Cats love fish

Where did this come from? Obviously, fish are tasty. But before humans came along, I can’t imagine kitties fishing for mackerel.

ETA: I posted this and then got up to rinse out the tin that contained the smoked sardines I’d just eaten. The treasurer came in to distribute paychecks, saw the tin, and said, ‘I was just about to say that it smells like someone’s eating cat food in here.’ :stuck_out_tongue:

They catch small fish in the wild. Not tuna certainly, but minnows. And of course washed up dead salmon would be fair game.

I could have sworn Cecil answered this, but I’m not having any luck with an archive search.

There’s a kitty-cat-looking animal at the zoo called a fisher cat; he’s only a little bigger than a housecat. My cats definitely know the things in my tanks are food food food food - it has to be instinctual.

Of course, what cats REALLY like is a fish skeleton, complete and holding together including head, because that’s what trash is made of. When that cat makes a lot of noise on your back fence, you throw a handy boot at it. (You probably caught the boot fishing for the fish the skeleton came from, so it’s very economical.)

Of course they are: They move. Everything that moves is a source of food, one way or another.

A while back, someone here was giving a talk about a particular sort of solar feature that moves through coronal loops, and one of the professors suggested employing his pet cat to do the data analysis.

What I don’t understand is why there’s beef flavored cat food. Has anyone ever seen a domestic cat take down a cow?

My cat, Jack, is convinced he can take down a deer. I’ve seen him try to do it, and I don’t have the heart to try and stop him. :eek:

It’s not true that all cats hate water. I have one that regularly goes out and gets wet. If he went feral and got hungry, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised to see him fishing in the creek or beaver pond out back.

If my cats are any indication, it doesn’t matter what kind of meat it is as long as it’s meat. I think they’d be perfectly happy devouring anything from shrew to elephant.

I’ve seen bobcats chasing deer in the wild, so it’s not completely farfetched. I’ll bet an adequately hungry and in-shape housecat could kill a fawn.

Asian Leopard cats, who are very closely related to domestic cats (and from whom the Bengal cat breed comes) hunt and kill a small local species of Indian deer, that is about the size of a faun.

Danish European wildcats routinely take down roe deer, a small herbivore in the 50 lbs. range. The European wildcats I’ve seen in zoos looked tiny compared to my late 16 lbs. tom.

AFAIK, the “scooping” motion all housecats do while engaging in play or trying to get something out of somewhere is literally a fishing move (or maybe a burrowing animal move :confused: )

That’s pretty amazing, because a faun is about the size of a human (half goat half human). They’re probably easier to take down because they’re drunk all the time.

Bizarre Russians with pet fisher cat (slightly NSFW)

Our neighbour’s cats regularly stick their paws into our pond trying to get at the fish. They definitely use the “scooping” motion to try to lift the fish out.

Brilliantly described by Mangetout:

One of my parents’ cats (a Bengal, in fact), has successfully gone fishing on at least two or three occasions. The most notorious time, my mother was working in the back yard when she heard the cat coming towards her meowing away, and thought that it sounded odd. When he got closer, she noticed something orange in his mouth, and just had time to wonder what on earth he had caught when he deposited a koi at her feet!

Probably not ancestrally, no. At least it likely wasn’t a major part of the diet. Domestic cats fed on largely raw fish diets have a tendencely to thiamine deficiency because of thiamine destroying enzymes in said uncooked fish. Meanwhile an excess of fish-oil heavy fish ( raw or cooked ) like tuna apparently can cause steatitis. So too much fish is bad for your cat and as such I’d say it is pretty safe to assume that it was never a major portion of our ancestral cat’s diet ( which makes sense considering the genetic origins in the Near East ).

If you dig around on the web, you’ll find a number of sites like this that advise not feeding any fish or fish-flavored foods to your cat. Others are more moderate and say keep it down to maybe twice a week. Without necessarily fully accepting all the claims of the anti-fish crew ( I reserve judgement ) I personally don’t feed fish-based cat foods for two reasons:

1.) There is a far-as-I-know unproven link to fish and increased urolithiasis and as I’ve already had one expensive bout of struvite formation in one of my ( pretty young ) cats, I’d just as soon avoid a repeat. The reasoning seems to be based on the magnesium/phosphorus ratios in fish-based foods. While I’m unconvinced, it’s an easy enough thing to avoid.

2.) Anecdotally I think the same cat with the struvite issues may have an allergy - at least he vomited a lot on a couple of previous forays into wet fish-based foods. But then he is a bit vomity in general, so who knows. But again, easy enough to avoid.

Why they like it I’m guessing is down to the fatty oils and strong flavor. A little fish is probably fine and for an ancestral wild cat any catch was probably a good catch and they were never exposed to enough fish to develop problems. Of course some claim it is just habituation from modern fish-centric cat diets, but I don’t think I buy that.

I will say of my current two, Mr. Crystals-in-his-penis, aka Mr. Vomity, is utterly indifferent to enticements like cooked tuna. My other cat ( Mr. I’ll-try-anything ) adores tuna when offered it. My previous cat of 17 years had zero interest in fish as well. So, go figure.

I’ll just add that one site I came across argued that chicken-based diets seem to cause the fewest allergic responses AND the least kitty gas. Just a FYI that those with flatulent kitties might want to check into :p.

My cat used to “fish” for things in my bathtub (razor, soap, anything that would float) all the time, so I have no doubt he’d have tried to fish small scaled-and-finned prey out of a pond or stream.

Not surprising… If the cats which have lived with my mom (who enjoy supplementing their slave-given diets) are any indication, birds are the primary natural prey of cats. Then again, that could just mean that they’d managed to hunt out all of the rodents in the immediate vicinity.

Well, if you go by mine it’s cockroaches and flies that sustained the ancestral feline. Except when they vomit back up the pieces. Jigsaw puzzle, anyone?

Seriously, Edison stressed a beta to death by chasing it around and around and around its tank. He’d have gladly eaten it if he could. They’ve also mastered the “knock over the fish food and somehow unscrew the top” trick - you have NO IDEA what the fish food they don’t manage to eat smells like when you vacuum it.

I bought a whole bunch of tropical fish for a hobby to relax me.

Turned out to be a $350.00 snack for the cat


The narrowest street in Paris is a very old street called Chat-Qui-Pêche, which means “Cat That Fishes.” It’s on the Left Bank, near the Seine. Supposedly, whenever the river overflowed, the basements would flood, and the cats would go downstairs to catch fish.

I think fish give off a particularly noticeable odor that can attract a cat from a farther distance than other animal flesh, and that advertises itself somehow as especially easy to catch. An average mouse, which most cats can easily catch, still doesn’t have the volume of flesh that a fish has.