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What Fish Based Cat Food Is The Best?

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​The best fish based cat food is commercial cat food that is specifically formulated for cats and contains Thiamine, which is added to correct the imbalance that too much raw fish for cats can cause. Too much raw fish in the diet of a cat can result in a Thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency.

Cats can still enjoy their fishy dinners because canned cat food is specifically formulated for to contain other vitamins and minerals for good health.

Canned cat food that is fish based, can be smelly and that remark often pops up in comments from cat owners.  Kitty does not mind the smell even if it can be a bit offensive​ to us mortals.

Key Vitamins and Minerals in Commercial Fish Based Cat food

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their diets must be primarily composed of meat, but they also need specific nutrients that might not be adequately supplied by fish alone.

In this article I have outlined cat food that is fish based and included all the ingredients in the fish based cat food shown. I have also separately listed (below) the vitamins and minerals that are frequently added to fish based cat food.

You can scan through the ingredients, to heck if the fish based cat food you choose, meets your expectations regarding ingredients.

Some key vitamins and minerals that should be included in a balanced fish based cat food are noted below:

  1. Taurine – An essential amino acid that cats cannot synthesize in sufficient quantities. It is vital for heart health, vision, and reproduction. Fish is naturally high in taurine, but levels can decrease during processing, so supplementation may be necessary.
  2. Vitamin A –  Cats require a dietary source of vitamin A, which is important for vision, skin, and coat health. Unlike dogs and humans, cats cannot convert beta-carotene from plant sources into vitamin A, so it must come from an animal source.
  3. Vitamin D –  This vitamin is crucial for regulating the balance of calcium and phosphorus and maintaining healthy bones. Cats cannot synthesize enough vitamin D through sun exposure, so it must be provided in their diet. Fish, especially salmon and other oily fish, are good sources of vitamin D, but levels should be monitored to prevent deficiency or toxicity.
  4. Vitamin E –  An antioxidant that helps prevent oxidative damage. It is also important for immune function and skin health. Fish-based diets can be high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which increase the need for vitamin E to prevent oxidative damage.
  5. B Vitamins – Including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). These vitamins are involved in energy metabolism and are essential for a healthy nervous system and skin.
  6. Calcium and Phosphorus – These minerals are important for strong bones and teeth. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diet is crucial; too much or too little of either can cause health problems. Fish bones can be a source of calcium, but the levels must be carefully balanced with phosphorus.
  7. Magnesium – This mineral works in conjunction with calcium and phosphorus and is important for many bodily functions, including nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction.
  8. Potassium – Necessary for proper function of enzymes, muscles, and nerves.
  9. Iron –  Essential for the formation of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood.
  10. Zinc – Important for skin health, immune function, and wound healing.
  11. Copper – Plays a role in the formation of connective tissue, iron absorption, and brain development.
  12. Selenium – Works as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage.

Fish based cat foods should be carefully formulated to avoid deficiencies or excesses of these nutrients. For example, fish can contain high levels of heavy metals, such as mercury, which can be toxic in large amounts, so it is important to use fish that are lower in mercury for cat food.

Some fish can contain an enzyme called thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine (vitamin B1), leading to potential deficiencies. It is important to either use thiaminase-free fish or to ensure proper supplementation of thiamine.

cat eating raw fish

​Fish Based Cat Food

1. Fancy Feast Seafood Feast Grilled – Wet Food
2. Instinct Grain Free Salmon Recipe – Wet Food
3. Rachael Ray Wet Cat Food – Ocean Lovers Pack – Wet Food
4. I And Love And You – Oh My Cod Fish Based Cat Food – Wet Food
5. WholeHearted Mouthwatering Morsels Variety Pack Wet Food

1.Fancy Feast Seafood Feast Grilled

Purina Fancy Feast Seafood Grilled

This is a brand well known to me as Fancy Feast seemed to steal one of my kitty’s heart at a young age. He was a loyal customer for many years, in fact until he passed away in 2018.  With Fancy Feast you know you are getting a product that is high quality and that quality has not changed ​over time.

As with any cat and the fussiness they can display with food, it can be a bit of trial and error to find the preferred exact fish flavors.

Our cat often had a lick of the gravy as a little​ starter. He would even walk away and then return to tuck in. One reviewer added a little water to increase the amount of gravy. The fact that the food is in gravy means that the cat is also getting moisture with a meal which is a good thing.

