Are Betta Fish Poisonous to Cats

Are Betta Fish Poisonous to Cats

A Betta fish in a fish bowl displayed in a room is an interesting sight for your cat. A devious-minded cat naturally enjoys pawing inside a fish bowl in an attempt to score a quick fish dinner. The fish swimming in circles and their glimmering bodies can make a betta fish irresistible for your cat.

But what if she targeted and ate your betta fish? Are you worried if it is poisonous for her? Read below to find out the answer!

Are betta fish poisonous to cats

So are these territorial fighting fish poisonous to cats? The answer is no. Betta fish are not poisonous to cats.

Betta fish have the reputation of high levels of aggression. They show dominance even to their own species. They attack each other and even become aggressive in their own reflection. But given those behaviors, they are not poisonous when ingested accidentally. They also do not have toxins in their body that could impose harm when eaten.

However, it is still not advisable to eat this kind of fish. Although betta fish are small, it doesn’t make them harmless. A cat can easily choke on this fish due to its bones.

In addition, any raw fish can potentially cause health concerns for cats as there may be bacteria or other parasites surrounding the environment of the fish.

Why are cats attracted to fish

Cats are born predators 

While we, humans, see exotic fish as pets, our cats see them as their delicious lunch. As much as we don’t like them hanging their tongues out to the fish bowl, there’s no reason to blame them because they are born predators. This leaves them with the natural instinct to hunt prey, which includes your pet fish.

Cats are carnivores

This means that they eat meat as their main source of food.  They do not need a lot of carbs in their diet but small amounts of fruits, vegetables and grains are acceptable. They also need food which contains high concentrations of taurine which is found in the muscles, heart and liver of animals. Taurine is an essential amino acid that is critical for normal heart muscle function, vision and reproduction in kittens. Fish happen to have high amounts of taurine.

Cats have hunting instincts

Movement triggers hunting instincts in felines. They are attracted to small, moving animals and even objects. This is why with every move of the fish, your cat takes notice and becomes excited.

How to keep your cat away from your fish

Here are few precautionary measures to take to prevent your cat from having access to the fish tank:

Restrict your cat’s access to the aquarium.

Make sure that your fish is not accessible to your cat. It would be good to choose a room for your fish that you can close the door. Place the aquarium in a place where your cat will struggle to access it. With that, you can stop your cat from gaining access to the aquarium while you’re asleep or when you’re away.

Install a sturdy aquarium.

Choosing a lightweight tank would be easy to get knocked over by your cat. Knocking it can be dangerous – it will not only kill the fish but also leave broken glass on the floor that could lead to cut paws and feet.

Make sure your tank is covered.

It is important to put a secure roof on the aquarium. If you fail to install one, it would be easy to invite your cat to a buffet. The roof need to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of a cat as it could try to walk over it.

Apply unappealing scent and touch sensations.

There are many scents that cats find repelling. You can use them and put nearby the aquarium to keep your cat from approaching your fish. Cats also hate the sensation of stickiness in their paws. Applying sticky tapes in the roof of the aquarium will make your cat avoid the tank.

Final Thoughts

By taking the right steps as outlined above, it is possible for cats and fish to live together in harmony.

Betta fish are not poisonous to cats but in the unfortunate event of your cat eating a betta fish, it is best to keep an eye on your cat for next hours. If there is stomach upset and change in behavior that may indicate your cat is sick, you should take her to a local vet for professional help.  

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