Can Cats Eat Canned Sardines? (What About the Oil?)

Cats can eat canned sardines yes, and they’re one of the best treats you can give your cat in moderation. It’s no secret that cats love fish – and most types of fish are acceptable. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, but there are some precautions to be aware of when it is for your cat.

Canned sardines come as the ideal treat for any cat owner’s perspective. It’s because such canned fish is safe, affordable, and available everywhere.

It’s available in groceries and convenience stores. Thus, it’s no wonder why it’s a go-to meal for us and a go-to treat for our feline pets.

Setting aside the practicality of it, though. Does sardines pose any health risk for cats?

Let’s find out.

Is it safe for cats to eat canned sardines?

Like any other fishy treat for your cat, canned sardines are safe to eat, as long as you feed it in moderation.

Sardines make a lovely and healthy treat occasionally. Your pet will enjoy its yummy taste while benefitting from the omega-3 fatty acids it offers.

Still, while they may get some health benefits, it also poses risks if you went too much.

First, most fishes contain heavy metal, such as mercury, as well as fat-soluble pollutants.

If you feed your cat more than the recommended amount, it can damage the nervous system.

Second, there’s a risk of bacterial infection like salmonella. Such a condition can induce symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and others.

The last thing is that sardines often have salt content that is above average for any animal to take.

Too much salt can cause a disturbance of electrolytes in pets. For this reason, most experts discourage regular sardines consumption for pets.

Despite the risks, sardines still remains safe for our feline pets, and it will remain like that if fed in moderation and as a treat.

A sardines treat once or twice a month should be alright.

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Can cats eat canned sardines in oil?

cat and fish

Cats can eat sardines in oil. But, like the rest of the sardines and other fish, it’ll only be safe in moderation.

They can have some oils used to preserve sardines in a can. Such oils can be sunflower oil and olive oil.

It can even be a treatment for the animals who suffer from an omega-3 deficiency.

Avoid sardines packed in soybean oil and soy, as these ingredients are total red flags for every feline.

As a general rule of thumb, feed your cat sardines in moderation, and opt for the ones that are beneficial instead.

Still, your best bet for sardines remains to be the one in water.

Does sardines help cats with hairballs?

A hairball in cats usually comes from a poor coat and failures in the digestive system. Thus, to prevent hairballs, high-quality food is your best solution.

Sardines do help with hairballs. Aside from being a great treat, sardines are rich in protein and oils that can help prevent hairballs.

Many people don’t prefer feeding sardines to their feline due to its smell.

Still, a sardines treat once in a while is a good thing for your pet’s health.

For many significant results, opt for canned sardines in olive oil. The olive oil in sardines can improve digestive health and maintain a shiny coat for your cat.

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Can a diabetic cat eat sardines?

Most diabetic cats are like type 2 diabetes for people. Type 2 Diabetes is something that needs no particular treatment.

Instead, it needs a healthy diet and lifestyle. One of the best treatment for a diabetic feline is canned goods such as sardines.

Most kitty foods contain carbohydrates since it’s a necessary component of kibbles. Thus, opting for canned food like sardines is the best solution.

Sardines have essential oils and protein that all cats need. At the same time, it contains little to no carbohydrates at all.

To maintain a shiny coat and optimize digestive health, treat your pet some sardines once in a while.

Such healthy treats can stir your feline pet clear from hairballs and other health issues.

Do you want to know if cats eat biscuits or cookies? Check it out!

Risks To Be Aware of When Giving Cats Sardines

Sardines may prove itself to be much more beneficial to our pets than we thought it would. Still, you should be mindful of risks when you’re giving your cat these canned goods.

Avoid too many sardines

Going overboard with sardines treat can cause a lot of problems.

Canned sardines in sunflower oil may be beneficial, but too much intake would be harmful. With its laxative properties, it can make your cat suffer from vomiting and diarrhea.

Don’t feed sardines in soybean oil

Some sardines come in soybean oil, a total red flag. Soybean oil and soil can damage the thyroid and its hormonal secretion activities.

Avoid sardines in tomato sauce

Sardines in tomato sauce offers quite a complexity of effects. For an in-depth article about this topic, read here.

Avoid Sardines in Brine

Sardines in brine is harmful, and it can cause sodium ion poisoning. Avoid giving your cat such kinds of sardines.

If you’re feeding sardines, opt for the one packed in water.

Ensure your pet’s health and safety by going for the unsalted, unseasoned, and unflavored ones.

Don’t feed raw sardines

Some sardines come in raw, and it’s harmful if fed. Raw fish has enzymes that destroy thiamine, which is an essential vitamin for cats.

Other issues, such as fat gain and mercury poisoning, are also possible risks for cats.

Be sure to feed cooked sardines. If you’re cooking sardines, don’t add any other seasoning in it.


Sardines prove themselves safe and even beneficial for cats. Still, such canned fish should only serve as a treat, and not more than that.

Sardines, if given occasionally, incorporates a lot of health benefits. Going overboard with it will put your pet at risk.

As a general rule of thumb, feed sardines in moderation. Further, avoid sardines with ingredients that are harmful.


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Image credits – Photos by Juan Gomez and Dong Cheng on Unsplash

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