Last Updated: 7 months ago

Cats can be quite finicky when it comes to food. As a result, they may only eat certain types of food.

You may have to experiment with a few different cat food brands until you find one that your fantastic feline friend appreciates.

Most cats will happily devour fish, especially tuna. So whether you give your cat some fresh or canned tuna, this can be a sensational snack.

However, you may be wondering whether the tuna water found in canned tuna is suitable for your cat. The truth is that this tuna water is suitable for your cat in the majority of cases.

On the other hand, it is worth checking the ingredients before you provide your cat with tuna water. Let’s find out why!

Can Cats Drink Tuna Water?

Canned Tuna Open

In most circumstances, tuna water is suitable for your cat as an occasional snack.

However, tuna should not become a significant element of your feline’s diet.

Tuna water can be a wonderful way to get a cat to consume an increased amount of water. This is because cats need to consume plenty of moisture.

Though cats can get this moisture through wet food, it may not be enough for many felines.

Unfortunately, many cats don’t enjoy drinking liquids. This is due to the biological programming of cats.

Cats often refuse to drink water that is found near toileting locations.

Furthermore, cats originate from deserts, where they would have had limited access to water.

So if you are concerned about your cat not receiving enough moisture from their food, you may want to offer your cat some tuna water from time to time.

Things To Consider When Giving Your Cat Tuna Water

Before giving your cat this tuna water, you must check the label.

This is because canned tuna brands can vary significantly, thus altering how healthy this ingredient is for your cat.

You should find common additions, such as different types of oil.

Here are some of the things that you should look out for:

Levels Of Mercury

The main reason why tuna water may not be appropriate for your cat is that it contains substantial traces of mercury.

Tuna naturally absorbs mercury from the sea. If your cat consumes too much mercury, this could result in mercury poisoning.

It is difficult to tell whether a cat has suffered from mercury poisoning because these symptoms are often similar to those of other illnesses, such as a vitamin B1 deficiency.

These symptoms include loss of balance, poor concentration, seizures, and your cat struggling to walk.

If you suspect that your cat has mercury poisoning, you should contact a vet immediately. Luckily, cases of mercury poisoning in both cats and humans are quite low.

Treating this condition can be difficult for vets, so the best method is to simply avoid giving your cat immoderate supplies of mercury.

Therefore, it is important to give your cat tuna water in moderation. You should reserve it as a treat that you occasionally provide for your fabulous feline.

It is not advised that you give your cat mercury on a daily basis due to these symptoms.

Levels Of Sodium

High levels of sodium in a person’s diet are never positive.

This is because excessive sodium levels can increase a person’s blood pressure. This can lead to health problems, such as heart disease.

Sodium will not cause the same problems for cats, though it is also best to refrain from giving your cat too much sodium.

While a little bit of salt is fine for cats, excessive amounts of it can be harmful to their health. For instance, high levels of salt consumption can dehydrate your cat.

So if a can of tuna contains loads of salt and sodium, it may be best to not give it to your cat.

What Are The Benefits Of Tuna?

Cat Eating On A Bowl

Tuna is a superb snack for cats. This is because most cats adore the taste of tuna and other types of fish.

Therefore, even fussy cats are likely to enjoy eating tuna. They love its delicious taste and pungent smell.

Not to mention, tuna is a fantastic food for cats thanks to its high nutritional value. It contains the following nutrients:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Tuna is a sensational source of omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Namely, tuna contains the acids eicosapentaenoic Acid (Epa) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

These acids have anti-inflammatory properties, and they can give your cat a shiny coat.


Plus, tuna is high in protein.

Since the majority of a cat’s diet is made up of protein, this will be advantageous for your cat.

Protein will ensure that a cat has a full appetite. So your cat won’t need loads of snacks or treats after having a plate of tuna. It can also contribute to muscle mass.

Protein is also needed for cats to grow a coat of fur, so large amounts of protein should limit shedding and ensure that your cat’s coat is healthy.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is commonly found in animal foods. It is an essential vitamin for your cat, so you should ensure that your cat is getting enough Vitamin B12.

It can benefit your cat’s immune system, thus stopping your cats from developing illnesses and stopping invaders, such as bacteria, from harming your cat.

Vitamin B12 also contributes to the production of DNA. Moreover, the vitamin can also be useful for a cat’s digestive tract. Not to mention, it can support the nervous system.

Vitamin D

Tuna contains decent amounts of vitamin D. This vitamin will help a cat absorb calcium.

This calcium is amazing for cats, as it ensures that their bones and teeth remain healthy.

Additionally, vitamin D can support a cat’s immune system and nervous system. Essentially, it ensures that vital functions within the body of your cat are running smoothly.

However, like mercury, you should refrain from having too much vitamin D. This is because your cat can suffer from vitamin D poisoning.

This occurs when a cat absorbs more vitamin D than its body can manage. If your cat has vitamin D poisoning, it will experience symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.

