Do Cats Really Like Fish?

two pictures of cats eating ground sardines with text overlay: Do cats really like fish?Do cats really like fish? I ask this question because it came up at our house this past week. The answer to this question in our house is, it depends.Primal Sardine Grind

Mom got us some Primal sardine grind at our local store where she gets our raw meat. Since we love an occasional treat of tuna, she thought we would love this. Ocean dove right into it and licked his plate clean. Echo and I weren’t so sure. I licked it a little and Echo (Mr. Picky) just walked away. Now mind you, this was totally different from what we are used to eating. It smelled different and had a much different texture. And you know we cats do not like change.

To get me and Echo to eat it the first day, some clever mom put “croutons” of our favorite chicken skin treat on top. That familiar smell did it for us and we gladly finished it off. The next meal, mom put it underneath our regular meat and we ate everything.

I think after a few more meals, we will all give this smelly good stuff paws up. Mom likes it because it is made from 100% human-grade ingredients. The Primal grinds are not complete and are designed for pet owners who want to tailor it to their pet’s needs in their own recipes. Primal offers a variety of formulas from complete and balanced meals to the grinds which are only ground muscle meat, organ meat and bone.

Do Cats Really Like Fish? -- Ocean eating Primal sardine grind

Ocean dug right in and ate it all.

Do Cats Really Like Fish? -- Christy eating Primal sardine grind

Can you see my chicken skin “croutons” on top?

Our reaction to this new food points out two things. If you feed your cats the same thing, even the same texture, all the time, it is more difficult to transition them to something new. The second thing is that word transition. If you are trying to get your cats to eat wet food or raw, don’t expect them to just go cold turkey.

Why do we cats like fish?

Since our ancestors were desert dwelling cats, it is unlikely that they did a lot of fishing. Now, don’t get me wrong. I probably would, given the chance. I mean, how could I resist those wiggly things? I’ve seen videos of fish tanks and played on mom’s iPad! But seriously, since our natural food is small rodents, small birds, insects and reptiles, why do we go bonkers when you open a can of tuna? It appears that no one really knows, but I ask you, do you know why you crave things?

It seams that in the case of humans, there is some explanation. You can blame evolution on your cravings for sugar and fatty foods. Fatty foods were your hedge against starvation and sugar provided energy. Problem is, you humans no longer have to hunt for these things and, well, you know what that can mean. But for us cats, there is no evolutionary reason for us to crave, or even like, fish.

There is some interesting speculation about how we acquired our taste for fish, like that’s how the Egyptians lured us in to take care of their rodent problems and that because we are opportunistic feeders, we started hanging around fishermen for a free lunch.

Is fish good for cats?

So, the question then is, is it good for us. Fortunately for us kitties, the answer is yes, but with a very serious caveat.

Fish is high in taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that regulates heart rhythm, reproduction, digestion and vision. Most mammals manufacture taurine from other amino acids but cats can’t and must get a regular supply of it in their diet. Taurine is found in fish and meat, especially the heart muscle. Mom just found an icky, to her, bit of info — spiders are rich in tuarine. Maybe that’s why I love hunting them so much! Fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

The caveat here is that, as you humans know, the larger fish like salmon and tuna can have high levels of heavy metals like mercury and other toxins. Feeding your cat a diet high in fish is linked to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and hyperthyroidism. Eating lots of tuna gives kitty urine a strong, unpleasant odor. Some cats are allergic to fish and in fact it is the third most common feline allergy. There are actually a lot of health indications that suggest feeding fish to your cats on a regular basis is not a good idea.

Dr. Karen Becker recommends that if you supplement your cats diet with fish that you feed sardines. Sardines don’t live long enough to store toxins in their bodies, and they’re a terrific source of omega-3s.

So what do you think? Do your cats like fish? How often do they eat fish?

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22 Responses to Do Cats Really Like Fish?

  1. Pingback: Why do cats like fish food - Taunt On Water

  2. Chirpy Cats says:

    Some of us love fish but mostly we like the cluck clucky things. The human lady cat also thinks our kitty ancestors must have hung around fishermen to develop our taste for fish.

    I also do like catching me some itsy bitsy spiders in the summer but they are very fast those little buggers!

    But the human lady cat wants to know if it’s okay to feed fish to Charlie who is prone to blockages and urine crystals. (Not UTI)

    From Mr. Jack and the Chirpies

    • Christy Paws says:

      Hi Chirpies! We hardly ever eat fish except for the very rare treat of tuna when mom opens a can for herself. Mom loves salmon but even humans aren’t supposed to eat those big fish very often. Feline nutritionists in the know often recommend only sardines for us kitties. I’m not sure about fish for Charlie. I think wet food and lots of water will help him most with those blockages and urine crystals. Have a great day! Christy

  3. I’m a fish addict too, Christy and I eat it everything, but only natural fishies and fish kibbles πŸ™‚ Pawkisses πŸ™‚ <3

  4. Mee doess like Blue Wilderness Flaked Tuna an it doess not uppyset mee bowelss at all Christy. Yur tuna sure iss a strange color, mew mew mew
    Mee nevurr had a sardeen befur so mee will put it on LadyMum’ss shoppin list an try one….
    Mee luvss fish!
    **nose kissesss** Siddhartha Henry xxxx

    • Christy Paws says:

      That strange color stuff is the Primal sardine grind. Definitely very different from tuna!

      • It sure LOOKSS differint Christy
        LadyMum syss shee will buy Sardiness oneday an mee can try a bit if mee likess……
        Mee LUVSS mee Blue wilderness Flaked Tuna… iss so tasty an mee can have it!!! Woo Hoo!!!!
        **paw kissesss** Siddhartha Henry xxxxxxx

  5. We LOVE fish ! We’re glad Mum found a chicken-based food with some fish in it, just for the flavor, because we don’t like chicken so much. Purrs

  6. We love fish, but we haven’t gotten to eat it in several years due to Carmine’s FLUTD. We eat lots of chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, etc. around here instead.

  7. I luv fish, but I luv most everything, MOL!

  8. Summer says:

    I will just say that the other night in Tucson, my human brought back some fish and chips to eat in our hotel room… and I would NOT leave her alone!

    Fortunately for both of us, she also likes sardines… and those she will willingly share.

  9. Raven says:

    I’m down for the occasional fishy meal.
    Something I just finished reading is about thiamine deficiency caused by a diet very high in raw fish. I’d be cautious about feeding too much raw fish, making sure everyone gets lots of thiamine through their other foods.

  10. Ellen Pilch says:

    Very interesting post. I don’t feed fish foods that often, but I have 3 cats with hyperthyroid so I will make sure I don’t give them any.

  11. We like fish…though the mom doesn’t feed it to us on a regular basis. We prefer chicken or duck. And we just tried a new food that’s buffalo. We love it!

  12. Glad y’all enjoyed it. We don’t like fish. We just got our furst tastes of it this last year when we went to BlogPaws and then blogged fur Chewy. At furst we atr it, but after eatin’ it a kupple times, we told mommy, no more fish. MOL And you furgot to mention transitionin’ kits like me. Dusn’t matter how much of meez udder food you pile on top of sumfin’ new, me can smell it and me ain’t goin’ anywhere near dat plate. MOL

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  13. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    we can answer thiz one with a mega huge:

    ewe betcha we due loves R fish !!!!!! β™₯β™₯β™₯

  14. This was interesting Christie. We like tuna water….occasionally but not often. I like cod and shrimp. Kali can do without any fish or shellfish.


  15. Cody absolutely HATES fish….he won’t touch it, period.