Why Fish is Dangerous for Cats

A lot of cats have learned to love fish, but it’s not a natural feline food; and it’s really not a good idea to feed it to your cat. Why not? Because it is simply not safe to feed fish to cats (and humans should be very careful about eating it themselves, and especially about feeding it to their children!). Here’s why:


Most fish used in canned pet foods comes from the decaying leftovers of the seafood industry around the world. It is a mishmash that’s high in phosphorus and magnesium, which can be a serious problem in cats with a history of urinary tract disorders or kidney disease. In practice, I have seen many cats develop urinary tract infections and blockages if they eat fish—even canned tuna. After I shared one meal of halibut with my three cats, within hours two of them had urinary tract flare-ups, and by 6 a.m. I had my boy kitty on the surgery table while I inserted a catheter. It’s even worse if, as is most common, the fish are simply ground up, bones and all. Excess phosphorus is dangerous for kitties with kidney disfunction; there is as much phosphorus as calcium in bones.

Feline-Specific Concerns

  • Many cats are sensitive or even allergic to fish; it is one of the top three most common feline food allergens.
  • Fish-based foods contain high levels of histamine, a protein involved in allergic reactions.
  • While cats’ gut bacteria can synthesize their own Vitamin K from most food sources, fish-based foods do not support sufficient Vitamin K synthesis, so a supplement must be added to cat foods containing more than 25% fish. Vitamin K is required for proper blood clotting. The most common synthetic Vitamin K supplement, menadione, has significant toxicity issues. We do not recommend feeding cat food containing menadione.
  • There is a link between the feeding of fish-based cat foods and the development of hyperthyroidism, which is now at epidemic levels. New research suggests that cats are especially sensitive to PBDEs (which, among other things, are used as fire retardants in carpeting and furniture), chemicals found at higher levels in both canned and dry cat foods than they were in dog foods; and there were more types in dry than in canned cat foods. Fish-based foods are the worst, because marine organisms produce PDBEs naturally and can bio-accumulate up the food chain to high levels in carnivorous and omnivorous fish (such as salmon, tuna, cod, tilefish [often called “ocean whitefish”], trout, mackerel, bonito, sea bass, and halibut; note that ahi, red, bigeye, and skipjack are all tunas); this compounds the exposure cats already get from fabrics and dust.
  • Fish tends to be “addictive” to cats. They love it, and will often stage a “hunger strike” by refusing their regular food in favor of fish.


