Tuna Water for Cats: Is it Healthy? [Pros & Cons]

how to make tuna juice for cats

Tuna water is created from soaking tuna in water in order to draw out some of the nutritional benefits, as well as the taste. Many cat owners swear by this liquid, which can actually be a natural supplement to an already balanced diet to help keep hydration levels up. 

If you’re looking to add tuna water to your cat’s diet, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll show you what to look for when purchasing canned tuna, how you can create your own tuna water, and many other facts you need to know about tuna and tuna water. We’ll even discuss concerns about mercury poisoning and put your fears to rest.

Are you ready to help your cat by introducing tuna juice into their diet? Let’s get started.  

Types of Liquids Canned Tuna is Packaged In

tuna water for cats
Photo by Abeer Zaki on Unsplash

Keeping an eye on the ingredients listed in canned tuna can go a long way in making sure you’re giving your cat the best tuna for them. Besides the actual tuna itself, you’ll also want to determine how the tuna was packaged, specifically what oil it was packed in. 


Tuna can be packed in either vegetable oil, soybean oil, or extra virgin olive oil. Many manufacturers use cheap oils like vegetable oil to preserve their tuna, but it’s not a good idea to introduce this type of oil to your cat’s system. 

Tuna canned with soybean oil and olive oil mixed in are preferred, but even then, these oils can actually reduce the good oils found in tuna that will benefit your cat’s body. Tuna naturally has Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your cat. However, both olive oil and soybean oil can leech these good fatty acids from the fish and dilute it in these calorie-packed packaging oils. 

Even if you drain the packaging oil from the canned tuna, you’ll still be getting less Omega-3 fatty acids than if you were to purchase tuna packaged in another type of liquid. 

Spring Water

Many cats and people alike prefer tuna that’s packaged in spring water. This water is much cleaner than oil or brine and can actually enhance the taste of tuna in some cases.

Benefits of spring water-packed tuna include a lower sodium content, a more natural taste, and cleaner ingredients overall. If you’re searching for the best tuna to buy, choose one that’s packed in spring water. 


Some canned tuna brands can be high in sodium, but these levels can increase dramatically if the tuna is packed in brine. This salty liquid can also contain sugar, which can be bad for your cat’s health as well.

Each tuna manufacturer will have a different level of sodium, to keep an eye on this as you select tuna for your cat. 

According to Dr. Kathryn Primm, before giving your cat any form of tuna or juice, you need to make sure you read the ingredients on the package. Make sure that the tuna you are going to give your cat is 100% real fish that is packed in water. Artificial flavoring can contribute to hyperthyroidism in cats, so avoid these ingredients as well. 

Common Brands of Cat Food with Tuna 

You can use tuna as a dietary supplement on its own, but several cat food brands incorporate tuna into their recipes. You can use these dry and canned foods to introduce tuna into your cat’s diet as well. 

For example, Wellness CORE offers their Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entrée in Broth. This canned food is free from by-products and fillers but rich in protein. It may be starchier than some other recipes, but it can be a good alternative. 

Blue Buffalo is one of the more affordable canned cat foods with tuna. This recipe is free from gluten and soy products, but does contain several plant ingredients.

The brand Tiki Cat is similar, with a soft texture but a high carbohydrate content. Tiki Cat also uses tuna that’s been tested for mercury levels, so this might be a good alternative if you’re worried about this issue. 

CANIDAE and Solid Gold brands both prioritize animal proteins in their ingredients lists. However, CANIDAE is a dry food, which doesn’t help hydrate your cat as much as wet foods do. If you’re fish-smell averse, Solid Gold might not be the one for you either. 

Finally, Weruva and PureBites are good for kittens and food topping respectively. It’s essential that your kitten gets the nutrients and hydration it needs to grow. Plus, topping your cat’s food with some yummy treats can go a long way in promoting good eating habits and a balanced, scheduled diet.

What are the Benefits of Tuna For Cats

Tuna and its juices provide many benefits for cats and can actually be a great supplement to their weekly diet. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from feeding your cat tuna juice:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: When added to a balanced diet, these acids can promote lower cholesterol, a healthy blood pressure, weight loss, and improved eyesight.
  • Enzymes: These elements can give your growing cat boosts in energy, as well as promote growth. 
  • Calcium 
  • potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • B-vitamins such as riboflavin and niacin 
  • Zinc

Many cats eat tuna simply because it tastes good. Some cats may even drink tuna water, lapping it up as a scrumptious snack.

Now that you know what you can expect from feeding your cat tuna juice, let’s take a closer look at how you can make your own. 

How to Make Your Own Tuna Water

Unfortunately, there is no tuna juice that you can purchase at the store. However, even though you can’t buy tuna juice, you can use simple ingredients to make your own tuna flavored water that’s good for cats and can be used as the occasional treat.

