Can Cats Eat Raw Fish? Risks and Benefits

Cats are known for their love of fish, but can they safely eat raw fish? Find out the potential risks and alternative feeding options in this informative article.
Can Cats Eat raw fish?

While many people believe that cats can safely consume raw fish, it is actually dangerous for them to do so. In this article, we will explore the potential risks associated with feeding raw fish to cats and provide some alternative feeding options for your feline friend.

Why raw fish can be dangerous for cats

There are several reasons why raw fish can be harmful for cats.

Bacterial contamination

Raw fish can be contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella and listeria, which can cause serious illness in both humans and animals. Salmonella can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and even more severe health issues in cats. Listeria, on the other hand, is known to cause listeriosis, which can result in fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal symptoms.


In addition, raw fish can also contain parasites, such as worms, which can be transmitted to cats and cause serious health problems. Common parasites found in raw fish include tapeworms, roundworms, and flukes. These parasites can lead to weight loss, digestive issues, and even organ damage in cats.

Nutritional imbalances

Feeding cats raw fish can also lead to nutritional imbalances. For instance, raw fish might have inadequate levels of essential nutrients such as taurine, which is crucial for maintaining a cat's heart and eye health. Furthermore, raw fish can contain excess levels of certain minerals like mercury, which can cause neurological problems in cats if consumed in large amounts.

Choking hazards

Fish bones can be a choking hazard for cats. Cats might accidentally ingest fish bones while eating raw fish, potentially causing obstructions, tears, or punctures in their gastrointestinal tract.

Alternative feeding options

If you want to provide your cat with a healthy and balanced diet, it is best to stick to commercially prepared cat food. These products are formulated to meet the specific nutritional needs of cats and are prepared in a way that minimizes the risk of bacterial contamination.

If you want to include fish in your cat's diet, you can consider cooked fish as an alternative to raw fish. Cooked fish is safer for cats to consume and can still provide many of the same benefits as raw fish. Just be sure to remove any bones, as they can be a choking hazard for cats.


In summary, it is dangerous for cats to eat raw fish due to the risk of bacterial contamination, parasites, nutritional imbalances, and choking hazards. While fish can be a healthy addition to a cat's diet, it is best to stick to commercially prepared cat food or cooked fish as safer alternatives. As always, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your cat's diet to ensure that they are receiving the proper nutrition for their individual needs.

Medically Reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM

Ivana is a DVM with a specialty in domestic carnivores – dogs & cats. She is passionate about educating pet owners and raising awareness about pet health.

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