Why Do Cats Like Tuna

Why do cats like tuna?

While some cats do not fancy the taste of tuna, they are generally known to have gotten their liking for fish since ancient times when they were first domesticated. When cats began to co-evolve with humans, they’ve come to like the food that humans usually eat which includes tuna and other fish.  Cats are also drawn to it because of its distinctive smell. Many cats that like tuna were also introduced to it early in their life.

Should you feed your cat tuna?

Yes, you may feed your cat tuna but only occasionally and not as a regular part of her diet.  It’s okay to give tuna to your cat twice each week because too much consumption of tuna and other fish may lead to health issues including thiamine deficiency and mercury poisoning. Moreover, supplemental tuna treats should only make up less than 10% of the daily calorie intake of cats. Cat experts recommend that a big part of your cat’s diet should come from balanced, high-quality, and complete cat food that’s specially formulated for felines. 

Can your cat eat tuna if it’s raw?

Eating raw tuna is not recommended because there are imminent dangers that could lead to health issues for your cat. A better option would be to cook the tuna to eradicate the bacteria and microorganisms that may be present in raw fish. Be sure not to add salt or other seasonings which may upset your cat’s stomach. 

Can your cat eat canned tuna?

Yes, cats can eat canned tuna occasionally but make sure that it’s canned tuna in water and not in oil.  Make sure that the ingredients do not include added chemicals. Also if you use tuna canned in water, make sure to rinse the tuna slices before giving them to your cat. 

Can your cat eat tuna in wet food?

Yes, it’s considered a safe option to feed your cat with wet cat food which contains tuna chunks or slices. This ensures that your cat is nourished with vitamins and nutrients aside from tuna for optimum health.

Advantages and disadvantages of tuna for cats

Can your cat eat tuna in wet food
Image: istockphoto.com / insonnia

These are the advantages and disadvantages of tuna for cats:


1. It promotes proper growth and development. 

Tuna may be included to form part of a balanced diet for your pet cat.  It’s protein-rich and contains vital amino acids for healthy growth. These nutrients also promote the growth of body organs and boost muscle and tissue development.

2. It boosts your cat’s immune system.

Tuna contains manganese, potassium, and Vitamins B12 which enhances your cat’s immunity from diseases, bacteria, and other pathogens. 

3. It improves energy levels.

The thiamine, Vitamin B complex, and Omega 3 fatty acids present in tuna make cats healthier and increase their energy levels favorably. 

4. It enhances your cat’s blood circulation.

Tuna also contains potassium, iron, niacin, and riboflavin which all contribute to the improvement of red blood cell function and proliferation as well as the circulation of blood.

5. It eliminates free radicals.

Tuna has anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants that aid in eradicating free radicals, removing toxins, and reduces blood pressure among cats. 


1. It could lead to mercury poisoning.

Just like with most types of fish, tuna has a high mercury content which can be passed on to cats when they consume it.  The cognitive and mental abilities of cats tend to be affected and there’s no significant increase in muscle development. Too much tuna consumption leads to mercury poisoning. 

Symptoms of mercury poisoning in cats:

  • difficulty in walking
  • loss of coordination
  • can mimic other illnesses like thiamine deficiency

2. Your cat may suffer from steatitis.

Over-consumption of tuna may lead to steatitis, also called the yellow fat disease wherein a cat becomes deprived of Vitamin E. It’s a painful inflammatory condition of the adipose tissue due to excessive intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are also derived from fish.

3. It may lead to thiaminase production which inactivates thiamine. 

Giving your cat too much tuna may increase thiaminase in her system which stops the production and distribution of thiamine or Vitamin B1. Thiamine deficiency results in a weak immune system and your cat becomes vulnerable to diseases and pathogens.

Symptoms of thiamine deficiency in cats:

  • anorexia or loss of appetite
  • vomiting 
  • impaired vision
  • dilated pupils
  • ataxia or abnormal gait
  • tremors and seizures 

4. It may lead to poor body control and seizures.

Over-consumption of tuna in cats could lead to loss of body coordination as well as seizures because of the low volumes of Vitamin B12, B6, and C. 


Cats like tuna just as they like other kinds of fish usually simply because they have gotten used to its taste and smell. Nevertheless, tuna is a healthy option for cats because it’s rich in protein, thiamine, and Omega-3 but should only be given in moderation, no more often than twice a week, as too much tuna is may lead to high levels of toxins and may be unhealthy for your pet felines.