Can Cats Eat Canned Tuna? Benefits & Potential Health Concerns

Do you want to know if your cat can eat Tuna? Well, you have heard or seen countless stories that cats love fish. But, can cats eat tuna? Also, can your cat eat Tuna that you prepare for human consumption?

The simple answer to this question is the fact that cats crave for Tuna. They love the robust flavor and the powerful smell of the fish. However, Tuna can cause health issues in cats. Especially Tuna that is ideal for human consumption.

Cats won’t face any health issues if they consume small amounts of Tuna. Therefore, you can serve Tuna to cats as an occasional treat. Nevertheless, you must avoid feeding your cat with tuna-heavy diets. This type of fish lacks the essential nutrients that healthy cats require.

Besides, a cat that consumes too much of Tuna can die of mercury poisoning. It would be best to ensure that the type of Tuna you feed to your cats is fresh. Never feed your cat with Tuna that you prepared for human consumption.

What Makes Tuna Harmful to Your Cat?

Can Cats Eat Canned Tuna

We have seen several reports of mercury poisoning among cats that live in tuna-based commercial areas. Nevertheless, there is limited information on how much mercury could be present in tuna-based feeds for cats. We also have limited data about the mercury levels that are in cats that feed on Tuna.

All the same, we have the reasons to conclude that when a cat feeds on too much Tuna, it ingests too much mercury into their body. This conclusion is also evident among humans who feed on too much Tuna.

Some of the major health problems that your cat might develop from consuming too much Tuna include thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency, difficulty in walking, and lack of balance & coordination. Your veterinarian will not realize mercury toxicity in your cat easily since it is a common problem.

Higher chances are that they won’t diagnose mercury poisoning among cats even when it happens. In any case, it would be best to make sure that you limit the amount of Tuna that your cat consumes. You must avoid feeding your cat with albacore, which is almost three times higher in mercury content.

Occasional tuna treats can be the most effective method to solve this health issue in cats. Veterinarians would advise against feeding your cat on tuna-based diets daily. However, adhering to these health measures could be challenging since most cat feeds contain some level of Tuna.

The worst of it all is that cats get attracted to Tuna naturally. You can still replace cat feeds high in Tuna with those that feature other fish components such as salmon. Such feeds have a lower concentration of mercury, which makes them healthier for your cat.

How Does Tuna Affect Cat Nutrition?

A well-balanced cat’s diet must include minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and protein. Your cat will develop health complications if they consume too much or too little of certain nutrients.

Feeding your cat with Tuna alone does not offer all these nutrients. For instance, this type of fish contains high levels of unsaturated fats. To make it worse, it does not have any other antioxidants of Vitamin E to help supplement the high level of fats.

For that reason, you must avoid feeding Tuna to your cat as a primary source of nutrition. Ensure that you limit the amounts of Tuna that you feed to your cat. If they develop any health issues, make sure that you consult a veterinarian to check their health status.

Why Tuna Consumption Cause Weight Gain Among Cats

Adverse Effects of Canned Tuna
Image: Lucky Belly

Most cats stay indoors and are naturally inactive. For that reason, they require lesser calories. This statement implies that weight gain is most likely to make them creep. Research indicates that a cat that weighs around 11 pounds should not consume more than 290 calories within a day.

The research further explains that most foodstuffs suitable for human consumption come with too many calories that are too much for cats. For instance, a few ounces of canned Tuna might contain an average of 100 calories.

In any case, feeding your cat with Tuna suitable for human consumption can result in a significant weight gain. The condition might be worse for the case where you supplement Tuna with normal cat meals.

Like humans, obesity among cats can contribute to common health issues such as inflammation, arthritis, urinary disease, and diabetes. As a result, you must monitor food consumption when trying to manage the health condition of your cat.

The good thing about this is that most pet food manufacturers provide calorie content information on their packets. This information can help you determine the number of calories you feed to your cat in a day. Making an informed decision is crucial to the health of your cat.

