I was in kitchen with my sister and my mom was cooking some fish for our dinner. My sister asked if cats can eat dried fish and my mom said she didn’t know. I decided to find out if they could or not because I have a cat at home. And after doing a little homework I found my answer!
Yes, cats can eat dried fish! In fact, some cats may even prefer the taste of dried fish to fresh fish. Because of its high protein content, dried fish can be a healthy treat for your cat.
However, it is important to feed your cat only small amounts of dried fish as part of a balanced diet as too much protein can lead to health problems in cats.
What is Dried Fish and Where Does it Come From?
Dried fish is a type of seafood that has been preserved through drying. This can be done through sun drying, smoking, or by using a dehydrator. Dried fish typically has a higher protein content than fresh fish and can be a good source of nutrition for your cat.
Fish jerky, fish sticks, and other types of dried fish are often made from whitefish such as cod, haddock, or pollock. Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are also common types of fish that are used to make dried fish snacks.
Dried fish is a popular snack in many cultures including Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Scandinavian. In China, dried fish is often consumed as a hangover cure due to its high protein content.
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Dried Fish?
I know what you’re thinking, “my cat is a carnivore, so they don’t need the extra protein from fish”. But, even though cats are carnivores, they can still benefit from the nutrients found in fish.
Here I’ll go over some of the key nutrients found in dried fish and how they can benefit your cat.
As I mentioned, dried fish is a great source of protein for cats. Protein is essential for cats as it helps them to build and repair muscle tissue, produce enzymes and hormones, and boost their immune system.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Dried fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids can not be produced by the cat’s body and must be obtained through their diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for cats as they help to keep their coat and skin healthy, support joint health, and reduce inflammation.
3. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is another nutrient found in dried fish that is essential for cats. This vitamin helps to maintain healthy red blood cells and nerves. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia and neurological problems in cats.
Selenium is a mineral that can be found in small amounts in dried fish. This mineral is important for cats as it helps to boost their immune system and protect against disease.
You know how important iron is for humans, but did you know that it’s just as important for cats? Iron helps to carry oxygen around the body and is essential for a healthy immune system.
Which Dried Fish I Should Avoid to Give my Cat?
There are some types of dried fish that you should avoid feeding your cat as they can be harmful to their health. These include:
1. Dried fish with added salt
Yes, salt is a necessary electrolyte for cats, but too much salt can lead to health problems such as dehydration, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. When buying dried fish snacks for your cat, make sure to check the label to ensure that they don’t contain added salt.
2. Dried fish with added sugar
Sugar is not necessary for cats and can actually be harmful to their health. Sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems in cats. Avoid giving your cat any snacks that contain added sugar.
3. Dried fish with added preservatives
Preservatives are added to dried fish to extend its shelf life. However, some of these preservatives can be harmful to your cat’s health. BHA and BHT are two preservatives that have been linked to cancer in animals. So, it’s best to avoid giving your cat any dried fish that contains these preservatives.
4. Dried fish with artificial flavors or colors
Artificial flavors and colors are added to some dried fish snacks to make them more appealing to humans. However, these chemicals can be harmful to your cat’s health. Avoid giving your cat any snacks that contain artificial flavors or colors.
5. Dried fish with bones
Bones can be a choking hazard for cats and can also cause gastrointestinal problems such as constipation or diarrhea. If you give your cat dried fish, make sure that it doesn’t contain any bones.
How Much Dried Fish Can Cats Eat?
So now that you know the nutritional benefits of dried fish and which types to avoid, you may be wondering how much dried fish you can give your cat. The answer to this question will depend on a few factors such as your cat’s age, weight, and health condition.
Here I’ll go over the general guidelines for feeding dried fish to cats.
1. Kittens (Age: 6-12 weeks)
Kittens need a diet that is high in protein to support their rapid growth and development. You can give your kitten dried fish as a treat or add it to their food to boost their protein intake.
However, make sure not to overdo it as too much protein can be harmful to kittens. A good rule of thumb is to give them no more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
2. Adult Cats (Age: 1 year+)
Adult cats need a diet that is lower in protein than kittens. You can still give your cat dried fish as a treat or add it to their food.
However, make sure not to give them more than 2-3 grams of protein per day.
3. Senior Cats (Age: 7 years+)
Senior cats may need a diet that is lower in protein and calories to prevent obesity and maintain a healthy weight. You can still give your cat dried fish as a treat or add it to their food.
However, make sure not to give them more than 1 gram of protein per day.
4. Sick/Recovering Cats
Cats that are sick or recovering from surgery need a diet that is high in calories and nutrients to help them recover. You can give your cat dried fish as a treat or add it to their food to increase their calorie and nutrient intake.
5. Cats with allergies
Some cats may be allergic to fish. If your cat is exhibiting any signs of an allergy (e.g., itchiness, swelling, difficulty breathing), stop giving them dried fish and consult your veterinarian.
Some Healthy Recipes that Include Dried Fish
While I doing research for this article, I found a few healthy recipes that include dried fish. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Dried Fish and Potato Dog Food
This is my favorite recipe that includes dried fish. It’s a healthy and balanced meal for your dog that is packed with protein and nutrients.
- 1 cup dried fish
- 1 cup potatoes
- 3 cups water
1. Add the dried fish, potatoes, and water to a pot and stir.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool before serving to your dog.
2. Dried Fish Cat Treats
These are healthy and nutritious treats that your cat will love. They’re packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your cat’s health.
- 1 cup dried fish
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup oats
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a bowl, mix together the dried fish, whole wheat flour, and oats.
3. Roll the mixture into small balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let the treats cool before serving to your cat.
How to Store and Prepare Dried Fish for your Cat?
Now comes the tricky part: storing and preparing dried fish for your cat. Dried fish is a perishable food, so it’s important to store it properly to prevent it from going bad.
Here I’ll go over the proper way to store and prepare dried fish for your cat.
1. Store in a cool, dry place
It’s may be most convenient to store your dried fish in the pantry or cupboard. However, it’s important to make sure that the area is cool and dry.
If the area is too warm, the fish will go bad more quickly. If the area is too humid, the fish will become moldy.
2. Prepare fresh
I personally think that it’s best to prepare the dried fish fresh for each meal. This way, you can be sure that your cat is getting the freshest and most nutritious food possible.
3. Store leftovers in the fridge
Yes, you can store leftover dried fish in the fridge for future meals. However, it’s important to make sure that the fish is properly sealed in an airtight container.
If the fish is not properly sealed, it will become dry and tough.
4. Give it a smell test
Before giving your cat any dried fish, it’s important to do a smell test. Dried fish that has gone bad will have a strong and unpleasant odor.
If the fish smells bad, don’t give it to your cat.
5. Thaw before preparing
Make sure to thaw the fish completely before preparing it for your cat. The best way to thaw it is to place it in the fridge overnight.
You can also thaw it by placing it in a bowl of warm water. However, make sure to change the water every 15 minutes to prevent the fish from becoming contaminated.
6. Add to your cat’s food
Once the fish is thawed, you can add it to your cat’s food. I recommend adding it to wet food, as this will help to increase the moisture content of their diet.
You can also add it to dry food, but make sure to add a little bit of water to the mixture so that the fish doesn’t end up too dry.
I hope now you know everything about feeding your cat dried fish. While it’s a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, it’s important to store and prepare it properly to prevent contamination.
When in doubt, always give the fish a smell test before feeding it to your cat. And, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your veterinarian.