  • Predatory fish at the top of the food chain, such as tuna and salmon, may contain very elevated levels of heavy metals (including mercury) as well as PCBs, pesticides, and other toxins. Tilefish (listed on pet food labels as “ocean whitefish”) are among the worst contaminated, along with mackerel, shark, and swordfish. These fish are so toxic that the FDA advises women of child-bearing age and children to avoid them entirely; and recommends only 1 serving of albacore tuna per week due to its high mercury levels (yellow or “light” tuna is safer for us, but still inappropriate for cats). If these fish are dangerous to children, cats are at even higher risk!
  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are toxic industrial chemicals that were banned in the U.S. in 1979. However, they are used elsewhere in the world; and because they are stable in the environment, they are a big concern in ocean waters. Research has found high levels of PCBs in dry and canned pet foods. Scientists also found that cats retain PCB metabolites in their blood longer than dogs.
  • Fish and other animals in the Pacific Ocean have been exposed to leaking radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power facility in Japan since 2011; new (and worse) leaks continue to develop. While the authorities continue to assert that there is no danger from eating Pacific seafood, the plant is still releasing highly radioactive water into the ocean every day, with no end in sight. Low levels of Fukushima-specific radioisotopes have been found in West Coast seafood. While the Pacific Ocean’s vastness can and does greatly dilute the radioactive materials, the continuing leakage—as well as Japan’s dishonesty about the amount of radiation involved—is cause for concern. A recent meta-analysis found reported significant negative effects of radioactivity on the immune system, and well as increased mutations and disease occurrence, even at extremely low levels. (Fortunately, strong ocean currents largely protect the southern hemisphere’s waters, although some radioactive drift has been found a little ways south of the equator in the western Pacific. Marine products from the South Pacific are unlikely to be affected; at least, not yet.)
  • A substance called domoic acid is a very stable, heat resistant toxin produced by certain species of algae that are becoming more common in coastal regions due to climate change. (Coastal regions are, of course, exactly where the world’s fish farms are located, and where most crabs are harvested.) Domoic acid particularly accumulates in clams, scallops, mussels, and fish. Because it is so dangerous, the FDA limits the amount of this neurotoxin in seafood. However, new research indicates that domoic acid causes damage to the kidneys at concentrations 100 times less than the amount that causes brain toxicity. This is especially concerning for cat guardians, because not only can the legal level of domoic acid in any seafood harm the kidneys, but fish that are condemned for human consumption due to excessive domoic acid may instead be processed directly into pet food. The 2015-16 fishing season for crab was severely limited by the State of California due to high levels of domoic acid. Could contaminated fish in cat food be a hidden factor in the high rate of chronic kidney disease in older cats, who may have been consuming this toxin every day for years?
  • Research from the University of California raises concerns that the plastics floating in our oceans are like sponges, absorbing chemical pollutants and heavy metals from the water. These toxins (as well as chemicals like BPA in the plastic itself) then readily move up the food chain, starting when fish eat small, contaminated pieces of plastic. Those contaminants enter their tissues, and are transferred to those who eat the fish: including bigger fish (e.g., tuna, mackerel, and tilefish), seabirds, seals and sea lions, dolphins, and whales, as well as people and pets.
  • Research finds that persistent organic pollutants (POPs), found in various seafood species, interact in the body with a crucial protein that helps remove unwanted toxins from cells; even when the quantity ingested is very small. POPs are organic chemicals, commonly used as pesticides, non-stick cookware coatings, and flame retardants, that persist for long periods (many decades) in the environment. Many POPs are endocrine disruptors, and many are carcinogenic (cancer-causing). It would be fairly simple to monitor levels in seafood—but we don’t. A chemical that prevents the body from removing it and other toxins sounds pretty risky, but don’t count on the government to protect us humans from it, much less our animal companions.


A great deal of seafood sold in the US comes from Asia, and in particular, Thailand. The New York Times and U.K.’s The Guardian have both run exposés revealing the terrible human conditions—including outright slavery—involved in Thailand’s seafood industry, as well as the cheap but foul trash-fish slop that is not only used by fish and seafood farmers around the world to feed their stocks (including salmon, tilapia, trout, catfish, carp, shellfish, shrimp, and prawns, much of which is destined for US markets) but also goes directly into pet food. Thailand is a major source of fish and seafood products used in pet foods. Mars and Purina have both admitted that fish used in their pet foods may come directly from slave labor. Some brands are made right there in Thailand, then shipped to the U.S., including several popular “boutique” brands of canned cat foods. (Many thanks to Mollie Morrissette of PoisonedPets.com for her tireless reporting on this terrible trade.) A new (2016) federal law bars all imports of fish produced using convict, forced or indentured labor, thereby ending an exemption in the US Tariff Act of 1930 that allowed goods made by slaves to be imported. However, it is unclear whether this law is being applied to pet food.

Salmon: Worst of the Worst

My grandfather was a salmon fisherman, so this delicious fish was one of my favorite meals. When I went off to college in Colorado, I remember bragging to my mom that, all of a sudden, my land-locked home state had salmon for sale at a fraction of its price in California. Now I know why: it came from a factory farm. The situation has only deteriorated since then, and it grieves me to see this amazing animal so damaged and abused.

