Last Updated: 4 months ago

Some cat owners include fish in their felines’ diet, but with so many different kinds, you might be wondering, ‘can cats eat anchovies?’ 

These fish are rich in several nutrients, and they’re small, so they must be good for your cat, right?

We’ll provide a detailed answer to this question in the post below. 

Can Cats Eat Anchovies? Are Anchovies Safe for Cats?

Can Cats Eat Anchovies? 7 Reasons Why They Should

The short answer to this is yes; it’s perfectly fine to feed anchovies to your cat.

They’re an excellent source of protein and other nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12.

It’s completely safe to feed your cat anchovies. They contain an array of nutrients, making them an excellent addition to your furball’s diet.

Yes, it’s completely safe to feed your cat anchovies. They contain an array of nutrients, making them an excellent addition to your furball’s diet. 

That said, we highly recommend feeding your cat anchovies that are already cooked. Raw anchovies contain an enzyme that causes the breakdown of vitamin B1. 

So if you feed your cat raw anchovies too frequently, you increase your pet’s risk of suffering from vitamin B1 deficiency.

There’s also the fact that raw anchovies may contain bacteria, which can cause food poisoning.

7 Reasons to Feed Your Cat Anchovies

anchovies on a plate

1. Rich in Vitamin D

If you’re looking to increase the content of vitamin D in your cat’s diet, incorporating anchovies is a brilliant idea. 

Unlike humans, cats don’t have the capability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight.

It means that they rely solely on dietary components to meet their vitamin D requirements. Keep in mind that vitamin D plays a crucial role in their bodies.

It helps indirectly with bone growth and development by regulating their calcium levels. This nutrient is particularly beneficial to cats that fall ill.

A recent study carried out by the University of Edinburgh reveals that sick cats with higher levels of vitamin D have a better chance of surviving compared to those with low levels. 

2. High Content of Vitamin B-12

Scientifically known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is another essential nutrient for your kitty.

Thankfully, anchovies are loaded with this element, so all you need to do is incorporate it into her diet.

Like other vitamins in the B category, B12 is water-soluble. Cats lack the ability to make this vitamin themselves, so the only way they can get it is through their diet.

Ensuring that your kitty gets adequate amounts of this nutrient is vital because it helps to ward off diseases such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Hyperthyroidism

3. Chock-full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Another reason why you should consider feeding anchovies to your cat is the fact that they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

And it’s not just any fatty acids, either. They contain a decent amount of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is what is recommended for cats.  

Ideally, your cat should be getting 25 to 30 mg/kg of EPA and 40 mg/kg of DHA on a daily basis.

It means that for a 10-pound cat, she should be getting about 160 mg of DHA every day.

Feeding your feline friend a couple of anchovies will certainly meet these dietary requirements.

4. Minimal toxicity

One of the reasons why cat owners shy away from feeding anchovies to their pets is because they’re worried about the content of mercury. 

Feeding your cat too much fish can lead to mercury poisoning.

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from this condition, check her for signs such as dizziness and a loss of balance and coordination. 

The good thing about small fish like anchovies is that they contain way lower mercury levels.

Therefore, they contain fewer toxins while still providing your cat with the majority of nutritional benefits she’d get from consuming larger fish. 

5. An Affordable Snack

Cat treats can get pretty expensive over time. Luckily, anchovies are very cheap, making them an excellent snack choice for cat owners on a diet.

Besides, you can always use them if you don’t feed your feline the entire portion that you purchase.

6. Easy to Portion Out

If you have multiple cats, you will love the ease of portioning that these snacks provide. With anchovies, you can choose to give each cat just one or two anchovies.

This also makes it easy to keep track of the number of treats you’re giving your feline buddy, so you don’t end up overfeeding her.

7. An Excellent Alternative to Unhealthy Treats

If your cat is fond of treats such as homemade salmon treat, then it’s crucial that you look for ones that are healthy.

Anchovies are the perfect case in point. As we saw earlier, they contain loads of healthy nutrients like vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

How to Cook Anchovies For Cats

preparing anchovies

Although some cats love the taste of raw fish, it’s not advisable to feed them anchovies in this form. The best thing to do is to filet, cook, and then serve. 


The ease of preparing these fish is one of the reasons why they’re a favorite among cat owners. Anchovies have very tiny bones, which are easy to remove.

To extract the flesh, simply pinch it at the intersection of the filet and tail, then gently pry it from the tail and spine underneath.

As soon as you have a good grasp, lift the filet from the bone cage, being careful not to break it.


And now to the fun part! Cooking anchovies for cats is pretty easy. It’s like cooking any other meal for your fur buddy.

The only exception this time is that you’ll skip the butter, salt, and seasoning.

Start by adding a small amount of oil to a pan. We recommend using extra virgin oil or olive oil.

It’s also important that you use a tiny amount of it, as its purpose is only to prevent the fish from sticking to the cookware. 

Next, add in the anchovies and cook them thoroughly. Once cooked, remove them from the pan and allow them to cool before feeding your cat.



Unfortunately, no research has been done to determine the limit of anchovies you can feed a cat. In our opinion, the maximum number of anchovies a cat can eat simultaneously will vary depending on factors such as age and appetite levels. 


Yes, they are. The good news is that most of the fat present in this food is healthy (omega-3 fatty acids). Your cat needs these to not only prevent inflammatory disease but also to improve joint health.


No, they are not. Canned anchovies aren’t the best choice for feeding your pet for two reasons. One, they come packed in oil, and two, they contain too much salt.


Yes, you can feed your cats dried anchovies as opposed to fresh ones. The process of drying these fish does not alter their structural integrity, so you don’t need to be worried about your cat’s health and safety.

Wrap Up

In case you’re wondering whether cats can eat anchovies, the answer to this is a resounding yes.

That said, it’s good practice to cook these fish prior to feeding them to your pet.

Raw anchovies aren’t healthy because they contain an enzyme that breaks down vitamin B1.

It means that over time, this can lead to a deficiency of this nutrient. That said, cooked anchovies make a superb addition to your cat’s diet.

They contain several essential nutrients, such as vitamin D, B-12, and omega fatty acids, all of which play important functions in your cat’s body.

Are your cats eating anchovies? Share with us your experience below!


Barry Stingmore
Barry Stingmore

Barry Stingmore is a British content creator living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats. Barry works with the island’s animal charities to help manage and care for feral and abandoned animals. Alongside fieldwork, he works to support the charities with fundraising and raising awareness.