Can Cats Have Salmon? (Yes, But Not Often)

Salmon is one of the healthiest foods of all time, and because of this, you might want to feed it to your cat. But before that, do you know whether the salmon is safe for cats or not? Cooked, raw, smoked, and canned salmon – do you know which type of salmon among them is safe for your cat?

Yes, cats can eat salmon but not often. Plus, only the cooked salmon is safe for cats. Raw, smoked, and canned salmon have many dangers to the cat’s health. Besides that, if your cat eats salmon regularly, it tends to develop many diseases and long-term illnesses. Some cats are allergic to salmon and other fish varieties.

Can Cats Have Salmon? (Yes, But Not Often)

You need to be aware of crucial information before feeding salmon fish to your cat. In this post, we will cover every topic related to cats and salmon.

Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Salmon? 

Cats are obligate carnivores and depend on meat to live. They get the essential nutrients from the cooked meat, raw meat, and other meat by-products from various wet and dry canned cat foods. All these are necessary for cats to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

Due to the strong, overpowering smell of the salmon, cats adore and show interest in it. Besides that, salmon tastes fantastic than other kinds of fish. Remember, you should never make salmon as the primary protein for cats. Salmon has only a few crucial nutrients, and it does not have all the nutrition necessary for cats.

Offering small amounts of salmon one time a week is great for the cat’s taste buds. Besides that, giving tiny pieces of salmon two or three times a week is beneficial. But, the salmon should not cross 15% of the total diet of cats. 

From different kinds of fish, salmon is very healthy only if eaten in moderation. Salmon also has enough amounts of niacin, potassium, and selenium.  

Can all Cats Eat Salmon? 

Cats having allergies to fish is relatively common. During its first time, it is better to feed one small piece of salmon to the cat. After that, wait and keep an eye on the cat for one day to notice any side effects or allergic reactions.

You have to be aware of the typical symptoms of food allergies in your cat. Some common signs are sneezing, itching sensations in the eyes, skin, feet, and tail. If the cat has severe allergic reactions, it will get diarrhea, vomiting, and even struggles to breathe. If you find any of these signs in your cat, go to the veterinarian as fast as you can. If your cat has an allergy to salmon, do not feed it again.

If your cat looks fine even after 24 hours, you can feed salmon from time to time or offer it as an occasional treat! Now, let’s dive into the details of which type of salmon your cat can eat and the ones you need to avoid.  

Which Types Of Salmon Are Safe For Cats? 

Salmon is safe and healthy food for the cat. But you have to avoid some types of salmon depending on the cooking procedure. The deep-fried and salmon cooked at high temperatures lose their nutrients. Poached, roasted, and plain grilled salmon are some healthier choices for the cat. It is better not to add seasonings, flavors, or dressings to the salmon because it can be dangerous to cats.

Here is some detailed information about few types of salmon:  

Cooked Salmon 

Out of all types, cooked salmon is safe, healthy, and the only variety the cats can eat. Cook the salmon plainly without adding any herbs or spices. Before feeding, make sure that the salmon is cooked evenly and remove all the bones. If the salmon is boiled suitably, cats can also eat the skin.

Raw Salmon 

Raw salmon leads to gastrointestinal problems in your cats because it contains thiaminase. This compound has the potential to crush the crucial vitamin B in cats, which is thiamine. Depletion of thiamine results in neurological issues and sometimes causes convulsions in cats. Raw meat causes severe sickness.

Besides that, raw salmon does not have enough taurine, and the shortage of taurine is toxic to every age and breed cats! E. coli or salmonella can degree the raw salmon. A few raw fish comes with harmful parasites, and if your cat eats it, it is dangerous.

Canned Salmon 

There are excessive amounts of sodium in canned salmon, and it is not safe for cats. When a cat eats excess sodium, it can cause hypernatremia, which is the unevenness of electrolytes. This situation might cause spasms and convulsions. Besides salt, canned salmon has many additives. They pose harm to the digestive system of the cat.

Smoked Salmon 

Like canned salmon, smoked salmon also has plenty of salt content. As the smoked salmon is mended with salt, it has high sodium nitrate content, and cats can not withstand it.

The average sodium intake per day in cats is around 21 milligrams. To be precise, there is 600 to 1,200mg of salt in every 100g of smoked salmon. When a cat eats smoked salmon, it will suffer from severe health problems.

