Can Cats Eat Anchovies? A Veterinarian’s Guide to Anchovies for Cats

by Tips Cat
Can Cats Eat Anchovies? A Veterinarian’s Guide to Anchovies for Cats

Anchovies are a popular pizza topping, but can these small, oily fish be part of a healthy feline diet? Can Cats Eat Anchovies? Many cat owners are curious if anchovies are safe and beneficial for cats to eat. As a veterinarian, I’m often asked if people foods like anchovies should be shared with curious kitties. This article will cover everything cat owners need to know about anchovies for cats.

Anchovies are small, common forage fish that travel in large schools. Can Cats Eat Anchovies? They have a very strong, fishy taste and aroma. Anchovies are high in protein, omega-3s, calcium, and other nutrients that provide benefits to humans. But are anchovies an appropriate addition to a cat’s diet as well? Let’s find out.


Anchovies are small fish that grow up to 6 inches long and live in schools. They are a common pizza topping thanks to their strong umami flavor. Anchovies offer healthy fats, protein, calcium, and other nutrients to people. But can cats also benefit from these high-flavor fish? Or are anchovies risky for feline diets?

Can Cats Eat Anchovies?

Can Cats Eat Anchovies? In moderation, yes, cats can safely eat cooked, cleaned anchovy fillets. Anchovies provide healthy animal protein and nutrients. However, the strong fish flavor may deter some cats. And fish cannot replace the complete nutrition cats require from high-protein, low-carb cat foods. Anchovies should only supplement a cat’s diet occasionally.

Are Anchovies Safe for Cats?

The intense aroma of anchovies entices some cats to beg for a taste. Small pieces of cooked anchovy are generally safe for healthy cats. However, there are some precautions to take:

  • Remove all bones, as they are a choking hazard.
  • Cook thoroughly to reduce bacteria risk.
  • Introduce new foods slowly to check for allergies.

Can Cats Eat Anchovies? Overall, the occasional scrap of cooked, boneless, cleaned anchovy is unlikely to harm cats. But they do require diligent preparation and limitation.

Are Anchovies Poisonous to Cats?

When safely prepared, small amounts of anchovy are not poisonous to cats. However, there are some risks to monitor when feeding fish:

  • Raw anchovies may contain harmful bacteria. Always cook thoroughly.
  • Imported anchovies could harbor mercury or other toxins. Buy domestic.
  • Rancid fats in spoiled fish can cause poisoning. Feed fresh anchovies.

In moderation, Can Cats Eat Anchovies? Properly cooked and stored anchovies are very low risk to cats. But consult a vet if any symptoms occur after feeding.

Benefits of Anchovies for Cats

Some benefits anchovies can provide cats include:

  • High-quality protein to support muscles, organs, and coat.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for skin health and anti-inflammation.
  • Calcium and phosphorus help strengthen bones and teeth.
  • Added variety and enrichment to a cat’s diet.

Can Cats Eat Anchovies? However, a primarily meat-based cat food still offers far more balanced daily nutrition versus occasional anchovy treats.

How Much Anchovy Can Cats Eat?

I recommend limiting anchovy intake to around 1-2 small fillets once or twice a month. Any more may lead to nutritional imbalance or mercury exposure over time. For a 10 lb cat, a half-teaspoon of mashed anchovy is sufficient.

Can Cats Eat Anchovies? Check with your veterinarian about the right anchovy amount and frequency for your individual cat based on health status, age, and other factors.

How to Feed Anchovies to Cats

Follow these tips for safe anchovy feeding:

  • Select very fresh or frozen anchovy fillets. Canned anchovies are very salty.
  • Cook thoroughly until flaky.
  • Cool and carefully remove all tiny bones.
  • Mash some of the fish into bite-sized pieces.
  • Mix a small portion into your cat’s meals.
  • Refrigerate or discard any uneaten anchovies promptly.

Can Cats Eat Anchovies? Stop feeding if your cat dislikes or refuses anchovies after several attempts. Forcing foods can stress cats.

Alternatives and Supplements

Instead of anchovies, healthier cat treat options include:

  • Cooked chicken, beef, turkey
  • Dried shrimp or seafood treats
  • Bone broths and meat purees
  • Veterinary-approved cat foods

Reputable cat food brands that offer balanced daily nutrition include:

  • Purina Pro Plan
  • Hill’s Science Diet
  • Iams
  • Royal Canin
  • Instinct

Can Cats Eat Anchovies? Consult your vet for the best cat foods for your feline’s life stage and health status.

In conclusion, it’s safest to limit anchovy treats for cats to no more than once or twice monthly as a protein supplement. Focus everyday cat diets on vet-recommended high protein, low carb cat foods. Check with your veterinarian about any dietary changes or questions for your individual cat.

Can cats have anchovies?

Occasionally, cats can eat small amounts of cooked, cleaned, boneless anchovy fillets.

Can kittens eat anchovies?

No, kittens should avoid anchovies and restricted to kitten food diets.

Can Maine Coon cats eat anchovies?

Maine Coons can occasionally have tiny servings of prepared anchovy treats.

Can Persian cats eat anchovies?

Persians can eat a portion of cooked anchovy monthly but require primarily cat food diets.

Can Sphynx cats eat anchovies?

Consult a vet first, as Sphynxes are prone to skin/food allergies.

Can Bengal cats eat anchovies?

Bengals can eat a little cooked anchovy once or twice a month, but fish is not a complete diet.

Can Siamese cats eat anchovies?

Siamese cats should only consume a small bite of cooked, boneless anchovy on rare occasion.

Can Ragdoll cats eat anchovies?

Ragdolls can have a half-teaspoon of mashed, cooked anchovy max once monthly.

Can British Shorthair cats eat anchovies?

British Shorthairs can occasionally have tiny amounts of prepared anchovy.

Can Abyssinian cats eat anchovies?

Abyssinians can rarely eat a small piece of cooked anchovy as a supplemental treat.

Can Scottish Fold cats eat anchovies?

Scottish Folds can have a nibble of cooked anchovy no more than once a month.

Can Siberian cats eat anchovies?

Siberians can occasionally eat tiny bites of cooked, deboned, prepped anchovy.

What happens if cats overeat anchovies?

Anchovy overfeeding can cause nutritional deficiency, pancreatitis, and mercury poisoning.

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