Plus, you may notice that it is drinking lots more water than usual. If you believe that a cat has vitamin D poisoning, you should take it to an emergency vet.

The treatment will depend on the amount of vitamin D that your cat has consumed. The good news is that this poisoning is unlikely to come from tuna, since a cat would have to eat tons of tuna for this to happen.

Instead, it is more likely to be caused by the consumption of rat poison or a vitamin D supplement.

Can Ill Cats Drink Tuna Water?

If your cat is feeling sick, tuna water should be fine for them.

Of course, this will depend on the illness, so you may want to consult with a vet before giving tuna water to a cat.

For instance, if your cat has mercury poisoning, you must refrain from giving it tuna water, as this will only increase its mercury consumption.

You will also need to avoid offering your cat tuna water if it has been diagnosed with kidney disease.

One reason to give your cat tuna water is that it may hide unpleasant tastes in their mouths. So if your cat has been nauseous, tuna water can help disguise a sick taste.

Plus, giving your cat enjoyable treats, such as tuna water, can make him happy. Boosting your cat’s mood when it is ill is a brilliant thing to do as a pet owner.

Can Kittens Drink Tuna Water?

Yes, like adult cats, kittens can drink tuna water occasionally.

Kittens will also appreciate this tasty treat, especially if they are not yet eating solid foods.

There are some caveats to this, however. Kittens are delicate creatures when they are young.

So making changes to a cat’s diet, such as offering them tuna water, can upset a young kitten.

Therefore, you may want to ask your vet whether your kitten is ready for this treat before you start giving it to your pet.

Just remember that cats tend to have smaller portions of food and drink than fully grown cats.

So you should not give a kitten the same amount of tuna water as you would an adult cat.

Can Cats Have Frozen Tuna Water?

When the weather is warm, cats can easily overheat. This is especially true of cats with thick coats of fur.

It can be difficult to keep your cat cool, especially if you don’t have an air conditioner.

One way to stop your cat from becoming too warm is to freeze tuna water to create tuna cubes.

After all, cats are unlikely to appreciate standard frozen water. Yet, most cats will adore frozen tuna water.

All you have to do is pour the contents of a can of tuna into a mixing bowl. Then, add a can’s worth of water to the bowl and mix the contents together.

Then, pour this mixture into an ice cube tray. Place them in the freezer for a while, preferably at least 24 hours.

After this time, the tuna water will have become completely frozen. Remove an ice cube from the tray whenever you wish to give it to your cat.

There should be chunks of tuna amidst the ice cubes that your cat can nibble on. Simply put one of these tuna water cubes on a plate and let your cat lick this unique treat.

Your beloved cat should adore this scrumptious treat. Plus, it should keep them cool even in the warm weather of the summer.

This is a super unique method of using tuna water. If you have some canned tuna in your home it may be worth giving it a go!

Can You Add Tuna Water To Food?

Yes, this is an excellent idea! By mixing tuna water into your cat’s food, whether wet or dry, you can increase the flavor.

Most cats will love this new addition. So if your cat has become bored of the same old food, simply mixing in a little tuna water can encourage your cat to eat it.

You can often tell if a cat has grown tired of its current food because it will lick it instead of eating it.

It is best to add only a few drops at a time and to use this as an infrequent method of adding diversity to your cat’s food.

How Often Can Cats Have Tuna Water?

There is no set routine for giving your cat tuna water.

As mentioned, tuna water should not be given to cats daily due to its potentially negative effects.

Not to mention, the majority of a cat’s diet should consist of high-quality cat food. Instead, tuna water should be an intermittent treat.

For instance, you may wish to give it to your cat once a week or once every two weeks.

What Can Cats Drink Instead Of Water?

Most cats are not big fans of drinking water.

To ensure that your cat is receiving enough moisture, here are some of the alternative liquids that you can offer:

  • Bone broth
  • Mother’s milk (this is only suitable for kittens)
  • Cat milk
  • Goat milk
  • Kitten formula (this too is only appropriate for kittens)
  • Small amounts of apple juice

You may need to test a few of these different beverages to see which your feline prefers.

Final Thoughts

When you open a tin of tuna for your cat, it can be tempting to give your cat the tuna water that is found inside.

Yet, it is important to remember to check the label on the can of tuna first.

Though tuna water is suitable for cats in small doses, it can become dangerous due to the high quantities of sodium and mercury.

So remember to use tuna water as an occasional treat for your feline friend.


Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS is a locum veterinary surgeon who has worked in London for the past 8 years. She graduated top of her class in small animal medicine from UCD, Dublin. She is currently a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Linda is the resident vet for Woman magazine and a frequent contributor to People’s Friend Magazine, the Dogzone website, Vet Help Direct and Wag! Linda also writes content for the CVS veterinary group, Vetwriter and a number of other establishments.