How to feed cats to sardines?

Cats are attracted to the smell of sardines. Sardines are a rich, fatty fish used as bait for trapping a hungry cat, and they are a nutrient-dense, tasty food to give your cat as an occasional treat. Not only will your cat enjoy the delicious fish, but sardines are a great source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3s boost your pet’s immune system and help prevent heart disease. However, sardines aren’t always a healthy choice for cats.

So, how do you feed sardines to your cat?

The short answer is you can serve raw, smoked, pickled, or canned sardines to cats. They are crazy about seafood and aren’t fussy about the preparation method.

Read on to learn more about feeding sardines to cats.

Sardines for cats

Sardines are easily digested and can help cats prevent unwanted weight loss. They also add variety to your pet’s diet. However, sardines aren’t as nourishing as feeding meat to your cat. According to the Pet Health Organization, limit feeding sardines to no more than three times per week. Overeating sardines can leave your cat with a fishy smell and cause digestive issues. Make sure to remove all bones before feeding them to your cat.

Sardines contain high levels of thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks up the molecules of the B vitamins and renders them useless. B vitamins are necessary for energy and metabolism. A lack of B vitamins could cause your cat could suffer from weight loss, chronic fatigue, heart issues, and nervous disorders.

If you want to buy fresh sardines for your cat instead of canned, wrap the fish in parchment paper to retain moisture.

Don’t add spices or oils because it will upset your cat’s digestive system and the fish’s natural taste, which is what your cat craves. Of course, the best way to feed your cat sardines is out of the can. Remember that they don’t include B vitamins in canned sardines intended for humans, so don’t overfeed your cat.

Sardine Nutrition

USDA’s FoodData Central states that sardines contain 59 calories and 3.25 grams of fat per ounce. They also have calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. The fishy delights are also a significant vitamin A and B vitamins source.

Although there are 86 grams of sodium in each ounce of sardines, cats don’t suffer from overexposure to salt like humans. They don’t suffer from hypertension-related cardiac disease, kidney disease, or gastrointestinal issues based on the amount of salt in their diet.

Raw, cooked, or canned sardines – What’s Better?

When buying sardines, you can find them canned, cooked, or raw. Raw ones are usually frozen to kill parasites that may be present. So, which sardines should your cat eat?

  1. Raw Vs. cooked

Freezing can kill parasites but not any germs present. Therefore, don’t feed your cats raw sardines. Also, raw fish can lead to vitamin deficiency, causing symptoms like lethargy, anorexia, drooling, and neurological signs, including incoordination, dilated pupils, and seizures.

Cooked sardines are the only good options for your cats. Before cooking, remove scales and chop them into small pieces to make eating easy.

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Additionally, you can seek a veterinary nutritionist’s help to ensure your home-based cat foods are balanced.

Canned Sardines

Canned sardines come in oil, brine, tomato sauce, or unsalted water. Some popular canning oils include sunflower, soybean, and olive oil.

Drain and wash the excess oil off canned sardines in tomato sauce, sunflower oil, olive oil, or soybean oil. A little oil isn’t very bad as it can improve your cat’s coat sheen.

If you have sardines in unsalted water, you can directly give them to your cat. 

We do not recommend sardines in brine since they have high salt content. However, you can wash them to eliminate the excess salt before serving them to your cat.

Also, avoid any other ingredients such as garlic and onion.

Health Benefits of Sardines For Cats

Promotes Heart Health

Heart and cardiovascular diseases are among the most common health problems affecting cats. Cats require food rich in vitamins to ensure a healthier cardiovascular system.

Sardines contain an abundance of vitamins and help prevent heart disease.

Prevents Cancer

Cancer affects cats the same way it afflicts humans. And one way to manage the condition is by adopting healthy dietary practices.

Sardines are one of the most common foods that help fight cancerous cells. They’re rich in omega fatty acids and can inhibit the formation of malignant tumors.