  • Salmon is a popular cat food ingredient, but today nearly all of it comes from factory-farmed fish. These unfortunate animals are kept by the thousands in overcrowded net pens—essentially, fish feedlots—in polluted coastal waters. They’re injected and fed antibiotics to keep them alive in the face of rampant disease; and fed dyes to make their flesh “salmon colored”—otherwise it would be gray. Common water pollutants such as PCBs, pesticides, and other chemicals are present in farmed salmon at 10 times the amount found in wild fish. These contaminants will also be present in any product made with farmed fish, including cat and dog food.
  • You may prefer not to imagine the incredible amounts of waste produced by these fish. A small farm [200,000 fish] produces as much equal fecal matter as a city of 62,000 people. This raw waste flows directly into surrounding waters, fouling nearby habitat, and destroying shellfish beds. Of course, the salmon themselves are living in the epicenter of this filth.
  • A 2016 study by NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle found that the tissues of wild juvenile Pacific salmon contain dozens of drugs, including Prozac, Benadryl, Metformin, Lipitor, Flonase, Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, Paxil, Valium, Zoloft, Tagamet, Oxycontin, Darvon, nicotine, caffeine, estrogen, anti-fungals, antiseptics, blood thinners, antibiotics, and even cocaine.
  • So-called “organic” salmon is also farm-raised; in fact, there’s really no such thing as “organic” salmon because there aren’t any organic standards for fish. (The USDA has been trying for years to create such standards, but none are yet in place.) The contaminant level of “organic” farmed salmon may be just as high as that of conventional farmed salmon.
  • 30% of “wild-caught” Alaskan and Pacific salmon are not fully wild; they were born and raised in a hatchery, where they are fed the same trash as other farm-raised fish. They’re released into the ocean at a certain level of maturity, where they mingle and interbreed with wild salmon. When harvested, hatchery-raised and wild fish are both considered “wild-caught.”
  • Genetically modified salmon (AquaAdvantage®) were approved by the FDA for sale in the U.S in November, 2015. You will not be able to tell from the label which salmon are GMO. However, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and others have promised not sell GMO salmon in their stores.
  • The nearly 300 salmon factory farms in North America may ultimately extinguish the wild population, due to two major factors:
    • Salmon farms are massive breeding grounds for parasites, viruses, and other infectious organisms. For example, under natural conditions, wild adult salmon carrying sea lice (which do not seriously hurt them) are not in the migration channels at the same time as the defenseless baby salmon (fry) on their way to the ocean, so under natural conditions, infestation of the young fish is not a problem. But today, salmon farms are clustered in those exact same migration channels; and sea lice are rampant. Consequently, 60 to 95% of fry become infested before they even reach the ocean, where 100% of infested fry die. Lice can also be transmitted to trout and other related fish.
    • Farmed salmon (mostly Atlantic salmon species) often escape their pens into the open ocean, where they outcompete and interbreed with wild salmon, destroying the genetics of the species; a particular problem for Pacific salmon. More than a million farm fish have escaped from Washington State alone. It’s estimated that, globally, some three million farmed salmon get loose every year.
  • Virtually all Pacific and Alaskan salmon, both wild and farmed, are sent to China for processing, where workers pick out the fish’s 36 pin bones by hand, then ship the salmon back to U.S. markets. This raises questions about multiple freeze-thaw cycles, how the fish are handled, and what (if any) safety and sanitary procedures are followed. But as long as something “substantial” is done to the fish when it gets back (breading, cooking, or other processing), the label can still claim that these salmon products were “made in the U.S.”


The meat is unsafe, and the fishing/aquaculture industry is cruel and environmentally destructive—need we say more? Please, feed fish no more than once a week, and even then, only in very small amounts. Avoid farmed species (especially salmon and tilapia); herring, anchovies, and smelt are far safer.

Please Note:

  • While “seafood” includes fish, crustaceans, and shellfish, they are not all the same. Crustaceans (shrimp, crab, lobster) and shellfish (mussels, clams, oysters) and other invertebrates are completely unrelated to fish, and should be evaluated separately, based on their source. Never give your cat any seafood that comes from Asia. Call the manufacturer directly if you have any concerns.
  • In general, the small amounts of “fish meal” included as a flavoring and/or source of omega-3 fatty acids in cat foods are not a problem, but fish should not be a mainstay of any cat’s diet. If the cat food flavor has fish in its name (such as “Tuna Dinner” or “Salmon and Chicken Entrée,”), that is too much fish for everyday use. (See “Selecting a Good Commercial Pet Food” for information on how to assess pet food quality.)
  • Because bonito is fast-growing, it bio-accumulates less toxins. Bonito flakes, a popular cat treat, are acceptable in moderation.
  • Fish oil varies tremendously in quality. Most salmon oil comes from farmed fish and should be avoided. Your best bet for the lowest levels of pollutants is oil from animals lowest on the food chain. This includes small, fast-growing, wild-caught fish (herring, anchovies, sardines) [I recommend Nordic Naturals products], or even better, mussel oil. See Choosing an Omega-3 Oil for Your Pet for a complete rundown on all the types of Omega-3s on the market.