​There are ​24 cans, ​8 of each flavor. If you are comparing retailer prices ensure that you are comparing like for like.

A normal serving would be ​​2 cans a day, one for breakfast and one for dinner. This amount may vary if you also give your cat some fresh or dried food.

Pros

FancyFeast had some sort of magic power over this cat of ours and he would eat no other canned food. It did make shopping easy.

This fish based cat food is low in carbohydrates which is good for diabetic cats. Our cat became diabetic in his senior years. The vet was happy for Fancy Feast to remain the dietary choice for our cat.

Cons

These small cans can be hard to open. The cans with gravy can be messy. Cat food on fingers – ugh

Specifications Of Fancy Feast Seafood Feast Grilled

Typically the boxes come in a 12 pack or a 24 pack. Because we used two cans per day, I always bought in bulk as a 12 pack doesn’t last long. It make sense to have a supply or have on autoship.

Grilled Seafood Feast in Gravy: Fish Broth, Ocean Fish, Wheat Gluten, Liver, Meat By-Products, Chicken, Corn Starch-Modified, Artificial and Natural Flavors, Corn Oil, Shrimp, Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Protein Concentrate, Added Color, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Magnesium Sulfate, Mono and Dicalcium Phosphate, Red 3, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Potassium Iodide. C-6928 Grilled Tuna Feast in Gravy: Fish Broth, Tuna, Potassium Iodide. C-6929. Grilled Salmon Feast in Gravy: Fish Broth, Salmon, Potassium Iodide. C-6926.

Is it okay for cats to eat raw fish? Yes? No? Um? Maybe? Do you know the answer?

2. Instinct Grain Free Salmon Recipe

Free Real Salmon Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food

The first two listed ingredients in this food are salmon and salmon broth.

There are added vitamins and minerals including Thiamine.  

This brand is grain free and the company prides itself on using healthy natural ingredients.

Here are the most recent reviews​​​​​​ of this product. It is worth reading the reviews as some ​are quite detailed.  Where there is a negative review there has been follow up from the company. ​While we might expect our concerns about a product to be​ acted upon, they are not always, so this is a positive point for the company in my view.

This is a pate style food so if your cat prefers food with gravy, a suggestion is to mash the food and add some liquid, water ​or broth.

Pros

This fish based cat food is suitable for all life stages of a cat.

This is a good alternative for cats that are allergic to chicken. Chicken is an ingredient in many cat foods.

The product is manufactured in the USA.

Cons

Some cats don’t like this flavour – this is a bit hit and miss with cats I’m afraid.

Some cat owners think there is too much liquid for a pate style food.

Specifications Of Instinct Grain Free Salmon Recipe

This fish cat food, is pate style. The calorie content is 1,057 kcal/kg, 90 kcal/3 oz can, 165 kcal/5.5 oz can. You can choose flavours other than fish – rabbit or chicken. This food has a fat content of 26.25%, carbohydrate content of 3.33% and sodium content of 1.13% on a dry matter basis.

IngredientsSalmon, Salmon Broth, Pork Liver, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Eggs, Peas, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley

3. Rachael Ray Wet Cat Food – Ocean Lovers

Natural Wet Cat Food Grain Free, Ocean Lovers

This ​​cat food is grain free.  See what people say about this cat food. This is a link to the most recent reviews of this product and only to the Ocean Lovers Variety Pack. Overwhelmingly the reviews are positive however it is definitely worth scanning the reviews as sometimes there is a comment that you can personally relate to about your cat.

Th​is fish based cat food does tick all the boxes as far as no artificial colors, preservative​s, ​flavors​, ground corn, wheat or soy ingredients.  

Pros

Fish is the number 1 ingredient.

Added vitamins, minerals and Taurine.

Point to Consider

This food is made in Thailand. I am not suggesting that this is a negative, it is just a point to consider. I have visited Thailand 4 times and love it. In these days and uncertain times, some people are preferring to buy closer to home.

Specifications Of Ocean Lovers

The cans are 2.8 oz. They are available in a pack of 12 or a pack of 24. The flavors are Ocean Fish, Chicken and Shrimp (note the chicken) and Tuna.

