Can Cats Eat Tilapia? (Solved & Explained!)

Tilapia is one of the most fish eaten in the United States and you’ve likely eaten or made this fish yourself a few different times in your life. If you’ve ever thought about sharing some with your cat, but hesitated because you weren’t sure if tilapia is a safe fish for cats, then you’ve come to the right article. 

Cats can eat tilapia! As with any other fish it is best to serve it in moderation, however there are many benefits to this tasty fish that your cat can enjoy. It is recommended to serve only cooked fish to your cat as well. 

In this article we will discuss the health benefits of tilapia and how to safely offer it to your cat.

Is Tilapia Good For Cats? 

Just as tilapia is a good fish for humans to eat, it is also good for cats. Tilapia contains a lot of great nutrients such as B12, niacin, phosphorus, choline, and selenium. It is also high in omega fatty acids, similarly to other fish, which means it can help keep skin healthy and assist in preventing joint pain. 

Tilapia has also been known to aid in heart health and healthy bone growth. All-in-all it is a pretty nutritious fish. 

So, should you switch to a tilapia based protein diet? 

Can I Feed My Cat A Tilapia-Based Diet? 

Although tilapia is good for your cat, it also isn’t a natural protein source. Fish just don’t have the same nutrient dense make-up found in other sources that a cat needs to have a healthy diet. 

If tilapia was used as the main protein source for your cat they would likely develop a nutrient deficiency over time. It is best to serve tilapia as an occasional treat, not as the main source of nutrition. 

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Your cat should be receiving their regular meal, from a commercial cat food maker, which could be supplemented with tilapia on occasion. 

If you work with a veterinarian to create a homemade meal plan for your cat, they likely would n’t recommend tilapia as the main protein source, although it could be used as a supplement to another source, such as chicken.

If you have concerns about how much tilapia is too much for your cat’s specific dietary needs then you should consult with your veterinarian before introducing this fish into their diet. 

Are There Other Fish I Can Feed My Cat? 

Tilapia isn’t the only fish you can give your cat, in fact most fish are feline-friendly and make a great treat. Of course, provided that all of them are freshly cooked and don’t have any other seasonings on them. 

Some examples of other cat-friendly fish are: 

  • Tuna,
  • Salmon,
  • Sardines, and
  • Cod.

These are just a few examples, but most fish are safe for cats. Just avoid packaged fish with added salt or packed in oil. 

How Can I Safely Feed My Cat Tilapia? 

It is recommended that you always cook tilapia being offered to your cat. While cats do have the ability to eat raw tilapia, bones and all, this generally isn’t recommended. Raw tilapia can contain bacteria and parasites that are harmful to your pet. 

Freezing the tilapia may kill off some parasites in the fish, but it won’t kill the bacteria and other germs present. If you serve your cat a raw diet and are obtaining your tilapia from a trusted source so you know the temperature it has been stored in, then it may be safe for your cat. 

However, we always recommend discussing the raw food diet with your veterinarian before starting it with your pet. And if you’re currently doing a raw food diet without tilapia, we still recommend consulting the veterinarian on the safest way to introduce it. 

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But, for the rest of us purchasing store-bought tilapia, it is always best to cook it and de-bone it before giving your cat a taste. 

You should cook it without any additional seasonings or oils. Oils can contain ingredients that aren’t beneficial to cats, and any seasoning like salt or garlic, can be toxic for cats when consumed in large amounts. 

Make sure the tilapia is cooked to a safe temperature and then your cat should be fine to eat it as a treat. 

What About Chemicals In Tilapia? 

We all know that some tilapia, especially farmed fish from China, are known to contain preservatives and other unsavory additives. You should only be giving your cat tilapia purchased from a trusted retailer so you can ensure there are no unhealthy additives. 

Some also recommend purchasing wild-caught tilapia over farm-raised as they likely contain less toxins and more nutrients. 

However, this is less of a concern if tilapia will only be an occasional treat. You should simply take the same care when picking tilapia for your cat as your would when choosing the tilapia you want to consume. 

If you don’t feel comfortable eating the fish yourself, then you shouldn’t be feeding it to your cat either. All of the additives that can cause harm to our bodies can harm them too. 

What If My Cat Doesn’t Like Tilapia? 

If your cat doesn’t like tilapia that’s okay! Some cats are picky eaters, and if your cat refuses to touch the fish this isn’t any reason for concern. 

You can always try a different fish like tuna or salmon, or just stick to your feline’s regular food. As long as they are getting a nutritionally balanced food they won’t miss out on any key nutrients by refusing tilapia. 

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Final Thoughts: Cats Can Eat Tilapia As An Occasional Treat! 

Although tilapia doesn’t contain any absolutely essential nutrients to your cat’s diet, its high level of omega 3 fatty acids can help with joint health, skin health, and fur health. Tilapia is a delicious fish that can be served to cats in moderation. 

You shouldn’t use tilapia as your cat’s mian protein source, but as an additional treat on top of their balanced meal, there shouldn’t be any adverse health effects. 

Always monitor your cat when you’re introducing a new food to ensure they aren’t having any stomach issues. And, if you have concerns about your cat’s specific dietary needs or allergy restrictions you should consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to their diet.