Can Cats Eat Canned Sardines?

Can cats eat canned sardines?

When it comes to our feline friends, it’s only natural to want to treat them to a variety of foods. One such food often contemplated is canned sardines. But, is it safe? What should be the ideal portion size? This article seeks to address these questions and more.

Are Sardines Good for Cats?

Absolutely! Sardines are a rich source of nutrients vital for a cat’s health. They are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which play an integral role in maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat, and they also promote heart health. Plus, they contain an impressive amount of protein, essential for a cat’s muscle development and maintenance.

Sardines also supply cats with taurine, an essential amino acid critical for their vision, heart function, and immune system. Cats are unable to produce this crucial nutrient in sufficient amounts, which makes it an important addition to their diet. However, like any non-commercial cat food, sardines should only be used as an occasional treat or snack, and never constitute the majority of your cat’s diet.

How Much Sardines is OK for Cats?

While sardines offer numerous benefits, they should not make up a large portion of a cat’s diet. Instead, consider them as an occasional treat. Cats require a balanced diet and feeding them too much fish can lead to nutrient imbalances.

It’s recommended that an average-sized adult cat should have no more than a small sardine once or twice a week. It’s always crucial to consult with your vet regarding portion sizes and dietary changes to ensure you’re providing the best nutrition for your specific pet.

Cat insurance from From Dog insurance from Coverage Contribution Own risk
petsecur logo €8.46 €12.11 €3.250 — €6.000 10% — 50% €0 — €150
per year
ohra logo €14.05 €17.77 €3.000 — €6.000 20% €30 — €50
per year
figopet logo €12.16 €17.42 €3.000 — €5.000 20% — 50% €0 — €250
per year
InShared logo €13.27 €20,14 €3.000 — €6.000 20% none View
Unive logo €13.86 €14.67 €2.500 — €5.000 20% none View
aegon logo €10.56 €13.14 €3.500 25% €25
per claim

The Suitability of Canned Sardines for Cats

Despite their nutritional benefits, canned sardines might not be the best option for cats. Canned sardines often contain added salt, which can be harmful to cats if consumed in high amounts. Too much sodium can lead to salt poisoning, resulting in symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and, in extreme cases, kidney damage.

Are Sardines Better in Water or Oil?

For cats, sardines packed in water are a better choice than those in oil. While the oil isn’t harmful per se, it can add unnecessary fat to your cat’s diet, potentially leading to obesity. Moreover, some oils, like garlic-infused ones, can be toxic to cats. If you choose to feed your cat canned sardines in oil, rinse them thoroughly to remove excess oil.

Is It Okay to Feed My Cat Canned Tomato Sardines?

Canned sardines in tomato sauce should be avoided. The sauce often contains spices and additives that can upset a cat’s digestive system. Also, some cats might be allergic to tomatoes, causing gastrointestinal upset or skin reactions.

Other Canned Fish Options for Cats

Other canned fish such as salmon or mackerel can also be good alternatives for cats, provided they are packed in water and do not contain added salt. However, like with sardines, they should be given as a treat rather than a dietary staple.

Is Canned Sardines Better Than Canned Tuna for Cats?

In the sardines vs. tuna debate, sardines come out on top. Tuna, particularly albacore, tends to have higher mercury levels, which can build up in your cat’s system over time and cause health problems. Moreover, sardines contain more of the vital nutrient taurine compared to tuna.

Additional Tips for Feeding Sardines to Cats

If you decide to introduce sardines into your cat’s diet, there are a few guidelines to follow. First, always introduce any new food gradually. Start with a small amount and observe your cat for any changes in behavior or digestive upsets. Secondly, be sure to remove any bones. Even though sardine bones are generally soft and pose less of a choking hazard than larger fish bones, it’s always better to be safe.

The Verdict: A Nutritious Treat in Moderation

Sardines can indeed make for a tasty and nutrient-rich treat for your feline companion. Their high protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and taurine content make them a healthy supplement to a cat’s diet. But, like any treat, they should be offered in moderation and should not replace a complete and balanced cat diet.

Canned sardines can be a convenient option but make sure they are low in sodium and packed in water, not oil or sauce. And remember, every cat is unique and may have specific dietary needs or restrictions. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your cat’s diet.

In conclusion, while navigating the realm of feline nutrition can seem daunting, with a little knowledge, and veterinary guidance, we can make informed decisions to keep our beloved companions happy, healthy, and purring for many years to come.

If you need advice about nutrition, we have a team of highly qualified vets available to talk you through the options. Book a timeslot with one of them today.

Looking for answers for
your furry friend?

Use our automatic Symptom Checker for advice on what to do next.

  • Answer questions about the issue to narrow down options
  • Wide range of symptoms and answers
  • Information on the most common toxic foods and household items
What seems to be the problem?
My dog Lily has vomited
Is there blood in the vomit?
Check Symptoms Now

Pet Resource Center