Originally published November 18, 2010.



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37 comments for “Why Fish is Dangerous for Cats

  1. cakey
    May 6, 2015 at 2:16 am

    I wish I’d read this sooner.
    My 9 year old cat has just been diagnosed with an overactive thyroid and was very poorly indeed (the vet said she would have a heart attack if she wasn’t treated immediately.)
    For years I had been feeding her fishy wet food pouches because she seemed to love them so much.
    Now I know that I was inadvertently poisoning her!
    She’s now on Hills wet food which is specially formulated to treat this condition and she’s now a happy and healthy cat!
    Thanks for the post

  2. 957ilb
    December 19, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I was feeding my cat Wellness canned Turkey & Salmon as well as Chicken & Herring. After a while she started throwing up soon after eating. The fish was too rich and she was developing an allergy to it. I switched her to Wellness canned chicken and canned Turkey and the vomiting stopped. I now also alternate feeding her Newman’s Own Organics canned foods as well for variety. She loves her food and never barfs any more. I’m convinced fish isn’t good for cats.

  3. Jean Hofve DVM
    December 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Good grief! At least that breeder won’t be in business long, because one of the first signs of taurine deficiency (which will inevitably occur if she continues to feed only dog food) is reproductive failure. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to give your kitten extra taurine for a while – 100 mg per day. It comes in capsules or powder. Taurine (like many supplements and drugs) is made in China, so hopefully it will be easy for you to find!

    You haven’t “ruined” your kitty but more like “spoiled.” Tuna addiction is common! Here’s where to find every tip and trick I know to get a cat to switch foods: http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/switching-foods/

  4. Melanie
    December 12, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    I’m living in China, teaching English and bought my first kitten here. It’s sooo difficult to find decent food. I started feeding her Mio9 which is all tuna based. She ate this for about three weeks. I think it’s a brand based out of Taiwan. Anyway, she loved it! Now, I’ve switched to Wellness (ordered a huge batch) and it was very expensive because it was imported and she won’t touch it. All she wants is the tuna! She does eat dry (Royal Canine kitten) thankfully but I’m worried I ruined her with the Mio9!

    I would also like to add that the breeder where I bought her was feeding the kittens adult, dry DOG food! A cheap, chinese brand! I only hope she wasn’t eating that for too long before I bought her.

  5. James Miller
    September 30, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I have been advised to use salmon oil and salmon meal supplements as a source of omega-3 fatty acids rather than feeding raw fish and I would recommend to use good Norwegian fish oil supplements for your pets because of its purity and high content of omega-3 DHA.
    Biomega AS

  6. jhofve77
    August 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Impossible to know. If he is sensitive to fish, it may not be. I once split my dinner (salmon) with my three cats–they only got a tiny bit–yet two (out of three) developed urinary tract flare-ups within hours, and I was in the OR at 6 a.m. the next morning unblocking the male.

    This is another great reason to feed a *variety* of foods. A one-food diet is dangerous for many reasons. For more reasons, as well as tips on getting your cat to actually eat different foods, see our article on Switching Foods.

  7. jersharocks
    August 1, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Is it safe to feed fish for a week? We ran out of our cat’s normal food (Tiki Cat “Puka Puka Luau” Chicken) and the only thing the store had in the Tiki Cat brand was fish. We got it because we didn’t want to change his brand and potentially make him sick. We ordered his regular chicken flavor online but it might not be here for a week. Is it OK to feed him the fish, just for a week?

