If you’re anything like me you like to share food scraps with your cat. I mean, that’s what pets are for, right?
If you enjoy salmon, you probably have salmon skin left on your plate – most people don’t eat the skin. So, can cats eat salmon skin and is it safe for them?
The answer to this question is – yes.
Cats can eat salmon skin if you want to share your leftovers. It’s not toxic or harmful in any way, but you do have to ensure they only have a little bit as part of their overall diet.
In this article, I’m going to explain everything you need to know about how healthy salmon skin is. How you should feed it to your cat, and some other interesting bits of information to be aware of.
Is Salmon Skin Healthy for Cats?
I think most people leave the skin when eating salmon, I know I do. Yet, according to MedicalNewsToday, salmon skin is considered safe to eat and contains more of the same nutrients and minerals found in salmon.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats, fish oils, vitamin B12, B6, potassium, selenium, and a host of other minerals and nutrients. It’s one of the healthiest fish for us, and it provides a lot of quality nutrition for cats.
The main concerns are; the quality of the salmon, and how it’s been cooked. If you’re happy you’ve cooked a quality piece of salmon, there’s no reason why you can’t eat it yourself – or share it with your cat as an occasional treat.
Can Cats Have Raw Salmon Skin?
Contrary to what you may see portrayed on TV and in illustrations, cats should never eat raw fish.
Wild cats do eat raw fish, of course. They will eat almost any live prey they can get their claws on. Domestic cats are a different story, however. Plus, raw fish you buy in a store isn’t the same as a fresh catch.
The main issue is that raw fish is more likely to be contaminated with salmonella, E. coli, and some other harmful parasites. There are also enzymes in raw fish that destroy some of the vitamins and nutrients that cats can benefit from when it’s cooked.
This applies to fish skin, too. If you want to skin a fish before cooking it, do not give it to your cat. You should cook the skin separately if you want to give it to your cat.
The best scenario when giving your cat some skin is to cook a piece of salmon without any oils, seasoning, and so on. Then slice off the skin as your dish up the salmon, let it cool and pass it over.
I’ve not yet met a cat that didn’t go crazy for most fish. If yours turns their nose up I’d love to hear about it!
Things to Be Aware of When Feeding Cats Salmon and Skin
There are a couple of things to be aware of when feeding cats foods outside of their normal formulated foods.
The first is that “Human” foods, no matter how nutritious, should only be given to our kitties in moderation. A cat’s diet should consist of at least 90% of formulated foods, such as wet and dry cat foods. These provide all the nutritional content they need.
The other issue with treating kitty too often is that they can easily become stubborn about holding out for treats. And, take it from me, you don’t want your cat to be bothering your round the clock for salmon skin or anything else for that matter.
The second concern when feeding cats salmon or salmon skin is the quality of the salmon. For example, canned salmon is not as healthy as fresh salmon. Canned salmon tend to have higher salt content to keep it fresh for longer.
Cats require very little salt in their diet. Too much salt can cause dehydration and lead to spasms, seizures, and worse over a sustained period. There’s also a small risk of mercury poisoning, especially with poor quality salmon.
You also need to make sure the salmon hasn’t been smoked, seasoned, or flavored in any way too. Cat’s don’t want dill, lemon dressing, or any other dressings on their skin. Neither are these any good for them and are more likely to give them an upset stomach than improve the taste.
Here’s a more detailed look at if cats can eat canned salmon.
In Summary – Can Cats Eat Salmon Skin?
I hope this article has helped clear up the dilemma of whether or not you should be sharing your leftover salmon scraps and skin with your feline friend(s).
It’s perfectly fine to give your cat a bit of salmon skin from time to time. As long as you’re confident it’s good quality (which I’m sure it is if you’re eating the salmon). As well as being cooked properly, and doesn’t have any seasoning or added flavors.
If you’re planning on feeding your cat salmon skin for the first time, give them a small piece and see if they have any gastrointestinal issues over the next day or so. Cats have sensitive stomachs, so it’s best to introduce new foods slowly.
Any signs of allergic reactions or food poisoning symptoms, take fish skin off the menu to be on the safe side.
Does your cat like salmon and the skin? Have you been sharing any other leftovers from your plate?