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Can Cats Eat Cod? Vet Approved Nutritional Facts & FAQ

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat cod

Can Cats Eat Cod? Vet Approved Nutritional Facts & FAQ

VET APPROVED

Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

If you’re a fan of fish and chips, you’re probably already familiar with cod, which is one of the two most common types of fish used to prepare this dish. What you might not know, however, is whether it’s okay for your hungry cat to steal some bites of cod off your plate.

Luckily, cod is safe for cats to eat as long as it is properly prepared and offered as a supplement to a balanced diet. Keep reading to learn whether cod is also healthy for cats and how to safely prepare it. Here’s a hint: Keep the battered and fried fish to yourself!

divider-catclaw1 Is Cod Healthy for Cats?

Fish, including cod, is healthy for cats and often used as a protein source in commercial cat food.

Cats benefit from diets high in protein with moderate amounts of fat. Cod is low in fat, containing only about 1 gram in a 4-ounce serving. That same serving also contains a full 20 grams of protein. Because cats are true carnivores, they most efficiently process nutrients from animal sources, like cod.

Cod also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep the cat’s skin and coat healthy. Fatty acids from fish can also aid immune system health and decrease overall inflammation.

Cod Fish
Image Credit: Pixabay

Does Cod Contain Mercury?

Most of us are aware that some fish are high in mercury, which can cause health problems in certain people. Mercury can also be toxic to cats and you should limit the amounts of these fish you feed. Luckily, cod is considered low in mercury and can be fed safely in appropriate amounts, which we’ll discuss in more detail later in this article.

Can Cod Upset My Cat’s Stomach?

Any time your cat is fed a new or unfamiliar food, there’s a chance it could upset their stomach. Cod isn’t a toxic food, but not all cats tolerate fish or even fish-based cat foods as well as they do other protein sources. When offering your cat cod, monitor for any signs that it’s not agreeing with them, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Sick cat in animal hospital
Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

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How to Feed Cod to Your Cat Safely

Don’t Feed Raw Cod

First and most importantly, never feed your cat raw fish of any kind, including cod. Raw food items could contain dangerous bacteria, such as Salmonella. Not only could these make your cat sick, but they could also potentially pass the bacteria on to vulnerable humans, such as children or the elderly.

Another danger to consider is that raw fish often contains bones that could become stuck in your cat’s mouth or digestive tract.

Most concerningly, raw fish contain a compound that destroys the vitamin thiamine (B1). If they eat too much raw cod, your cat could become thiamine deficient. Signs of this condition include seizures, head tilt, and trouble walking.

Avoid Added Fats and Salt

Cats should only eat cod that has been thoroughly cooked. However, you should avoid cooking the fish in too much butter or oil. Also, don’t add salt or other spices. Steaming the fish or baking it without added oil are two healthy ways to cook cod for your cat.

himalayan salt
Image Credit: Pixabay

Feed Appropriate Portions

While cod is a healthy food option for your cat, it should generally only be fed as a snack or treat. The exception to this rule is if your cat is fed a homemade diet with cod as a protein source. However, homemade diets are tricky to balance appropriately and require input from a veterinarian to ensure all necessary nutrients are present.

Commercial cat diets are formulated to contain all necessary vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, making them the easiest option to feed your cat. Most of your cat’s daily calories should come from this diet. Treats of any sort, including cod, should make up no more than 10% of total calories per day.

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What Other Fish Are Healthy for Cats?

If your cat doesn’t care for cod, you might wonder what other fish are okay for your cat to eat. In general, you should stick to fish that are considered low in mercury, such as the following:

  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Catfish
  • Pollock
  • Halibut
  • Anchovies

Avoid fish known to be high in mercury, including:

  • Swordfish
  • Ahi Tuna
  • King Mackerel
  • Shark

Canned tuna contains varying levels of mercury and should be offered in limited quantities or avoided.

divider-catclaw1 Conclusion

Some cats are picky eaters, and not every feline will be interested in eating human foods like cod. However, if your cat does enjoy the occasional fishy treat, rest assured that cod is a safe choice for your kitty. Just make sure your cat doesn’t become so fond of their scaly snacks that they start boycotting their regular diet!

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