  8. jhofve77
    July 1, 2013 at 7:48 am

    That’s fine. Herring are much safer. However, the cautions about excessive ash and urinary tract sensitivity still apply.

  9. Derek
    June 26, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Hi, what about canned foods containing herring? I feed my cat a rotation of canned foods from Wellness and Nature’s Variety. One of the flavors is “Chicken and Herring”. In your article you said top predators contain high levels of mercury but what about fish on the lower end of the food chain?

    She probably eats a can once every week.

  10. jhofve77
    January 14, 2013 at 11:07 am

    As the article states: “In general, the small amounts of “fish meal” included as a flavoring and/or source of omega-3 fatty acids in cat foods are not a problem, but fish should not be a mainstay of any cat’s diet. Fish should be limited to an occasional–-and small-–treat.”

  11. beruset
    January 14, 2013 at 12:21 am

    I just discovered this site and have been reading and researching elsewhere non-stop. I recently got my first pet as an adult and I want to do absolutely everything right. I had no idea fish was such a bad thing considering how widespread it is with cats. I’m curious though, would a wet food whose main ingredient is another animal protein, but that lists “ocean fist” a little further down, be a good choice? It’s so far the only thing I’ve found that doesn’t have by-products, meal, preservatives, and everything else I’ve recently discovered is awful.

  12. jhofve77
    June 27, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Sorry, I cannot give specific veterinary advice for your cat.

  13. Janus42
    June 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Unfortunately, I’ve never been told this about fish…My cat is 15 and was just diagnosed with Kidney Disease. A couple months ago, when it started to show, I successfully changed my cats diet to raw chicken from Nature’s Variety. No problem from dry to wet food. BUT the problem is, they will not eat it unless I at a spoonful of tuna cat food. I’m using BFF at the moment as they have one with pumpkin in it and I’ve been told they use very good practices for harvesting/catching their fish. But all the same…if the fish is not healthy for them, I don’t know what to do!
    They simply WILL NOT eat it without…I’ve tried weaning it out but they just turn their noses.
    Do you have any suggestions? I’ve read your articles on switching foods and the debate about protein. I’m so confused and concerned about what to do with my finicky cats. I’m doing everything I can for my 15 year old…Thankfully, he’s gained back a pound since starting the new diet…but what about the fish? The protein?

  14. jhofve77
    April 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    If they are farm-raised, the same concerns would apply.

  15. kylove
    April 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    What about other seafood like Crabs or Shrimps are those equally as bad or are those okay?

  16. jhofve77
    January 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Just approach it as you would any other diet change: http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/switching-foods/

    The info on fish farming comes from a regular Google search; you do have to do a little digging to make sure the source is reputable and can be confirmed. The veterinary study on hyperthyroidism (done by Dr. Larry Glickman at Purdue) is explained in more detail in our article on this disease: http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/hyperthyroidism/. You can find the abstract (summary) on PubMed.

  17. Mommy to a Baby Cat
    January 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for this article. My cat is definitely addicted to canned fish food. Your article is the only thing I have been able to find (or have ever found!) that has mentioned that a fish-heavy diet can be detrimental to her health. Obviously, I’m devastated. My cat is 2 years old and has been eating fish pretty much since I realized she loved it. I know that this is because of the smell, mostly.

    I was wondering if you could post the articles from the veterinary journals or email them to me? I would be very interested in reading them.

    I love my cat (just as I’m sure everyone on here does) very, very much. I feed her only the best food I can find and no dry food. If I had known fish was bad for her I would have never let her get addicted to it.

    Do you have suggestions for what I should do next?

    Thank you!

  18. jhofve77
    January 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Trout is a fish in the Salmon family.

  19. Amanda
    January 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Would trout fall into the same category as the rest of the fish listed? I’m trying to find another protein source for my cat that has allergies. He currently eats a grain free rabbit food but is really getting tired of it. I’m having a hard time finding another non chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, etc… protein that I can introduce and give him a little variety.