Nutritional Value Of Salmon 

If your cat eats salmon in little amounts, it can get a mixture of nutrition. Here are some crucial nutrients present in salmon:  

Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids 

Omega 3 and omega-6 fatty acids are beneficial for numerous reasons. They enrich the cat’s skin from the inside and support the pet to grow a healthy and shiny coat. Besides that, these fatty acids help in the growth of eye health and brain functioning in cats. These omega acids allow the cat to consume specific nutrients, vitamins and keep them active and healthy.

These fatty acids support the joints and bones, so the cat can jump around as much as it wants. Plus, arachidonic acid is also an omega-6 fatty acid, and it is crucial for cats. Salmon is a fantastic source for this acid.

Vitamin B6

Salmon has a lot of Vitamin B6 and helps in protein metabolism. Cats need to eat plenty of Vitamin B6, which is pyridoxine. To digest the proteins and fats, your cat needs to have more vitamin B6, which is available in salmon.

Vitamin B12 

Again cats cannot generate vitamin B12 by themselves. This vitamin B12 is also called cobalamin. Salmon comes with plenty of vitamin B12, and it is helpful for the immune system of cats. Besides that, it maintains the nervous system, mental function and is beneficial to the healthy gut flora.

What Nutrients Do Cats Need? 

The crucial ingredients that need to be in the cat’s diet include taurine, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Besides that, they also need amino acids, many proteins, and healthy fats.

As the cats can not generate these nutrients by themselves, it is essential to give these ingredients through food. You need to provide extra supplements and vitamins to cats through treats or mixing in their food.

But, salmon does not have all the essential nutrients that cats need to grow. They need well-balanced and nutrient-rich foods daily to remain healthy. Otherwise, cats will become malnourished, vulnerable, and might suffer from many health-related problems.

Health Benefits Of Salmon 

Salmon has enough amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It helps the cat to grow healthy skin and a thick, glossy hair coat. Here are some benefits of eating salmon in cats:

  • Many studies reveal that salmon fish helps in decreasing cancer risks.
  • Salmon is a great and healthy food for the heart if you cook it without pouring plenty of fat and salt.
  • Salmon has plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids, and it reduces the chance of obesity.
  • The anti-inflammatory acids in salmon and selenium, Vitamin-A boost the immunity power of cats.
  • As the cats eat high amounts of protein and fat, salmon helps in the metabolism.
  • The salmon enhances the skin, vision, and hair of the cat.
  • Salmon is beneficial for cats that are suffering from heart diseases, arthritis, kidney illnesses.
  • Even half an ounce of salmon fish has high amounts of vitamin B12, which is enough to fight anemia.

Potential Risks Of Salmon 

Salmon fish have plenty of histamines and might cause allergic responses. A few salmons contain heavy metals, and when the cats eat them, these metals can result in neurological effects.

Many cats have allergies to fish. If an allergic cat eats the salmon, its immunity system fights with the foreign protein substance. This situation weakens the cat.  

If you accidentally forgot to remove a few bones in the salmon, it might result in a dangerous situation. If the cat has eaten the bones, there are high chances that it might choke on them. It causes severe intestinal obstruction.

Almost for every fish, mercury poisoning is one of the typical dangers. As the salmon fish eat plants in the water bodies, the chances of mercury poisoning are low. But still, you need to be cautious. It is better to offer fresh and clean water salmon to your cat.

Plus, salmon comes with excessive amounts of phosphorus, and they are toxic to the cat’s kidneys. The farmed salmon leads to environmental damage. It might come with poisonous chemicals like dioxins and methylmercury! Obesity is another risk of eating excessive levels of salmon.

Bottom Line 

Salmon is one of the healthiest foods for the cat’s heart as long as it is not raw, canned, smoked, or cooked with excessive oils. Giving salmon to the cats in moderation is the best thing you can do as the owner.

Make sure that the salmon is less than 15% of your cat’s diet. Offering a bite of salmon or two up to three times a week is best, and do not exceed this limit. Try your best not to make salmon an addictive food to the cats.


  • Catherine Barnette. (2021). Food Allergies In Cats 
  • Honor Whiteman. (2014). Feeding Pets Raw Meat Diets ‘may Cause Severe Illness’  
  • Randy Kidd. (2014). Fatty Acids for Pet Skin and Haircoat Health 
  • Megan Ware. (2017). Health benefits of salmon