When the omega fatty acids enter your cat’s system, they induce apoptosis. In simpler words, they kill potentially malignant cells.

According to studies, sardines have a high concentration of vitamin D, which helps prevent skin cancer.

Prevents Seizures

Cats suffering from seizures can immensely benefit from a sardine-rich diet. The omega-fatty acids in sardines have anti-inflammatory properties.

These abilities help fight off the inflammation triggers in epileptic cats. Besides, they also increase seizure thresholds and help your cat manage the condition properly.

Improves Mood

The EPA and DHA acids in sardines are associated with mood improvement. Cats that suffer from separation anxiety and depression can benefit from a diet rich in these compounds.

When the EPA derived from sardines interacts with a cat’s nervous system, it lowers the cytokines associated with depression.

Supports Weight Loss and Organ Improvement

The omega acids in sardines help activate various proteins that trigger the fat-burning genes in your cat’s body. Therefore, they promote a healthier and leaner cat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can kittens eat sardines?

Fully weaned kittens can only eat sardines as a treat. They require plenty of protein and other nutrients for healthy growth and development. Avoid using sardines as a meal substitute.

Are sardines better for cats than standard dried treats?

Sardines are better for cats because dried treats can cause kidney disease. This fishy delight contains protein, which cats need in higher quantities than other animals.

According to Cambridge University Press, the omega fatty acids in sardines may reduce the effects of brain aging in older cats. Also, amino acids in sardines are required to build healthy muscle mass.

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Can cats eat sardines in sunflower oil?

Yes, sunflower oil isn’t toxic in small amounts. It can even make your cat’s coat shinier and more radiant.

However, avoid giving your cat too many sardines in sunflower oil. That’s because it has laxative properties and can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Can cats have sardines in soybean oil?

Soybean is unsafe for cats. It has many side effects like thyroid damage and interferes with the cat’s hormonal secretion. Avoid serving your cat sardines in soybean oil or soy brine.

Can cats have sardines in tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce can be spicy. And a cat’s digestive system can’t process spicy foods. Therefore, eating sardines in tomato sauce isn’t healthy for your cats. The onions and garlic added to tomato sauce can also upset your cat’s gastrointestinal system.

If you must offer sardines in tomato sauce to your cute, rinse them properly in water. That will help reduce the toxic levels of the spices in the sauce.

Can cats have sardines in olive oil?

Olive oil is a great addition to the diets of most pets. The oil has immense skin-nourishing benefits and adds an extra layer of brightness and sheen to your cat’s coat.

Olive oil also has remarkable health benefits to a cat’s digestive system. And is a potent cure for hairballs.

Your cat will benefit from eating sardines in olive oil. The only precaution is to offer the oil in moderation. In large quantities, olive oil may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Can cats have sardines in brine?

Brine is a high concentration of salt in water. It’s a popular preservative, so it’s not uncommon to find sardines canned in brine.

You should never feed sardines in brine to your cat. The consumption of sardines preserved in brine may lead to sodium ion poisoning. And the side effects can be devastating to your cat.

Some signs of sodium ion poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, tremors and seizures, high body temperatures, and depression. It can even lead to death if not attended to with the urgency it deserves.

Can cats have sardines in water?

Yes, sardines preserved in water with no seasoning, salt, or spices are a healthy choice.

How often can my cat safely eat sardines?

Although sardines are not toxic, you should still be careful. Fish like sardine usually contain heavy metals, such as mercury and fat-soluble pollutants from water. In a high amount, these harmful metals can damage the central nervous system and lead to fish poisoning.

A bacterial infection like salmonella can also be present in sardines. Their symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in the stool.

If you plan to serve sardines daily, expect to notice some side effects. It’s best to serve sardines up to three times a week.

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Susan Dorling

I am a pet expert with years of experience working with a variety of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and exotics, I have a deep understanding of their unique needs and behaviors. I am dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best care for their furry friend.

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