  20. jhofve77
    January 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    The following link will take you to the article you really need, it should help answer your questions! http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/hyperthyroidism/

  21. Dawn
    January 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    hi i was wondering if someone could help me; i have a 12 y/o female cat that suddenly stopped eating and having a bowel movement, she still urinates. she also became extremely lethargic. i took her to the vet who did bw. the bw showed hyperthyroidism and vet said that there is now a food that can treat her. hill’s y/d feline thyroid health. i read some reviews where this is bad for cats. i dont know what to do, dont know how to treat this and the vet really has not been much help.

  22. Glenda
    November 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you, I do understand. I was actually wrong about the Premium Feast having fish in it – I looked at the label again this morning and it does not! I’ve read so many labels in the last week or so I confused myself, but that’s good news. I have 2 flavors now that Max will eat that do not have fish, so I can rotate those and use the fish flavors sparingly. I am also going to give the essence a try that you talk about in your book that might help him be more open to trying something new… maybe we can get some turkey or chicken in there… something besides just beef and fish.

    I found a natural pet supply store in our area and picked up some probiotics. The owner suggested a product called Pet Flora. We started it last night wtih dinner and the diarrhea seems to be letting up… some over night but just a little this morning and none so far the rest of the day… at least not yet. I wasn’t expecting it to work so quickly, but I’m hoping that it has. I’m going to be adding digestive enzymes also.

    I’ve always thought Max was highly intelligent, but my opinion is probably a little biased! One thing is for sure – he knows he’s got me wrapped around his little paw!

    Thanks again for your reply and the information on your web site and the book. It’s been a tremendous help. Hopefully Max in on the road to recovery!

  23. jhofve77
    November 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Glenda, sorry, but as you know I cannot comment specifically on any particular case. As you mention, my ebook as well as articles on this website that diet changes can cause diarrhea, and digestive enzymes and probiotics are recommended to minimize or alleviate it. On the fish issue, I can only repeat what the article says, “In general, the small amounts of “fish meal” included as a flavoring and/or source of omega-3 fatty acids in cat foods are not a problem, but fish should not be a mainstay of any cat’s diet. Fish should be limited to an occasional–-and small-–treat.” Don’t know what else I can add that is not specific to your cat; though I will say that Max seems especially intelligent, since he knows better than to eat the dry food that was probably a factor in his illness to begin with! :)

  24. Glenda
    November 16, 2011 at 9:50 am

    My 15 year old cat was diagnosed with pancreatitis on October 28 th. He had slowly lost some weight over the course of 3 months. We went to the vet originally on Oct.8 and found out he had fleas, even though he’s an indoor cat! (However, he did “escape” for about 2 hours through a broken screen in June.) He was treated for the fleas and given a deworming treatment and over the next week or so gained back about 1/2 pound so I thought all was well. Then it seemed like he was losing weight again so I kept an eye on him and sure enough, by the 27th he had lost the 1/2 pound he had gained back plus a little more. In addition, I noticed on the 27th he had not eaten at all that day. (I was “open” feeding him dry food). That evening I offered him some canned tuna and he ate about 1/4 a can. The next morning we went to see the vet. An xray, u/s and blood test showed he has pancreatitis. He was not vomiting and did not have diarrhea at this point. He was given fluids, which I continued at home for 2 more days, as well as pain medication and an antibiotic.

    Once we got home I looked up pancreatitis on the internet since my vet said it’s not well understood what causes it. A search of the causes led me to the possible food connection, which led me to your site, which led me to purchase your book, “What Cats Should Eat”. From that first feeding of tuna on the 27th forward, he has refused to eat dry food again. By the following Wednesday I had read your book, knew I needed to get him on something else, and was able to find one of the four top “starred” brands on your food list locally, Petguard. He loved it from the beginning!

    When I took him in on the 28th, he had not had a bm since the 26th. We started lactulose on the 29 and he had a bm on the 31st. Since then things have been fine. However, last Friday I picked up a different brand of food, still one on your list but not one of the four “starred” brands, in a flaked salmon stew flavor thinking he would love it. He did. However, by noon the next day he started vomiting and had diarrhea. We went to the emergecny vet, who after hearing the history stated he should be on dry food because it’s more bland and wet food is bad for pancreatitis. I’ve read enough from not just your site but others as well that I do not believe this. She wanted to admit him and do all kinds of tests saying she didn’t think he has pancreatitis even though she did not have access to his xray (on the xray his pancreas is huge; our regular doctor said normally it’s difficult to see. The blood test for pancreatitis was also positive.)

