Is Your Cat Getting More and More Chubby?

This is Raja, our overweight cat!

Raja started out a reasonably svelte 12 lbs when we got her from a local shelter at age 7. Then, barely 2 years later, she was up to a hefty 15 lbs!

Diet cat foods were no help. Then, I happened to read a book: "Your Cat, Simple New Secrets To A Longer, Stronger Life" and it changed everything.

We invite you to follow our quest for a healthy weight-loss plan for this funny, personable and very talkative cat.

Hopefully, together we can help all our cats live healthier and thinner lives!

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2011-02-09

Question - Can Tuna Be Harmful To Cats?

Tuna may be bad for your catHere's a question I've received about feeding tuna to cats:

"My vet told me not to feed my cat tuna as it would weaken her bones. Does this also apply to cat food that is primarily tuna and water?"


Answer:

I did some research and apparently there are a lot of reasons to limit your cat's intake of tuna.

For example:

  • Although it is high in protein, tuna lacks sufficient amounts of certain amino acids, mainly taurine, to maintain feline health. There is insufficient calcium to balance the phosphorus; the ratio in canned tuna is 1-to-14.8. This results in bone disease.
  • Cats can get addicted to tuna, whether it's packed for cats or for humans. They can quickly develop a taste for tuna and refuse any other foods. The term "tuna junkie" has been used to describe such cats.
  • Some tuna now and then probably won't hurt. But a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because it won't have all the nutrients a cat needs. And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning.
  • Any fish (raw, canned or cooked) if fed exclusively or in high amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death.
  • Also, any canned tuna made for humans will have a very high salt content which is not healthy for any pet.
  • Finally, feeding too much tuna can result in a condition known as Steatitis.

What is Steatitis?


Also known as Yellow Fat Disease or Pansteatitis, steatitis is caused by feeding a diet high in unsaturated fatty acids and deficient in vitamin E. Oily fish, especially red tuna are the cause of this condition.

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, and unfortunately tuna is an inadequate source of Vitamin E. Therefore the overabundance of unsaturated fatty acids (which also oxidize and destroy Vitamin E), combined with the deficiency of Vitamin E causes damage to body fat, which results in a painful inflammatory response.

What are the symptoms of steatitis?

  • Greasy, dull coat & flaky skin
  • Severe pain when touched
  • Anorexia (loss of appetite)
  • Fever
  • Reluctance to move

What's the difference between human grade tuna and tuna flavored cat food?

Human grade tuna is just tuna and salt; whereas tuna flavored cat food is not 100% tuna, and usually contains other meats and nutrients which are necessary in the cat's diet.

Bottom line:

Only feed your cat canned tuna made exclusively for cats. And limit feeding canned fish made for cats to at most three times per week. Because of this new information, I have revised my prior blog post Even More Healthy, Low Carbohydrate Cat Food Brands to caution against Trader Joe's "Canned Tuna for Cats". Since tuna is the main ingredient in the Trader Joe formula, I'm afraid there is just too much tuna to be safe.

PLEASE NOTE: I got the above information from various online resources, including Pets.WEBMD.com. I am not a vet, just a concerned cat owner who likes to research what's best for our feline friends! Remember: Always check with your vet before following any information you get from the Internet!

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