Can Cats Eat Sushi? - Cat Kingpin
Can Cats Eat Sushi

Can Cats Eat Sushi?

This content has been reviewed and approved by our in-house Veterinarian for accuracy

If pop culture has taught us anything, it’s that cats love fish. More than any other human food, we are told that cats – especially cartoon cats –  can’t say no to fish of any kind. But, is this really true?

Every type of cat food and treat has some kind of fish flavor, so it would make sense that you should be able to feed your cat pieces of fish right off your plate. When you are enjoying sushi, your cat should be sitting right next to you getting their fair share, right?

Well, not so much.

In this article we’ll cover the following;

  • Cats and Sushi, What You Need to Know
  • Can Cats Eat Sushi?
  • Can Kittens Eat Sushi?
  • Negatives of Feeding Cats Sushi, and What Can Happen

Cats and Sushi, What You Need to Know

Sushi is a popular dish for humans because it is not just a savory treat, it is also healthy. You can eat sushi as a snack or as a meal because it comes in so many different varieties. And, not only does it feature different types of seafood, but it also comes with sticky rice.

But, while sushi is generally safe for people, it can cause gastrointestinal problems for cats. Raw fish contains thiaminase, and if cats consume this often, it can break down thiamine, which is an essential B vitamin for cats.

Thiamine deficiency is no joke. It can cause neurological problems that could possibly lead to convulsions or coma.

Raw fish can also contain bacteria that causes food poisoning.

Can Cats Eat Sushi?

There is no denying that the smell of fish will be very intriguing to your fur baby. So, if you’re eating sushi, many cat parents will find their kitty up close and ready for a bite.

While sushi is not a life-threatening food, the general recommendation is that your cat shouldn’t be eating it. If you give your cat a bite every now and then – or if they use their ninja skills to grab a roll of your plate – there is no need to panic. A small amount shouldn’t do any long-lasting damage.

We should also talk about the white sticky rice because that is a common part of a sushi roll. White rice is absolute junk food for cats. It offers zero health benefits because it is loaded with carbs and sugar, and it doesn’t have the right amino acid profile that a feline needs.

Carbs are not an essential part of a feline diet, and they are not made to digest them properly. Your cat could really struggle trying to digest a large amount of carbs, which could cause bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Cats are all about protein, and empty calories like white rice can lead to obesity or a number of other health problems like diabetes.

Simply put, you should keep carbs away from your cat, and only feed them the protein that they need.

Speaking of protein, you might think that since fish is loaded with protein, it should be alright for cats to eat. But, that’s simply not true. The raw salmon in sushi rolls can be dangerous because of the pesticides and heavy metals.

And, believe it or not, fish is one of the top cat food allergies, and if they consume it, it could cause things like excessive hair loss, skin rashes, and breathing problems.

Can Kittens Eat Sushi?

The same can be said for kittens. While they might be interested in trying out some sushi, it shouldn’t be part of their regular diet. If your kitten eats too much sushi, the bacteria could cause problems like food poisoning, and the thiaminase could lead to a thiamine deficiency.

Plus, the carbs would just wreak havoc on their digestive system.

Negatives of Feeding Cats Sushi, and What Can Happen

We have already mentioned some of the things that can happen when you feed your cat too much sushi, but it doesn’t hurt to revisit some of those and add a few more.

The fish in sushi can cause food poisoning or a thiamine deficiency, which could cause convulsions and coma. Many cats are also allergic to fish, and if they consume it they could have life-threatening symptoms like:

  • Excessive hair loss
  • Skin Rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive Gas
  • Ear Problems
  • Coughing/Wheezing

Then there is the rice, which is loaded with carbs and sugar. This serves absolutely no nutritional purpose for your cat, and too many carbs can be extremely difficult to digest, leading to bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Eating too many carbs can also lead to your cat being overweight or obese, and that potentially has its own set of problems like diabetes and heart disease.

So, can cats eat sushi?

Technically, yes they can eat sushi in small amounts. But, this should be on rare occasions because it does not offer any nutritional value and could be hard to digest. The fish in sushi can contribute to allergies, and your cat could be at risk for consuming harmful pesticides and heavy metals.

The rice is also a bad idea because of one word – carbs.

Another problem of feeding your cat sushi too often is that you could spoil them. If your cat is bonkers for sushi, it could lead to them refusing their fish-flavored cat food. You know how picky cats can be, and if they find something they love, they will beg for it and go hungry in protest, if needed.

It’s best to stick to fish-flavored treats like Purina Fancy Feast Duos. My cat loses his mind when I pull out a bag of the salmon flavor. He also loves his Friskies Tasty Treasures with ocean fish, tuna, and cheese in sauce.

Of course, there is a ton of fish-flavored food and treats out there for your cat to enjoy. So, it should be pretty easy to skip the sushi, and stick with things that have nutritional value that your cat will love to eat.

Comments? Questions? Let us know in the section below.

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Natalie earned her Bachelors degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas, and has worked in television and radio during her career. Now, she is a freelance writer, and in mid 2018, she joined our team and is working hard to give cat parents all the info they need for their cats to live a happy and healthy life. Natalie didn't discover her love for cats until recently. As a child, her parents misled her into believing she was a dog person. However, all of that changed a couple of years ago when she met her favorite kitten that she later named Dale. Now, Dale takes up about 95 percent of the camera roll in her phone, and the two are the best of friends. Dale loves boxes, crab-flavored treats, window ledges, and playing outside. Natalie loves to binge movies and TV shows on Netflix and Hulu with Dale sitting nearby.

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