    I wasn’t comfortable with any of this. I just wanted to nip the vomiting/diarrhea in the bud before it got really bad. He got some medicine to help with that and some fluids. We stayed NPO until the following morning, when I was told to give him some chicken flavored baby food. (By the way, he was wanting to eat the previous evening and woke me up at 4 am to eat, so he was hungry and interested in eating.) The major problem here is that Max does not like chicken! He eventually ate the baby food that morning but refused to eat it again. By 9:30 that evening he was begging for food, refusing the baby food, had not vomited or had diarrhea since our trip to the ER, so I gave him some of the Petguard, the Premium Fest flavor. He ate it and was happy. So far things have been back to normal, except that this morning he has developed diarrhea again. No vomiting.

    Sorry for the long explanation, and I know you cannot give specific advice about Max but I do have 2 questions I hope you can answer. I know from your book and web site changing to the wet food can cause diarrhea, especially since I couldn’t transition him since he completely refuses the dry food. Since he’s been eating the canned food since 11/2, and the tuna before that, could this diarrhea possibly be related to the food switch? I’m considering getting a probiotic today but not sure if I should add it yet or see if the diarrhea resolves itself. He’s otherwise acting normal, eating, drinking water, etc. He woke me up at 4 am to eat. Now he’s sleeping. If he starts vomiting I’ll get him to the vet right away.

    Also, about the fish… he will not eat chicken or turkey. He loves the Savory Fish flavor of Petguard and would eat only that if I let him, but since reading your book and web site, I’m trying to get him to eat other things. I noticed that the Premiums Fest has fish in it, but is not the primary or only meat. He will also eat the Fish, Chicken and Liver flavor. So my question I guess is, is the above information about fish apply to those foods that are pretty much fish only, or does it also apply to these foods that have other meat as the primary indgredient but do have fish in them? In other words, is it not good for him to eat the Premium Fest on a regular (3 or 4 days a week)basis? The only other flavor I’ve been able to get him to eat is the Beef Barley. He just will not eat chicken or turkey! Well, I guess he will if there’s fish it!

    We are working toward a feeding schedule and I think it’s starting to “take”. He no longer comes to me wanting food every hour or so, especially during the day. We can generally go from breakfast until dinner, and then a snack at bed time. However, he still thinks breakfast is at 4 am, so we’re working on getting that moved forward to at least 6!

    Thank you for the information on your web site and in your book. I had always fed him a dry food that I thought was good for him because it was a “premium” brand. I now know otherwise! It’s just scary what’s in the food I fed him for 15 years. I just hope it’s not too late for him and we can get his GI track settled down so he can enjoy his remaining years.

  25. jhofve77
    September 26, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Please see our article on chronic kidney disease for a more complete discussion about diet for kitties with kidney disease.

  26. Teresa
    September 25, 2011 at 1:47 am

    I have 3 cats and 1 has just been diagnosed with protein in his water and has been put on Fortekor 1 tablet a day. I have tried renal foods but he will not take them as he has always been fussy eater and would only eat certain tins of food, all 3 cats have fresh coley every night but the other 2 cats are fine, can you suggest any fresh meat he can eat to help his condition?

  27. jhofve77
    August 23, 2011 at 8:35 am

    No. Cats this age are susceptible to many health problems. Please take her to your vet to get a proper diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

  28. Jenny
    August 23, 2011 at 2:57 am

    My 15yr old cat has gone off tinned cat food and she is very thin so I tried her on cooked fish and she loves it. I bought the fish from my local fish and chip shop and cooked it, it was all the trimmings. Is it alright to feed my cat on just cooked fish.
    Regards, Jenny.