Can All Cats Feed on Tuna?

Some cats’ breeds are allergic to fish. Experts say that fish might cause allergic concerns such as red bumps, swollen or red skin, hair loss, and itching among cats. Some other considerable allergic concerns include diarrhea, loss of appetite, gas, and vomiting.

Is Tuna High in Mercury?

Recent reports indicate that Tuna is very high in mercury, which is a toxic metal. Feeding your cat with too much Tuna frequently can result in death due to food poisoning. The most common symptoms that indicate mercury poisoning among cats may include loss of coordination & balance and dizziness.

It would be best to ensure that you keep meals featuring tuna species such as albacore away from your cats. The main explanation for this is that albacore belongs to larger tuna species, which are almost three times higher in mercury.

The bottom line is that Tuna does not have a nutritional balance and must not take a larger part of the cat’s diet. Even the canned Tuna can result in several health concerns, especially if the cats consume them frequently in large amounts.

How Do Cats Benefit from Tuna Consumption?

Can Kittens Eat Tuna
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Research shows that Tuna can serve as a healthy treat for your cat. In real sense, most commercial food available for cats contains Tuna as a key ingredient. Tuna is low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

It can also provide your cat with omega-3 vital fatty acids, such as DHA and EPA. Well, these fatty acids are essential for the development of coat and overall skin. They can also boost inflammatory conditions such as skin disease, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and allergies.

What Type of Tuna is Okay for your Cat?

In a case where you would like to offer your cat occasional tuna treats, you must consider fresh Tuna or canned Tuna. Also, ensure that you avoid buying canned Tuna packed in oil and procure canned Tuna packed in water instead. Most importantly, avoid Tuna that feature other flavorings and salt.

Chunk-light tuna can be a better option for the cats than the albacore. You must also ensure that you track all other sources of Tuna that your cat might be consuming. For instance, you do not have to feed Tuna to a cat that feeds on canned meals that contain Tuna.

It would be best to ensure that you cook fresh Tuna before serving it to your cat. Giving raw fish to your cat can result in health problems. The cats get exposed to the same health issues that humans get from eating uncooked fish.

Raw fish contains parasites and bacteria. It also contains the thiaminase enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down essential Vitamin B. This process can result in a thiamine deficiency, which is a very dangerous condition. Cooking Tuna will help to kill the bacteria.

Are there any Safe Methods of Feeding Cats with Tuna?

It would be best to consult your veterinarian before adding any new meals to your cat’s diet. Most importantly, you must ensure that you strictly adhere to the guidelines that the veterinarian suggests when treating your cat with Tuna.

Above all, you must note that supplement treats must take up less than 10% of the number of calories that your cat consumes in a day. The remaining 90% should be from complete-and-balanced and high-quality cat food.


  • The whole idea of feeding your cat with Tuna may vary depending on the conditions. A cat that does not consume too much-canned Tuna can get no effects from feeding on occasional Tuna treats.
  • You must understand that Tuna contains a higher level of Mercury. This metal can result in significant health concerns if it accumulates in the body. Thus, you must make sure that you first seek guidance from a veterinarian before feeding your cat with Tuna.
  • You must ensure that you feed your cat with fresh and cooked Tuna. Cooking Tuna will help kill bacteria that could result in health challenges if it gets into your cat’s body.

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1 thought on “Can Cats Eat Canned Tuna? Benefits & Potential Health Concerns”

  1. Thanks for informing me that I should refrain from giving my cat human canned tuna because it contains mercury, which is unhealthy to be consumed by felines. My boyfriend is planning to purchase a wholesale pack of canned tuna for us and our three pet Persian cats. I’ll tell him what you shared with me so we would only feed them canned tuna occasionally. My boyfriend and I would have to eat the rest of the tunas, but it’s okay since it’s known to be the most nutritious canned food. Thanks again, Maia!


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