Follow the recipe below for homemade tuna water. You can use almost any type of tuna, but remember, stay away from tuna that is packed in oil. If you can find a simple albacore that is packed in water and doesn’t have extra flavor, your recipe will turn out much better. 

  1. Purchase one or two cans of tuna. A single can of tuna should make anywhere from 2-3 cups of tuna juice. 
  2. Mash up a can of tuna in a bowl. Add 2-3 cups of water to the tuna and allow it to soak for about 30 minutes. 
  3. Pour the tuna juice into ice trays and set in the freezer. 
  4. When you feed your cat, take out a cube or two of the tuna juice beforehand. Warm it to room temperature. 
  5. Serve the tuna juice to your cat right before you feed them. They can lap this up while you prepare their meal. 

As you can see, creating your own tuna juice isn’t difficult. In fact, you can easily prepare juice ahead of time and simply store it in your freezer until later. Just remember to notate which ice cube trays are for your cat and which are for you. It’ll be a shock if you mix them up!

Additional Tips on How to Help Your Cat Stay Hydrated and Healthy

cat drinking milk
Beautiful Norwegian forest cat drinking milk out of a saucer.

Tuna water can be a great way to get your cat to drink enough water throughout the day. Many cats love to drink tuna water.

Here are some other tips you can use to keep your cat healthy and hydrated:

  • Wash and refill your cat’s bowl frequently. Keeping a full bowl of fresh water is way more enticing than old water that may have food or other debris inside of it. If you don’t think it looks appetizing to drink, then it probably isn’t very appealing to your cat either.
  • If you feed your cat mostly dry food, try switching to a mostly canned food diet. This might be a little more expensive, but can work well if your cat really likes wet food.
  • Try different food and water bowls. There are many different types of bowls on the market to choose from. Try rotating between different types of bowls like: metal, plastic, ceramic, and glass. You may notice that your cat will favor one over the others.
  • Try moving your cat’s food and water bowls to different locations. Cats can be very picky about their surroundings and may not like to eat in certain spots.
  • Make sure you keep your cat’s litter box and food are far away from each other. Your cat is most likely not going to eat or drink next to the odors of their litter box
  • Try feeding your cat smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. Eating and drinking go hand in hand which means they will also want to drink more.
  • Add flavor to their water or food. This is where tuna juice can be useful. You can give them tuna juice instead of water, and you can even put tuna juice in the food.
  • Try using a cat water fountain. Cats are drawn to water that is moving which makes a fountain an awesome accessory. Your cat may need some time to get used to this if it is their first time using one.

Hydration is important, for both humans and cats. Help your cat avoid dehydration and supplement their diet at the same time by giving them tuna water. 


Does canned tuna contain tuna juice?

Canned tuna contains certain types of liquids, depending on what it’s packaged in. These acids can improve the nutritional value of the tuna, or they can actually decrease it.

Strictly speaking, canned tuna does not contain tuna juice, but it can be used to make tuna juice. 

Why do cats eat tuna?

Something about the taste of tuna just seems to draw in the feline crowd. Cats eat tuna like humans eat sweets.

How often can a cat eat tuna?

There is such a thing as too much tuna. You should give your cat tuna once or twice a week. Many cats vary in how responsive they are to tuna. In fact, some cats may be allergic to tuna, so don’t assume that just because they’re a can, they’ll want to eat tuna.

The main thing to avoid is tuna dependency, as tuna alone can’t offer your cat a balanced diet. No one wants tuna junkies caterwauling all the time.

How much tuna water should I give my cat?

Generally speaking, you should feed your cat tuna juice once a day. See how your cat tolerates the tuna water before going out and buying a whole bunch of tuna cans. You also don’t want to create a tuna junkie by feeding your cat too much tuna juice.

Can I feed my cat fresh tuna?

Yes, you can certainly spoil your kitty cat. When cooking tuna fish, ensure that it’s cooked thoroughly and to the correct temperature. If you’re concerned about your cat swallowing bones or choking on them, remove the bones before serving. 

You can also add vegetable broth to the tuna fish when feeding it to your cat.

When shouldn’t I feed my cat tuna?

In certain cats, tuna can actually worsen health problems. If your cat is experiencing any of these issues, you should avoid giving your cat tuna until you’ve spoken to a veterinarian: kidney problems, diabetes, heart disease, fish allergies. 

Can canned tuna give my cat mercury poisoning?

When given in moderation as a supplement to a regular diet, tuna should not contain enough mercury to increase levels to a health risk in your cat. However, if you’re constantly feeding your cat tuna, the mercury levels can increase and build up in their system, potentially allowing the mercury to rise to dangerous levels. Be cautious in feeding your cat too much tuna to avoid risky mercury levels. 

Final Thoughts 

Tuna water is an excellent way to help your cat get in more liquids if they are refusing to eat and drink. We hope you’ve found this article on tuna water helpful in learning how tuna can benefit your cat in the right doses. Add tuna juice to your cat’s diet and see how they react. You might even get a purr or two out of them!