Cat Ate Goldfish: What to Do Now? (Solved & Explained!)

It’s a common occurrence in the movies to see a cat eat a goldfish straight out of the bowl. If you find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance, you were likely sad at the loss of your fish but concerned about the safety of your cat.

It is not recommended for cats to eat goldfish because they are not a natural food source for domesticated cats, and they pose a risk of infection and disease. However, your cat will likely be healthy. Just keep an eye on your cat and contact the vet if symptoms begin to pop up.

Because there are so many factors to consider in the case that your cat ate a goldfish, it’s important to read down to learn more. This article provides a complete guide about what to do once your cat has eaten your goldfish.

Can Cats Eat Goldfish?

Technically speaking, cats can eat goldfish, but this fish is not a good food source for your domesticated cat. Domesticated cats descend from desert cats. As you might imagine, desert cats don’t have access to fish, which means domesticated cats do not need a high diet of fish either.

Still, your cat can consume a goldfish and other types of fish if you provide your cat with a balanced diet. As long as the fish is healthy and the cat is not affected by the fish’s bones, your cat will be fine after consuming a goldfish.

What Are the Dangers of Cats Eating Goldfish?

Although a goldfish may seem like a safe snack for your cat, this is simply not the case. Goldfish pose several potential dangers to your cat when consumed.

When eaten whole, goldfish have a lot of bones. These bones can cause your cat to choke or experience intestinal impactions. In severe cases, the bones can even lead to intestinal punctures. These conditions are serious and may require surgical intervention.

Additionally, goldfish are known to produce a lot of waste, and most goldfish owners do not properly clean their tank. As a result, a lot of bacteria, fungi, and parasites live within the goldfish bowl. If you consume the goldfish, you are at risk of consuming these organisms as well, which can lead to disease and infection.

Most commonly, eating a goldfish raw leads to salmonella. Cats can fall victim to salmonella just like humans. How diligent you are in cleaning the goldfish’s tank will largely impact whether your cat is exposed to diseases and infection from eating the goldfish.

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When to Contact a Vet

If your cat ate one goldfish out of a bowl, your cat will likely not experience any side effects or symptoms. Even though goldfish do come with some risks, they are relatively low risk. To ensure that your cat is healthy, watch for any symptoms or side effects that may arise after consumption.

Watch for signs of choking or abdominal pain. If you can feel a lump or rupture in the cat’s stomach area, a bone is likely to blame. Some other symptoms of bone-related problems include refusal to eat, constipation, lethargy, sensitivity, and mood changes.

You will also want to lookout for signs of infection or disease. The most common symptoms to lookout for include diarrhea, blood or mucus in diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, fever, excessive drooling, and decreased appetite. These symptoms are incredibly common for salmonella, but they are shared by many other diseases as well.

If your cat shows any of the symptoms above, contact your veterinarian immediately. Bones lodged in your cat’s organs or salmonella can lead to serious conditions long term.

If no symptoms arrive, there’s no need to contact your vet, but you might feel more comfortable doing so. Your vet will be able to provide you some more recommendations and advice to ensure that your cat is safe after consuming your goldfish.

How to Keep Fish Safe in the Future

Since your cat has learned how to catch a goldfish once, it now knows the tricks to get the enticing fish. Although you certainly need to be more careful for future reference, you can still have fish and have a cat in your home. The trick is selecting a cat-safe tank that keeps the fish safe from your furry predator.

The easiest way to keep your fish safe is to select a tank that has a top or covering that fastens shut. This lid will keep the cat’s prying pause away from your fish. It will also prevent any fish from accidentally jumping out of the tank for your cat to conveniently enjoy.

If you have other fish and need to protect them while you purchase one of these tanks, you can make a makeshift lid using chicken wire, books, or other products found around the home. Although a makeshift lid is not a permanent solution, it will keep your fish safe while you purchase a cat-safe tank.

Be sure to place the tank in a secure location as well. The cat may accidentally (or purposefully) knock the tank off the shelf while trying to get the fish. By placing the tank in a secure location, you don’t have to worry about the cat knocking over the tank, spilling the water, and killing your fish in the process.

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Final Thoughts

Because of their predatory nature, it is common for cats to eat goldfish that live in an open tank. More than likely, your cat will be fine after eating the goldfish, but there are some risks involved. The bones can lead to choking or punctured organs, and the fish itself can lead to parasites, diseases, or infections.

Watch out for the symptoms mentioned above. If the symptoms arise, contact your veterinarian immediately because these conditions can be fatal. Symptoms will not arise in most cases, and your cat will be fine.

To ensure a safe home for future goldfish, select a cat-safe tank with a lid and place it in a safe location. The lid will prevent the cat from getting in, while the new location keeps the cat from knocking the tank over.