Is it safe to serve my cat sardines on occasion as a special meal?
Sardines are a wonderful, healthy food to give your cat. Not only will your cat love the fishy taste, but sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which give your pet’s immune system a boost and help prevent heart disease.
To select the most beneficial tin of sardines from the many choices in your grocery aisle, consult your veterinarian. And before serving, be sure to rinse the oil, cream, tomato sauce, mustard and anything else in the sardine tin. Of course, avoid onions, because they are toxic to cats.
Although it is fine to feed sardines as an occasional treat, they should never be regarded as a balanced meal. An adult cat only needs one sardine a day in order to receive all the omega-3 fatty acid he needs for optimum health. The alternative is that you can make a sardine meal. Designate one meal per week as “sardine dinner” and feed your cat all the sardines it would normally get in a week’s time. Replace the dry kibble with sardines, Don’t worry about the bones — they’re soft enough for your cat to chew with no ill effects, and add necessary fiber to its diet.
There’s one precaution: Avoid the oils. Ingesting the oil can lead to steatitis, a disease characterized by a lump under the skin surface due to inflammation of the fatty tissue. It is usually caused by nutrition, when large amounts of unsaturated fats without sufficient antioxidants to combat free radicals result in cell damage.
This disorder has become less prevalent in cats as more cats are fed commercially prepared diets that have added antioxidants.Steatitis is more likely to be found in young to middle-aged cats, from four months to seven years.