As cat parents, we like finding ways to give our cats a more interesting and varied diet. This can be in the form of trying a new diet or feeding human food as a treat to your cat.
One question which I get asked frequently is “can cats eat fish skin?”
Cats can eat fish skin provided it is prepared the right way before consumption. Fish skin isn’t toxic to cats if it is properly cooked and deboned. In fact, giving your cat some fish skin like salmon skin as an occasional treat can have health benefits.
Before you run off and buy a whole year’s supply of fish for your cat, let us first take a closer look at the dos and don’ts of feeding fish skin to your cat.
Is Fish Skin Healthy For Cats?
Fish skin has had some bad press over the years as not being healthy. Some regard it as being too fatty like animal skin.
Not very true.
In fact, fish skin contains the same nutritional value as eating the flesh of the fish itself. It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil), iron, protein, vitamin B and potassium.
Cats can also derive the same benefits when it comes to eating fish skin.
One thing to note is that although fish skin is not toxic to cats, it would be best to stick to fishes that are low in mercury levels and contaminants like:
Fishes to avoid:
Benefits Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Cats
Omega 3 fatty acid is the main nutrient in fish skin and can provide a number of health benefits for your cat.
- Reduce inflammatory disease
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Healthier skin and coat
- Helps with arthritic joints
- Supports brain health and development
- Effective hairball management
Can Cats Eat Raw Fish Skin?
No, please do not feed your cat raw fish skin or raw fish for that matter. Even though we advocate a raw meat diet for cats, raw fish is dangerous to cats.
Raw fish contains an enzyme called thiaminase that interferes with the absorption of vitamin B in your cat’s body.
Vitamin B is important to cats as it helps support a healthy nervous system. Furthermore, cats can’t naturally produce vitamin B and must get it via their food source.
A lack of vitamin B in your cat’s diet can lead to weight loss and weakness.
So please do not feed your cat any raw fish or seafood.
How To Prepare Fish Skin For My Cat?
Proper preparation is key when it comes to feeding your cat fish skin. Do not just tear off the fish skin from your salmon steak dinner and feed it to your cat.
There might be ingredients on it like garlic and onions that can be toxic to cats.
Tuna or salmon skin are popular with cats and make a good starting choice. In this recipe, we will be using salmon skin.
Remove all the fish bones and scales from the salmon skin. You don’t want your cat choking on fish bones as that can be very dangerous. Popular cooking methods are to steam or grill the salmon skin before feeding it to your cat.
Don’t add any seasonings, ingredients or oil in order to make it tastier for your cat as that isn’t necessary.
Once the salmon skin is fully cooked, let it cool down first before feeding it to your cat.
If your cat is still a kitten, you can cut it up into smaller pieces to make it easier to consume.
Can Cats Have Fried Fish Skin?
Although fried fish skin is still ok for cats, it isn’t the best way of cooking it for your cat. Too much oil in your cat’s diet can cause digestive issues and weight gain.
It would be best to just stick to grilled or steamed.
How Much Fish Skin Should I Give My Cats?
There is no hard or fast rule when it comes to the amount of fish skin to give your cat. But I would err on the side of giving less than more.
This would also depend on the weight and age of your cat.
One serving size of raw salmon skin from a piece of salmon should last your cat a few meals. Fish skin should be used as an occasional treat for your cat and as an addition to your cat’s diet.
Contrary to what the media portrays, cats aren’t fish eaters. Even cats in the wild prefer protein sources from animals instead of fish.
If you do plan to give your cat more omega-3 in its diet, you can purchase omega-3 supplements from most pet stores.
But I suggest speaking to your vet before doing so to get more information on the dosages to feed your cat.
Can Dogs Eat Fish Skin?
The same rules would apply when it comes to feeding our furry doggy friends fish skin too. Do not feed your dogs raw fish head or fish meat or seafood of any kind as seafood can interfere with your dog’s absorption of thiamine too.
Prepare the fish skin the same way you would do for a cat and feed in moderation as an occasional treat.
Can Cats Eat Smoked Fish Skin?
Cats should not be eating fish sticks or smoked fish skin as it contains very high levels of salt and preservatives.
Too much sodium in your cat’s diet can cause many health issues like dehydration, spasms and seizures.
Your cat is already getting enough salt from its main diet and smoked fish skin just has too much of it and should be avoided.
Can Cats Eat Salmon Skin?
Yes, cats can eat salmon skin and salmon is one fish that we usually ask cat owners to start with.
It is lower in mercury levels and contamination as compared to many other fishes and most cats find the taste and smell appealing.
If possible, stick to fresh salmon and not canned salmon as it might contain ingredients that aren’t very healthy for cats.
Can My Cat Eat A Whole Fish?
Cats should never have a whole fish as a meal even when it’s cooked. A cat’s main source of protein should come from animal meat like poultry, beef and lamb and not from seafood.
Furthermore, the bones in cooked fish can pose a choking hazard for many cats due to their spearlike shape.
If you have never tried giving your cat fish skin before as a treat, it might be worth trying it out to see if your cat likes it.
It tastes delicious to cats and has some health benefits.
Just make sure to prepare and cook the fish skin properly before serving it to your cat.