Can Cats Eat Tuna?

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Everyone has either heard about or seen the trope of a cat eating tuna. It’s often just assumed that cats can eat tuna, because we see it all the time. But can cats eat tuna for real without it harming them?

» You might be interested in the Best Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats.

can cats eat tuna

Maybe it was in an old cartoon, or maybe even a wild cat catching a fish in a stream. But we’ve all seen cats eating fish. Fish is a great source of protein, and cats need lots of protein in their diets. So it should be fine, right? We’ve got the run-down on whether cats can actually eat tuna in this article.

» See more of the foods your cat can or can’t eat in this slideshow.

Can Cats Eat Tuna Without Issues?

Yes, a cat can eat tuna because it is mostly a beneficial protein for them. There are a few things to watch out for though. When choosing the type of tuna to feed your cat, watch out for added salt, sugar, and other unhealthy additives.

When additional ingredients are added to the tuna, it can make it unsafe for cats to eat. Tuna that is fresh and has only tuna oil in it is the safest for your cat to consume.

Is Tuna Bad For Cats?

Most human foods such as bread or cheese have no benefits for a cat, but tuna is slightly different. It’s full of protein and beneficial fats, which are great for a cat’s diet. Because of this, tuna is often a staple ingredient of both dried and raw cat foods that you’ll find on the shelves of grocery stores.

But, while cats can eat tuna, it should not be the only thing a cat eats. It lacks in several essential vitamins and minerals, meaning that if your cat is only eating tuna they will become weak due to the nutrition balance being incorrect.

And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning, according to WebMD.  Tuna, like most fish and shellfish, contains toxic, heavy metal mercury. However, it would take eating a lot of it to cause issues.

Feeding a Cat Tuna

cat eating wet food

There are a couple things to keep in mind if you choose to feed your cat tuna. Just like humans, cats can catch diseases and illnesses from raw meat. You should only feed your cat fully cooked tuna, unless you’re absolutely sure of its purity.

Before feeding tuna to your cat make sure that the tuna contains no bones. The small bones found in tuna can cause your cat to choke, and can even puncture their internal organs if swallowed. This is seriously dangerous and can even be lethal!

If you’re going to feed your cat canned tuna, make sure that the tuna is canned in water- not oil! Also check the tuna to make sure it isn’t artificially flavored, because some artificial flavors are tied to hyperthyroidism in cats.

Tuna should only be used as a treat or a small part of the cat’s meal. It should never replace actual cat food.

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cat eating tuna

How Much Tuna Can Cats Eat?

A little bit of tuna now and then won’t hurt your cat, according to TuftsNow. They say to “limit your cat’s tuna consumption to occasional treats of canned chunk-light tuna—not albacore, which is from a larger species of tuna with mercury levels almost three times higher. These rare indulgences should account for no more than 10 percent of your cat’s daily calories.”

A teaspoon of tuna mixed into your cat’s other food is a great way to give your cat a treat without overdoing it. A whole tin of tuna even once a week is too much! Remember that your cat is smaller than a human, and a tin of tuna per week is the recommended maximum for most adults.

Signs of Tuna Toxicity in Cats

If your cat has ingested too much tuna and there is a risk of toxicity, you may have a hard time diagnosing it. Here are some symptoms to watch our for:

  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Difficulty walking

Since these are common symptoms for other issues in cats, your veterinarian needs all the information they can get to diagnose properly, so be sure to mention how much tuna you have fed your cat. It might be an important indicator as to what your cat is suffering from.


Yes, with proper precautions and in small increments it is safe to feed your cat tuna. Hopefully this article has given you the knowledge to make an informed decision to know if cats can eat tuna and what is best for you and your feline friend.

Tuna can be a good treat for your cat once in a while, and they definitely love eating it, so there’s no need to take that joy away from your cat entirely. Just feed them tuna in moderation.


Best Cat Food Options

When it comes to keeping your cat healthy and happy, it’s important to choose the highest quality food. Our team has curated a list of the best cat foods, based on customer reviews, quality ingredients, and price.

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A cat eating a plate of tuna

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