Can Cats Eat Canned Sardines as Daily Food?

You certainly want the best for your pet, especially when it comes to nutrition. The question is what besides the usual food to give to your cat? Silverfish whose smell does not delight people – do cats love it, and can cats eat canned sardines?

You can buy sardines at any time, they are rich in vitamins and oil, but here is what you need to know about sardines before you give them to your cat. Read carefully all the benefits, pros, and cons of sardines in your cat’s diet, as some of them might surprise you.

Can cats eat canned sardines?



Sardines got the name after the famous Italian island of Sardinia. Manufactures pack these small fishes in cans. Sardines do not have a pleasant smell, at least not for people, but if you ignore that fact, it is a fantastic treat for your cat.

Can cats eat canned sardines – yes, they can, but it’s not a treat you’ll give every day.

Like other types of fish, tuna or, for example, salmon, give you cat sardines but occasionally.

Cats undoubtedly love fish and its smell, but they must not eat it every day because they contain high levels of fatty acids. High levels of fatty acids cause vitamin E deficiency in cats.

Now you are wondering, is fish bad for cats? Fish benefits them much more than it harms them, so don’t give up on adding sardines into your furry friend’s diet.

Sardine oils for cats

There are different types of canned sardines. You can buy sardines canned with olive oil, some with tomato sauce, and some only with water.

Omega-3 fatty acids from oils are healthy especially for the heart, but sardines in water are a far better option. Such sardines do not contain excessive amounts of fat and cholesterol.

Sardines packed in sunflower oil, soy, or some other contains omega-6 fatty acids (1). When you open the can, remember to close it well and put it back in the fridge. Use it within two days.

What does a can of sardines contain?

  • About 3 grams of fat
  • About 60 calories in each ounce
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin A
  • Sodium about 90 grams per ounce – fortunately, this amount of sodium (2) does not adversely affect the cat’s health

How much sardines cats should eat?

The most crucial food for your cat is meat. Fish is not so nutritious. It is important to limit sardine feeding to several times a week.

When you start adding sardines to your cat’s diet, start with a smaller amount. There are small chances that sardines will cause a stomach problem in a cat, but just in case, don’t overdo it, no matter how much she liked it.

Great reasons to give sardines to your cat


The list of benefits sardines to your cat is really long, so don’t be impatient and read all of them carefully.

They are full of proteins

Just like other sea fish, sardines are also full of proteins. In only one can, you will find 20 grams of protein. Proteins are good for cats because they help them develop connective tissues, and they are necessary for the proper functioning of all muscles, for fur, for nails.

Let’s not forget to mention the amino acids in sardines that cats cannot produce.

Sardines are good for brain health Sardines contain DHA acid. It is a type of omega-3 fatty acids that create the basic component of the retina, skin, and most importantly – the brain. DHA acid will prevent premature aging, improve memory and learning ability. DHA will also prevent brain damage.

Helps with allergies Cats are prone to allergies, and the causes are numerous. One of the most well-known allergies in cats is atopy, which is an allergy to inhaling pollen or mold. What is very important is that sardines have a very good effect on cats that have allergies. Sardines contain anti-inflammatory substances that reduce irritation or inflammation after an allergic reaction.

Sardines are good for bones and joints

You know very well how active your cat is, especially when it was a kitten. A sluggish and inactive cat should worry you. A cat that has stopped playing and running may get problems with its bones and joints. This is where sardines take a great part. They are full of omega3 fatty acids and contain DHA, which is great for the entire skeletal system.

Seafood also has the necessary vitamin D which strengthens bones.

Slowing down the loss of kidney function

One study proved that omega 3 fatty acids protect the kidneys. Giving sardines to your pet can prevent or slow down the loss of kidney function.

Omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids

Sardines are rich in omega 6 fatty acids and they are great for your cat. Linoleic acid plays a critical role in maintaining the health of your pet’s skin. Many important molecules in the body are also made of linoleic acid. Omega-6 fatty acids contain arachidonic acid (3), which cats cannot produce on their own.

Also, great selection of omega3 fatty acids boost the immune system and help cats that have a heart problem.

When sardines are not good for cats?

Maybe you have wondered can cats eat canned sardines as you might hear of some problems fish or fish oil can cause.

Let’s check them all out.

First thing – remove all the bones before you give the cats sardines.

Too many sardines can form crystals in cats that cause kidney stones.

Sardines contain too much thiaminase (4). Thiaminase is an enzyme that destroys vitamin B. In that case, your cat will be chronically tired, weak, or even have heart problems.

Sardines have too many calories, so if you give them to your cat too often, it can cause her obesity. They also contain a large amount of salt that is also not good for your cat.

Cats eating bones – yes or no?

One more question that always comes to the owner’s mind when giving the cat a fish – is dangerous for cat to eat a bone?

Give your cat bones uncooked, raw, because cooked bones can disperse and cause internal blockages or even damage. On the other hand, too many raw bones will cause stomach problems. In case there is a stalemate, your cat will try to throw out the bone by vomiting.

What types of sardines can cats eat?

Can cats eat canned sardines; yes they can, but what about different sardine oils? Not all sardines are good for your cat, especially if you plan to buy them at a nearby supermarket.

You will find sardines in different types of oils. Oils improve and preserve their taste.

Some of these oils and foods include; olive oil, tomato sauce, water, sunflower oil, and soy.

How each of these oils affects your cat’s health:

Can cats eat sardines in sunflower oil?

In small quantities, sunflower oils are not toxic. In fact, oil can make your cat’s fur shinier and brighter.

Due to its laxative properties, sunflower oil can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Sardines in soybean oil

Soy is not safe for cats. It can damage the thyroid gland and interfere with hormone activity.

Can cats eat sardines in tomato sauce?

Cats cannot process greasy food, which includes tomato sauce. Garlic and garlic are often added to the tomato sauce and can create a digestive problem

Cat losing weight and sardines

When cats are losing weight offer her sardines.

The moment you open the can and the cat smells fish, she will change her mind.

Fish is essential in situations when your pet’s appetite drops and it starts to lose weight.

Fish are easy to digest and can test an involuntary appetite to prevent unwanted weight loss or add variety to your pet’s diet.

The intense scent of sardines is very attractive to cats.

Will my cat like sardines?


Some cats are not interested in sardines, why is that? You may be surprised by the fact that not all cats are fish lovers. There are suspicions that the immune system, which reacts to protein and causes digestive problems, is responsible for this.

On the contrary, a cat purr is a fantastic sign – if your cat purrs when seeing you coming back from the store with canned sardines, there is no doubt whether you should put this treat more often to your cat’s “table”.


Cats like consistency in their diet, so if you plan to give her sardines, let it be on certain days, no more than a couple of times a week.

Cats have an upset stomach when it comes to eating disorders. Another important thing – sardines contain a lot of water, so if your pet does not get enough water from food, this will be a great source of liquid for her.

Sardines serve as a dietary supplement; they are more like a treat. Buy fish only in proven stores and avoid sardines in corn, soy, sunflower oil.

Always check with your veterinarian how much and what way to include new dietary supplements.