  29. jhofve77
    August 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Both fish and dry food are bad choice for cats, for all the reasons listed in this article and elsewhere on this site. Skipjack eat fish, shrimp, and crustaceans. They are predatory and carnivorous, and therefore high up on the food chain, even if they are sometimes eaten by higher-level, bigger carnivores like sharks (which of course eat anything!). So sorry, no, this does not change my recommendation.

  30. EB
    August 15, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I’ve been feeding my cats grain-free dry food for breakfast (Acana/Nature’s Variety kibble, because I work during the day & it seemed more affordable) and Weruva canned food for dinner (with the occasional can of Wellness). I feed Weruva’s chicken and beef varieties at least 50% of the time, but also some tuna and other fish.

    They are young, healthy cats who adore tuna, but also happily eat other foods (so food addiction is not an issue). I contacted Weruva with concerns about mercury in tuna, and the company says that they use only small, skipjack tuna further down on the food chain, to address concerns about contamination.

    With this information, would you still recommend against feeding fish more than once a week? I used to limit tuna to once a week, but started feeding it maybe twice a week once I confirmed Weruva uses skipjack. (Weruva’s cans are also made without BPA.) I feed them a few other Weruva flavors with sardines, mackerel, tilapia, and big redeye–no salmon. Thanks.

  31. Jay
    July 28, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Hello and thanks for your reply. I’ve read alot about raw feeding and other feeding methods for cats. I’m worried about why he always gets diarrhea and indigestion. He got it twice now within the span of one year (the first time was very serious).

  32. jhofve77
    July 28, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Hi, I can’t give specific veterinary advice for an individual cat. However, I will say that if Whiskas is the best you can do, that’s fine. And while cats don’t *require* carbohydrates, they can generally eat and digest them, and that’s fine as long as they don’t become overweight or develop other carb-related problems such as urinary tract disorders or diabetes. Raw fish is not advisable as it tends to carry parasites. Please read some of our other articles to get a more complete understanding of feline nutritional requirements, including Why Cats Need Canned Food and Easy Homemade Diets.

  33. Jay
    July 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    My cat is nearly three years old (he’ll be 3 in Sepetember) and he got a stomach indigestion last year that nearly killed him. I was careful about his feeding but he got a stomach indigestion again last week(not serious like last time because we visited the vet early). I was advised by the vet to feed him raw fish that is cleaned (head and innards removed). The fish I’m giving him is a small mackerel-type fish. The vet says two fish a day is enough for the cat, but I disagree because my cat weighs about 3kg and is used to eating three-four times a day. I must also add that since our staple meal is rice and curry (I’m Sri Lankan), the cat used to get small portions of rice and fish/meat in the afternoon and night. I have now found out that carbohydrates are not required by cats and so will not give him rice hereafter, but I want to know how much food my cat requires for a day. He is an outdoor cat and I want to stick with a diet that will not upset his stomach annually. In addition, is a diet of fish only not advisable? Canned cat food cannot be considered because premium brands are not available here (the best I can find is Whiskas). In addition to raw fish, is there anything else I can give him?
    Thanks in advance and best regards,

  34. jhofve77
    April 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Even though this info has been published in the veterinary journals, most vets are unaware of the issues with fish, by-products, and BPA. For more info, check out our articles on hyperthyroidism, and how to choose a good pet food.

  35. Tammy
    April 27, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I was stunned when I read on here that fish has been linked to hyperthyroidism in older cats. First of all, the vet that diagnosed him never mentioned it. So of course, secondly, I’ve still been feeding my cat wet food with fish, and my other 3 cats as well. Putting it mildly, I’m a little PO’d right now. Would you have any suggestions what would be best for my babies? The oldest, with the hyperthyroid, is 11 yrs old. And I have the three others ranging in age from 10 mo to 5 yrs. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

  36. jhofve77
    February 14, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    General guidelines for choosing food: http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/selecting-a-good-commercial-pet-food/
    Specific information for cats with kidney issues: http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/kidney-disease-in-older-cats/

  37. gabe
    February 14, 2011 at 5:14 am

    trying to find right food for my 12year old cat that as renal, creatine test 2.3mg/de

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