Smoked salmon is enjoyed by many people across the world every day. But can cats eat smoked salmon without experiencing any health complications? Is it actually a safe food to give to this species?
We are answering this question and many more in today’s article, so keep on reading!
Is smoked salmon healthy for cats?
In theory, salmon is a very good food to feed to cats. However, the smoked variant can be a little worrying, and the reason for that is that it doesn’t contain the best ingredients.
Salmon isn’t smoked traditionally as pork, or beef meat would be, which means that it remains somewhat moist. Therefore, manufacturers need to use some types of substances to ensure that the salmon remains shelf (or rather refrigerator) stable for a period of time.
Smoked salmon would provide your cat with omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the healthy development of their brain. These fatty acids can prevent cognitive disorders in geriatric pets, mainly dementia, and can also protect cardiovascular health.
However, cats can get these nutrients directly from regular salmon, without it being smoked. That means that should you cook it for yourself, a small piece of unseasoned fish can be suitable as a snack or even as a meal for cats.
Salmon also contains potassium, as well as vitamins B6 and B12, which can all positively influence your pet’s health.
Can smoked salmon put your cat’s health in danger?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a clear yes. Here are some risks you should consider before giving your cat this food.
The most significant danger when it comes to feeding smoked salmon to cats is that it is packed with salt. Healthier varieties usually contain a lot of salt so that they are preserved properly, but other manufacturers use both salt and other additives for the same purpose.
If you have been a cat parent for a while, you probably know that cats shouldn’t eat salt. This is one of the reasons why many veterinarians advise against feeding cats table scraps because they are riddled with seasonings and spices, along with essential ingredients such as salt and sugar.
Naturally, the amount of salt that can be found in smoked salmon that you get from the grocery store can largely depend on one manufacturing brand to the next.
In most cases, though, the quantities of salt in all of them are dangerous for cats. Therefore, unless you tend to give your cat less than half of a teaspoon of smoked salmon per week, you might risk putting their health in danger.
Most of the fish that are currently available for sale might be contaminated with some type of heavy metal or another, especially when dealing with fish that come from the ocean or the sea.
The most common type of salmon that you can buy these days comes from the Atlantic ocean. But there’s also the option of you purchasing smoked salmon made from farmed fish.
The truth is that both of these can be contaminated with various heavy metals, but the most significant one would have to be mercury. Mercury poisoning in pets can be life-threatening, so this would be a good reason not to give your cat smoked salmon.
Too much fat
Salmon isn’t the best fish species for cats that are on a diet, are overweight or obese, or are borderline diabetic. And while a small piece of smoked salmon usually doesn’t have more than 20 calories, given all the other risks involved in feeding this food to your pet, we’d say that it’s just not worth it.
Are some cats allergic to salmon?
In general, cats are not allergic to fish in any way, but this can obviously depend on every pet in part. Some cats might be allergic to certain fish species or certain types of seafood, and as a consequence of that, they might show a number of concerning symptoms.
While there is the possibility of your cat experiencing only mild digestive distress after they have smoked salmon, they could also develop complications such as difficulty breathing, itching, or inflammation in their face.
If you notice any of these clinical signs, you should take your cat to the emergency veterinary clinic right away. Anaphylactic shock requires immediate veterinary assistance.
Depending on how the smoked salmon was preserved or the conditions in which it was kept at the store, it could also contain certain toxins released by germs, which can also lead to a severe allergic reaction.
Alternatives to giving smoked salmon to cats
Regular salmon can always be a healthier option, so if you ever buy a couple of steaks for yourself and your family to grill, bake, or cook in any other way, you can give your cat a small piece every now and then.
Do keep in mind that cats shouldn’t be given seasoned foods. Consequently, we recommend avoiding seasoning your fish while cooking it. You can remove a piece for your cat and then season your own on your plate as per your personal preferences.
Cats can just as well live without eating any smoked or regular salmon. Talk to your vet to find out more about what your cat’s diet should look like.