Can Kittens Eat Canned Tuna?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Feed your kitten foods that are specific to her young dietary needs.

    Feed your kitten foods that are specific to her young dietary needs.

    Properly rearing a kitten is a serious duty. After all, you want to do everything you can to ensure that the cutie grows up strong and healthy. Once a kitten is weaned, she requires a kitten-formulated diet chock full of protein -- and definitely no canned tuna.

    Canned Tuna

    The ASPCA indicates that canned tuna frequently contains minimal amounts of mercury, which can be toxic to felines. If a cat very occasionally eats a little bit of canned tuna, poisoning likely won't be an issue. However, regular canned tuna may be problematic, as it could lead to severe dietary deficiencies in felines -- think insufficient vitamin E, copper, sodium and calcium.

    Kitten Diet

    Once a kitty is weaned off of her mama's milk, it is crucial to closely monitor her diet so she can grow into a healthy adult cat. Feed your kitten only food that is specifically designed for consumption by cats in her age group. Kittens require protein-based diets that will provide a lot of vital energy. Since canned tuna that is made for human consumption does not in any way cater to the special dietary needs of kittens, avoid allowing your fluff ball to eat the stuff. Although small amounts of it may not bring upon any harm, it won't do anything to enhance your kitten's health either, so play it safe and be smart.

    Yellow Fat Disease

    Feeding a kitten -- or adult cat -- sizable amounts of canned tuna can be potentially very dangerous, so take note. One of the consequences of canned tuna is a deficiency-related disorder known as yellow fat disease, or steatitis. According to The Merck Veterinary Manual, yellow fat disease is especially common in kittens. If you suspect that your kitty is experiencing the condition, look out for key signs, including abdominal pain, appetite loss, weight loss and fever. Seek emergency medical attention for any feline who may be suffering from yellow fat disease.

    Management

    If your kitten has steatitis, the vet may suggest nutritional supplements as part of a management plan -- perhaps lots of vitamin E for about a week. The vet also may recommend that your kitty consume a kitten-made food with additional antioxidants mixed in. Talk in-depth with the vet about devising the safest and most nutritionally valuable dietary plan for your pet's future. After all, she's that important!

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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