How much tuna is safe for cats?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How much tuna is safe for cats?”, discuss the potential damages of feeding your cat with too much tuna and the benefits of tuna in a balanced diet. 

How much tuna is safe for cats?

The maximum amount of tuna that is safe for cats is about 10 percent of the daily calories of their diet. Despite some people thinking that cats can eat fish willfully, we have to pay attention to giving them the right amounts of tuna. 

Like humans, cats need a balanced diet, with a wide range of nutrients, like proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals for providing them with the energy, strength, and vitality they need.  

Besides that, the kind of tuna that we offer our cats is as important as the proportion of it. This fish can be found in a lot of different forms: cans, fresh, raw, cooked, frozen, and in prepared foods made specifically for pets. 

The malefic effects of too much tuna for cats

A diet with a lot of tuna, as well as every excess, is prejudicial to cats.

Tuna and other fishes can be contaminated with mercury, so a diet that includes a large amount of tuna can cause neurological and motor damage due to mercury poisoning. The symptoms of these alterations may include loss of coordination and balance, difficulty walking, tremors, headaches, and kidney damages. 

Humans can also be contaminated with mercury from tuna, but cats are smaller, thus they can tolerate lower amounts of this toxic substance. 

Canned tuna is even worse for cats since it contains a large amount of salt and fat, which can be very harmful to them. Among their negative effects, this quantity of sodium and lipids can increase their blood pressure, cause obesity, damage to their bowel, kidney and liver, diabetes, and inflammation. 

Thus,  if your cat has any disease, like chronic kidney disease, it is important to check with the vet if you can feed them with tuna, even with the right kind, amounts, and a balanced diet. 

Furthermore, the food preservatives present in tinned tuna are not made for cats´ metabolism and can be very toxic for them.

What kind of tuna is best to feed the cats?

Fresh tuna is the best option to feed the cats, however, it has to be cooked, since raw fish can be really dangerous to cats, leading to food poisoning caused by bacterias and other parasites, like Salmonella and E. colli.

Another reason why the tuna has to be cooked to feed the cats is an enzyme named Thiaminase, which is present in raw tuna. This enzyme breaks down an important substance named thiamine, known as vitamin B1, very important for cats. Without this vitamin, cats can cause a lot of neurological damage, such as seizures, anorexia, and impaired vision.

Another safe alternative for feeding your cat with their loved tuna is the tuna-flavored food for cats, which is designed especially considering the nutrition necessities of these pets, and is safer and balanced for them.

The benefits of a balanced diet with tuna

Despite the potential damages of eating in excess, when used in a balanced diet with the right kind and proportions, tuna can be very healthy. 

Tuna is high in protein, one of the most essential nutrients to a cat’s diet, contributing to building and repairing its muscles. 

It also provides the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which is a healthy type of fat that helps in the treatment of inflammation and the pet’s immune system, improves the functioning of the retina and the brain and prevents chronic allergies, and helps treat dermatitis. 

Types of Commercial cat foods 

Commercial cat food has some different options, and for choosing the ideal for your cat you must consider their characteristics, like age, weight, if they have any disease, or even if they are neutered or not. 

There are formulas for every phase of their lives, considering the unique necessities they have during their development. 

Regarding the texture, the dry and the wet commercial foods also have some differences in formulas, hence it is necessary to talk to the vet and identify what is the best option for your cat considering all their individualities. 

Other FAQs about Tuna that you may be interested in.

What is the difference between albacore and yellowfin tuna?

Can you give cats canned tuna?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How much tuna is safe for cats?”, discussed the potential damages of feeding your cat with too much tuna and the benefits of tuna in a balanced diet. 


Senior Cat Wellness. “Is Tuna Safe for Cats to Eat?,” February 24, 2021.

The Spruce Pets. “Find out If It’s Safe to Feed Your Cat Tuna.” Accessed December 14, 2021.