A cat eating goldfish is a scene we see in cartoons and comics all the time but is it really true? Can cats eat goldfish or is it just a myth like milk?

While it is true that cats are attracted to goldfish or other fishes in fish bowls or fish tanks, the real reason behind this fascination is not really the urge to eat the goldfish. Cats natural diet does not include fish. Actually very few cat breeds like water and most cats prefer to stay away from it, if they can. But how about the benefits and risks of a raw fish such as goldfish? Can cats eat goldfish?

Kitten and Goldfish
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Can Cats Eat Goldfish?

The short answer is cats could eat goldfish but there is more to it. There are many reasons why you don’t want your cat to eat your (or anyone else’s) goldfish. The risks involved in giving your cat raw fish meat is much more than the potential health benefits it can gain from the raw fish.

The chances are your cat would rather try to eat goldfish crackers rather (which don’t include any kind of fish) than the actual goldfish itself. But this doesn’t mean that your cat will leave your goldfish alone.

What Draws Cats to Goldfish?

Cats are hunters by instinct. While we call some animals predators, we leave some others out of this concept because we think that they are cute. To be perfectly fair, cats are obligate carnivores and they are natural predators so they have strong hunting urges. According to a study by Cambridge University, cats hunt and eat small mammals such as rabbits or rats, some small birds and even reptiles and only 0.3% of the cats in the study hunted and ate fish.

If you examine what your cat does to its toy mouse, you can get a hint why your cat would go after your goldfish. Unlike many other predators, cats love to play with their preys. It is almost like eating is secondary to playing with the prey. Since goldfish are shiny and attention drawing creatures with sudden swimming movements, cats are drawn to them.

Most cats don’t even eat the goldfish after the poor suffocating fish stops moving and they leave the dead fish alone because the fun is over. Of course just like all other things, there are exceptions and some cats eat the goldfish but the percentage of the cats eating the goldfish after they play with it is very, very small.

Are cats cruel? No, not at all. This is just natural, instinctive cat behavior. It is in their nature just like breathing or sleeping, they are hunters that kill other animals and play with them in the process.

What Are The Risks Of A Cat Eating Goldfish?

When you try to answer the question “can cats eat goldfish” the first thing you must check are the risks involved. Most of the risks involved in eating goldfish highly depends on the source of the goldfish because like any other raw meat, goldfish is a potential salmonella carrier which can be quite disturbing and painful for your kitty.

Other risks are parasites such as tapeworms, choking and tearing tissues in gastrointestinal tract due to fishbones.

Can Cats Have Goldfish
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Goldfish is a known carrier of tapeworms which can cause malnutrition if it is passed down to your cat. Although it is relatively easy to get rid of the tapeworms, it is not a nice scene to watch your cat lose its health gradually, not knowing what is wrong.

Also, since goldfish is small in size and it has lots of tiny bones, it creates a real choking hazard. In addition to being a choking hazard, fishbones might scratch up inside your little friend’s mouth and throat or tear tissues in its throat and anywhere in its digestive system which can even cause internal bleeding and even death.

How Do I Keep My Cat Away From My Goldfish?

When cats can’t get what they want, they start to lose interest after some time. So the best course of action is to get a heavy, strong fish bowl or fish tank that your cat can not move or drop to the ground. Also cover the top of the fish bowl with a heavy lid so your cat can not reach the goldfish.

Put the fish tank somewhere your cat can not reach which might be harder than said so be careful about this one. Also most fish tanks have bright lights which show the fish shinier than they already are and that attracts the attention of cats even more.

Cat Eating Goldfish
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Also hungry cats can try even harder to get to the fish. Although fish is not a natural part of a cat’s diet, hunger can make any living being act out of ordinary. So keep your little friend well fed. Another thing to keep in mind is keeping your cat entertained by providing it with toys and giving it the attention it demands from you.

Can Cats Eat Goldfish – Conclusion

Let’s ask it again: can cats eat goldfish? Yes, they can but the risks involved is not worth it and most of the time they prefer their cat food over the goldfish which is a lot healthier and provides a balanced diet. If you want to provide your cat with some extra Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in large amounts in fish, you have better options such as sardines.

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Author Yusuf Can Ekinci

Father of two cats named Tzatziki & Ouzo. Our small family tries to live without harming any living being. I am a small time farmer who tries to apply natural farming methods. Favorite activities: watching wild life at nature, passing time at home with my cats...

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