Tuesday, 11 December 2018
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BREAKING NEWS

Is it safe to feed fish to cats?

DEAR JOAN: I’ve never fed my cats any fish-based pet foods due to advice from a vet over 30 years ago. Too much ash for the male cat’s urinary tract, etc. The manufacture of pet food has changed since then, but when researching via the internet I find conflicting information. What is your advice?

J. Clark,  Pleasant Hill

DEAR J.: A lot of confusion surrounds the great fish debate and there is much for the cat parents to consider.

Fish is not part of a cat’s traditional diet. Cats evolved from ancestors that originated in desert regions where they didn’t have a lot of access to fish. Their primary diet was small mammals, reptiles and birds.

Modern day cats, however, have developed a taste for fish. My Siamese tom cat, Andy, was one of the few that did not like fish. He wouldn’t eat any cat food that contained fish and even turned his nose up at canned tuna and fresh fish.

A number of cats actually have an allergy to fish, as well as beef and cow’s milk — two other items that were not a part of their ancestors’ diet.

The main issue with fish is that given a steady diet of it, the cat can develop a thiamine deficiency, which can lead to a loss of appetite, seizures, and even death.

Here’s where the confusion comes in. Cats should not be fed a steady diet of fresh fish or fish products that are intended for human consumption. However, cat foods that contain fish are fine for cats because the manufacturers add in thiamine.

There’s no evidence that the canned cat food or fish-flavored dry food is harmful for our cats, provided they don’t have any allergies to it. Sharing your canned tuna or grilled salmon with your cat, however, should be limited to an occasional treat, and only in small quantities. Fish is a good source of protein, but there are much better choices for cats such as chicken and turkey.

The mailman bites back

Last week I wrote a story about why dogs seem to hate postal carriers, telling my own story about my Chihuahua, Bailey, running out the door and chasing my mailman. I explained why dogs have this attitude and suggested some remedies that included the possibility your dog and the mail carrier could become friends.

I received a letter from a postal carrier who brought up some interesting things that I was not aware of and one I didn’t consider.

The carrier said that if an employee gets bitten by a dog, his or her bosses immediately blame the carrier. They’re questioned on whether they used their training, used their satchel as a defense and whether they used their dog spray.

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