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Can Cats Eat Salmon Bones? (Or Skin)

Plain and simple and to the point, never give your cat bones from fish or other meat. Bones represent an increased risk of choking should the cat get a bone or splinter of a bone stuck in its mouth, esophagus, or stomach. There are enough risks in an animal’s life every day. Don’t add to this risk list by giving bones to your cat. My personal opinion.

Bones can cause the cat their life and your wallet untold and unexpected vet expenses. In addition, if your cat dies because you gave it something or left something out that they should not eat, it will be a rugged cross to bear.

As an added interesting note, I buy a leading brand of moist cat food in a fish variety. While putting some of this favorite cat food in my cat’s dish, I found a sizeable piece of bone about a quarter-inch long and very hard. I would never have expected to see a bone like this in any cat food, but I learned that this can happen. I shudder at the thought of giving this dish of wet cat food to my cat and having them get a bone stuck somewhere in their tiny mouth or throat.

Of course, I removed it and closely inspected the rest of the food. When you buy your cat moist, flaky cat fish food, please be aware that it could have a bone that could hurt your cat. Simply look through the food well before giving it to your cat. You cannot even trust cat food manufacturers to sell safe bone-free fish food.

Can Cats Eat Salmon Bones?

My first immediate answer would be that a cat can eat salmon bones. My family and I love fresh salmon, but I rarely buy it due to the expense of fresh salmon. I usually purchase fresh-caught red sockeye salmon in the can because my family occasionally likes salmon patties.

When you let the canned salmon slide out of the can, you gently pull the salmon apart and remove the spine. You will find many small bones that are exceedingly soft and literally fall apart. I never remove these bones because it is not necessary and I always felt they added calcium to the fish. I never worried about these bones, as they seem to disintegrate quickly in the fish when making the patties. I never thought about these bones hurting our cats or us. I used to give our cats a tiny taste of canned salmon without any notable bones before adding any ingredients.

Science researchers on cat diets say you should never ever give your cats fish that may have bones, as there remains a choking hazard no matter how careful you are to remove all bones. I do not take the risk. Yes, cats in the wild are different from domesticated cats in your home. Cats in the wild survive on a wild diet. Too much fish is unsuitable for cats due to the possible mercury content and thiaminase present in fresh fish.

What To Do If My Cat Eats Salmon Bones?

I do not believe that the type of salmon bones I described found in canned salmon would hurt your cat as you can take these bones and gently pinch them between your fingers, and they quickly disintegrate. The bones from a cut of fresh salmon are different from the bones found in canned salmon. However, I now know that I will not give my cat soft, pliable bones or any type of fish or meat containing small bones that would increase their risk of choking.

Domesticated cats thrive on dry kibble and manufactured wet cat food. These are easier for the cat to digest. Many fish bones are less brittle, and the risk is high for your cat, causing damage to its sensitive and fragile mouth, esophagus, and digestive system.

If, perchance, you have salmon on your counter, fixing it for a meal, and your cat decides to grab a piece when you are not looking, it stands the risk of swallowing a bone. Some cats love eating fish bones, but the threat to their life is significant.

If your cat shows the first signs of swallowing difficulty or is trying to vomit, this warrants a 9-1-1 call to your vet and an immediate visit. Do not waste a minute of precious time and rely on your vet, who will tell you what to do.

If you can see a bone stuck somewhere in your cat’s mouth, you may be able to get ahold of the bone and pull it out. Be aware that you also risk losing the bone because the cat gets excited and swallows it. However, if you are a seasoned cat parent, you know that this is a difficult task that cats do not cooperate with easily.

Can Cats Eat Salmon Skin? 

Cats require a diet high in protein, antioxidants, and omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon and salmon skin provide all of these nutrients, as does a can of water-packed tuna fish or a piece of fresh tuna filet as a once-in-a-while treat. Most cats love salmon. However, if it is not cat food, salmon, or tuna, it does not supply the rest of the nutrients that are so important for your cat’s health, and their daily diet should not rely solely on human-grade salmon or fish.

Some fish types can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats, such as feeding your cat sushi salmon.

  • Researchers in cat diets say that there may be a mercury content in fish that is not good for cats.
  •  Thiaminase is an enzyme found in raw fish. When a cat eats raw fish, this thiaminase breaks down the cat’s vitamin B or thiamine, making your cat deficient in vitamin B, which in turn causes possible neurological issues and convulsions.

My Cat Loves Human Fish. What Kind of Human Fish is Safest for My Cat?

Are you one of those cat parents who find it difficult to withhold a unique fish treat from your fur baby?

I learned over the years of being a cat parent that table food is not good for cats. None of my cats eat any human table food anymore except for an occasional water-packed tuna fish treat. They are better off not eating table food. They get into this habit, and it is a challenge to break them from wanting only table food. Our foods lack all the essential nutrients they need to remain healthy.

You can give your cat an occasional treat of canned water-packed tuna, canned sardines, or canned salmon. While these fish treats are not as healthy as the fresh variety, they are much safer. Never give your cat more than a teaspoon or two of these canned fish options. Never give your cat these options more than twice a week in addition to their cat food diet. These canned fish foods contain no thiaminase found in raw fish varieties.

*Please note that research found that many cats have an allergy to salmon. If you feed your cat a bit of salmon and it develops nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation, you know your cat has an allergy to salmon.

If your vet has ordered medicine for your cat and you have difficulty getting your cat to take medication, try mixing the medicine with a few teaspoons of liquid from water-packed tuna. This works well for me.

As you search the internet for fish varieties and ways to cook fresh fish as an occasional treat for your cat, you will find numerous recommendations. I would instead take the easiest and safest way and simply not feed my cat fresh fish. I opt for the occasional canned tuna, sardine, or salmon product. I still look for any leftover bones just in case, because if bones can be found in regular wet cat food, they can be found in these products.