Who doesn’t love to spoil their kitties? I know I sure do! What could be a better treat for my “furbabies” than some fish?
It turns out that the fish may not love our cats bodies back as much as we would like. As owners, we want to please our pets by providing them a treat that is exciting and tastes great, but we need to be responsible and provide them with a treat that is also nutritious and healthy.
It turns out fish is not that healthy of a choice for our kitties. To be exact, tuna is a bad option no matter how yummy.
Tuna can be made for human consumption or for kitty food. When made for humans, the canned tuna is preserved with an amino acid called purine, which is vital for humans. Cats cannot metabolize or digest purine.
Amino acids are proteins that help make up our DNA structure. When we eat food, it is broken up into the chemicals it is made of, with each nutrient going to their designated locations. One type of chemical we digest from our food are vitamins that react with amino acids to make our bodies function.
When purine is ingested in a cat’s body, it gets stuck and cannot be digested like humans. It can cause a multitude of problems for our cats such as yellow fat disease, high uric acid levels, even kidney and liver failure. Granted, these mostly happen if the cat eats fish every day, but even random small amounts can have a harmful effect.
Tuna that is made specifically for cat food is different when it comes to purine. This amino acid is removed and replaced by another amino acid known as taurine. Taurine is important for the strength of a cat’s heart walls and muscle tension. However, even tuna made for cat food still has another problem – Mercury.
Due to the high levels of toxins and pollutants in our oceans, fish absorb some of the chemicals that can harm both humans and cats alike. When we eat these fish, we are also eating the toxins they absorbed. It’s highly recommended that pregnant women do not eat fish while carrying to prevent the toxins from spreading to their unborn child.
If spread, the mercury can disrupt the development of the child’s central nervous system (which controls the brain, eyes, heart and spinal cord). If that is the kind of damage that can affect an unborn child, what about a cat?
If an average-sized cat consumes a small amount of mercury, wouldn’t that be comparable to an unborn child receiving the mercury its mother eats in the fish? The damage caused is the same for a cat, affecting the central nervous system and more.
In felines, mercury exposure causes dilated pupils as if they were seeing in the dark, causing daytime light to become painful and blurry. It can also cause loss of balance – and we all know how important that is! Lastly, on top of everything else, it can cause seizures and even death with repeated exposure of high quantities (such as a half can).
The bottom line: tuna may be very tasty and might be ok in random, tiny, small quantities, but tuna and fish are definitely not the healthiest snacks for our kitties.