. That water that’s in the can is usually more of a brine than actual tap water. This is a problem because your cat’s kidneys can’t filter out salt like yours. If they get too much salt in their diet, their poor little kidneys won’t be able to cope and will actually begin to shut down. This will put your cat in a lot of pain and is often times fatal.

The tuna itself isn’t a problem for your cat, though. If you can find no-sodium options in canned tuna, I’d go with that over regular canned tuna. Even better if its packed in Olive Oil, just make sure to drain as much oil as possible, as the large oil intake could wreak havoc on your baby’s digestive system. The best option, though, would be to get some fresh tuna from the deli counter or fish market and blend it in a food processor with a bit of cooked rice and a touch of olive oil. This blend will be fluffy and healthy and contain the right nutrients for your kitty to enjoy – and it’s authentic!

If you’re stuck and run out of food and the only thing you have for the cat is canned tuna – and I mean the only thing – then make sure you thoroughly drain and rinse the tuna before you feed it to your cat, and try not to do any more than a single can in a given week. Keep plenty of fresh and clean water around for your baby so that they can drink and flush out the salt from their system.

RELATED: Can I Feed My Cat ____? (SUPERLIST!)

I hope this helps! I see a lot of people that feed their cat canned fish exclusively, and not canned fish made for cats but the kind made for people. That’s generally not a good idea, again because of the sodium content of canned meats. However, it will come through in a pinch, and if you pick the right kind of fish, it can be a great addition to your cat’s diet and help keep them from developing a nasty food allergy.

Comments (2)
August 19, 2016

Good info…we don’t get canned tuna very much…but when we do, it’s always the kind packed in water.

September 9, 2016

Not only cat but human also like tuna. Haha. Thank you for this post, It is really helpful for cat owners.


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