It's common knowledge that kitty likes her fish. Just try to make a tuna sandwich without your cat offering to help eat it or at least clean out the can. Canned fish isn't the best thing for your cat's diet, but mackerel is the best option of all canned fish.
Mackerel is Acceptable
Your cat would love it if you were to open a can of mackerel and let her at it. It will please her taste buds and is a fairly inexpensive source for a protein supplement to her diet. Mackerel is fished out of deeper waters than tuna or other fish, making it more likely to come from an unpolluted environment, so it is healthier for her. Always stick with canned mackerel, though. Raw fish can contain parasites that can make your kitty sick or have other ill effects on her health.
Not as the Entire Diet
Your feline friend's health depends on nutrients from a variety of sources, so feeding her a strict diet of only canned mackerel can cause malnutrition, which can lead to other health issues. For instance, your cat needs sufficient taurine in her diet to maintain her eye health and mackerel is not a top source of taurine. Feed your kitty a quality cat kibble as a basis for her main diet to provide the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients she needs, and save the canned mackerel for an occasional treat.
Other than treats, it's okay occasionally to whip out a can of mackerel if your cat needs coaxing in the eating department. Pour the aromatic oil over her kibble and maybe toss in a few flakes of meat to entice her to eat if she hasn't been her ravenous self lately. Also, the oil from canned mackerel is useful for treating a constipated kitty or to help her pass hairballs instead of up-chucking them on your carpet.
A Mackerel Treat
You can easily make your cat a tasty mackerel treat by mixing 1/2 cup of drained canned mackerel with one cup of whole-grain bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or oil from the mackerel can, one beaten egg and 1/2 teaspoon of brewer's yeast. Drop the well-blended mixture in 1/4 teaspoon-sized lumps onto a greased cookie sheet and bake the mackerel treats for eight minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to let them cool completely before feeding them to your cat. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
- Pet Place: Commonly Asked Questions About Cat Nutrition
- Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats; Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M. and Susan Hubble Pitcairn
- The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care; Celeste Yarnall, Jean Hofve
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; The Editors of Prevention Health Books
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.