Can Cats Eat Fish Skin – Everything You Need To Know

Popular culture has always had a fascination with cats and their relationship with fish. So many stories exist, such as those of kitties catching little catfish out of streams. Then the long-established idea of a lazy cat lounging around with a can of tuna comes to mind. 

Let’s face it, cats and fish go together. But what about the skin from fish? Can cats eat fish skin? Read on to learn if fish skin is safe for cats. 

Table of Contents

Can Cats Eat Fish?

(Maine coon approaching fish

(Maine coon approaching fish)

The short answer is yes. Cats can eat fish. Fish is an awesome source of lean protein and healthy fats for cats. However, for the safety of your feline companion, using only human-grade fish is recommended. Not to mention, if you wouldn’t or couldn’t eat it, your cat shouldn’t either. Let’s examine the different parts of the fish you may be considering offering to your cat.

Fish Bones

Avoid fish bones. Even though cats will usually ignore them, these bones can easily break apart. They can get stuck in your cat’s throat or cause an intestinal blockage. Some opt to feed their cats small fish bones but doing so outweighs any potential benefits.

Fish Skin

Fish skin is an edible part of the fish that many cats love. As long as the skin is baked or grilled, it should not present any health risks to your cat. Some cats find the texture of fish skin irresistible and may even eat it before the fish itself. 

However, to keep your cat safe and healthy, pay attention to the type of fish skin you feed your cat. Fish skin can contain trace amounts of mercury and other toxins. So it is crucial to provide only human-grade, high-quality fish skin. 

Fish Heads

You can offer fish heads to your cat, but the same precautions apply. The fish head contains more giant bones than the rest of the fish. Steam or poach the meat and remove it from the bones to ensure no choking hazards or other risks. 

Fish Guts

Fish guts, or entrails, are the least safe part of a fish for cats to eat. These contain bacteria and other toxins that can make your cat sick. Additionally, these parts may have parasites which can be dangerous for cats. Unfortunately, that’s only the beginning. 

Fish guts also contain high amounts of phosphorus and magnesium, which can cause a dangerous imbalance in your cat’s diet

Can Cats Eat All Kinds of Fish Skin?

fish skin with scales

(fish skin with scales)

Now that we know that fish skin in moderation can be safe for cats let’s look at the types of fish that are safe to feed your cat.

Dried Fish Skin

Dried fish skin is a popular treat for cats, as it can satisfy their craving for crunchy snacks. However, be sure to buy only high-quality, human-grade dried fish skin. Cats should avoid dried fish skin containing preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, or other additives.

Skin With Scales

Cats can eat fish skin with scales! Scales provide cats with essential nutrients, including fatty acids and minerals, which help them stay healthy. Just make sure that they are cooked or grilled first to avoid any potential choking hazards.

Fish Skin Raw

Raw fish skin has high amounts of thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks down thiamine. Thiamine is Vitamin B1. A lack of Vitamin B1 can cause a severe deficiency that can impact their nervous systems. It can also cause issues with your pal’s digestive and neurological systems. So to keep your cat safe and healthy, it is important never to feed them raw fish skin.

How to Cook Fish for Cats?

at-eating fried fish

(cat-eating fried fish)

Let’s look at the best ways to cook fish for cats.


Baking is the best way to cook fish for cats. When you bake fish, you avoid adding oil or butter, which can be unhealthy for cats. Bake it on parchment paper or foil at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for five to seven minutes. You’ll know when it’s fully cooked when the fish flakes easily. Make sure to remove any bones and skin before serving.


Although frying is not the healthiest choice, it can still be a good way to cook fish for your cat. Frying works best with salmon or tuna because these fish have a higher fat content. You won’t have to add lots of oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Fry for two minutes per side on medium heat until the fish is golden brown and fully cooked. 


Steaming fish is another excellent way to cook it for cats. Place the fish in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam until cooked, about five minutes. Then, use a fork to flake it into small bites. For many cats, steamed fish is less tasty than baked or fried fish. Experiment with all forms of cooking to see which works best.

So, Can Cats Eat Fish?

dried fish

(dried fish)

Cats can safely eat fish! Fish is a superb protein and essential fatty acid source. Just make sure that you follow all the safety precautions we mentioned above. Avoid giving your cat raw, undercooked, or even overly cooked fish. Make sure to remove the bones before serving. If you follow these rules, your cat should be able to enjoy tasty fish treats every once in a while!