Ingredients
Ocean Fish-a-licious: Ocean Fish, Water, Tuna, Vegetable Oil, Powdered Cellulose, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Celery Powder, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Taurine, … see more ingredients

4.  I And Love And You – Oh My Cod Fish Based Cat Food

Canned Wet Cat Food - Cod + Chicken

If you are looking for a natural product this may be what you are looking for in a fish based cat food.

The food does not have any artificial preservatives or flavors, no additives or fillers and no wheat, corn soy or rice.

It is also grain free although several other varieties reviewed here are also grain free. In this food sweet potato is used instead of grain.

As a cat’s diet should be primarily protein based I was satisfied to see that the sweet potato, being a carbohydrate is listed eleventh in the list of ingredients followed mostly by supplements, so the carbohydrate level would be assumed to be low.

Protein is number one on the list so a tick there and interestingly the food also contains some vegetables and fruits.

Cats don’t actually need fruit and vegetables however the food is approved by a holistic vet and pet nutritionist and fruit and vegetables may be a preferable inclusion as opposed to other filler type foods.  

This food is classed as natural but not classed as organic.

​Read the reviews for the cod recipe.  As with most things there are some positives and negatives, some cats don’t like the product and others love it.  One of the main things I look for is safety and there are no reports that I could find of this food causing any issues regarding health. One ​person contacted the company as the cats did not like the product. The company refunded the money without the product having to be returned.

​It is wise to go with a tried and trusted brand when buying fish for your cat in cans.

In the end we all have to make our own choices. The products reviewed are ones that I would feel comfortable using and indeed as I mentioned our cat had a steady diet of Fancy Feast (amongst other things) for many years.  

With fish it is ​important that thiamine is added to fish based cat food. ​​If you have any concerns about feeding fish to your cat raise it with your veterinarian next time you visit.

Pros

This cat food is Grain Free.

This cat food is made in the USA.

Full of healthy Omega 3’s and 6’s.

Formulated by an holistic veterinarian.

Cons

The cans may smell fishy. Despite our best intentions, some cats will turn up their noses at this food.

This food does contain vegetables. Cats don’t normally eat vegetables.

Specifications Of Oh My Cod Fish Based Cat Food

This food is grain free and also has zero by-product meals, soy, artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.

The can shown here is a cod recipe however there is also a tuna variety and two different salmon recipes. There is the option to buy packs of 12 or 24 and 3 oz or 5.50 oz cans. Cats are spoilt for choice.

Ingredients
Cod, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Fish Broth, Spinach, Cranberries, Apples, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sweet Potatoes, Alfalfa Meal, Ground Flaxseed, Taurine, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Choline Chloride, Dl-methionine, Salmon Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols) … see more ingredients

5. WholeHearted Wet Cat Food Variety Pack

This is a Petco’s brand of fish based cat food.

In this seafood trio there is no corn or wheat or grains of any type. As with fish for human consumption this food contains antioxidants which help support the immune system and Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids.

The first ingredient is protein which is essential in a cat’s diet and should always be at the forefront of whatever the cat is eating.

Pros

This fish-based cat food is a good price.

The first ingredient is, importantly, seafood.

Cons

The can sizes are 2.8 oz which is quite small but perfect for smaller sized cats.

Specifications Of WholeHearted Wet Cat Food Variety Pack

This is a Petco’s brand. There are three different seafood choices in this pack, Tuna, Salmon and Ocean Fish. On Petco’s site you will find other fishy flavor combinations, some in pouches and some in cans. The cans are 2.8 oz.

This is a comprehensive list of foods that cats should eat sparingly plus foods that cats should definitely not eat.

fish based cat food - Pinterest image

Our First Choice is…Fancy Feast Seafood Feast Variety Pack

​We care that the human food​ we eat has quality control in preparation and we should expect the same for ​the food our cats eat.  

Every now and then cat food has to be recalled and that does happen with food for humans also.  We need to be diligent about the food we give our animals.

We choose Fancy Feast for fish based cat food for the reliability of the product and the secure knowledge that this product  has been used by us on an almost daily basis for the best part of 18 years.

In addition the cat loved Fancy Feast. To say we supported the Purina company would be a fair statement.

This food was entirely suitable for senior cat.

vector - two cats reading
I can smell seafood dear. I hope it’s for dinner!

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