Cats have long been associated with eating fish so it’s no surprise that owners think a salmon diet can’t cause a Maine Coon any harm. Cooked fish is fine, but there is a serious risk involved with feeding a Maine Coon uncooked fish, including salmon.
Whilst Maine Coons, are obligate carnivores and can eat raw meat, feeding them raw salmon can be dangerous. Raw salmon can contain parasites, particularly a fluke called “Nanophyetus Salmincola,” which can transmit a disease known as salmon poisoning. This disease can be serious and even fatal for any cat including Maine Coons.
Additionally, raw salmon can also contain harmful bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli, which pose health risks to both Maine Coons and humans. So for health and safety reasons, it’s safer to cook salmon thoroughly before feeding it to a Maine Coon cat.
Is it ever safe for Maine Coon cats to eat raw salmon?
The only raw salmon that’s safe for Maine Coons to eat is sushi grade. Sushi-grade salmon is caught quickly, bled upon capture, gutted soon after, and iced thoroughly.
Alternatively, raw salmon can be frozen at 0°F for 7 days or flash-frozen at -35°F for 15 hours to kill any parasites that might be present. Once defrosted, it is relatively safe to give this type of raw salmon to a Maine Coon.
However, freezing salmon does not kill bacteria so you should really cook it before giving it to your Maine Coon to err on the safe side. If a Maine Coon ever vomits after eating fish, it’s best to visit the vet to be safe.
Can Maine Coon cats eat salmon if it’s cooked?
Thoroughly cooking salmon makes it much safer for Maine Coons to eat. Salmon is considered a good protein source for cats due to its nutritional qualities.
Here are some reasons why salmon can be beneficial for cats when prepared and fed appropriately:
1. High-Quality Protein
Salmon is a high-quality source of animal-based protein, which is essential for all cats including Maine Coons. Protein supports muscle development, tissue repair, and overall body functions.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and so help to keep a Maine Coon’s skin, coat, and joints in top condition.
3. B Vitamins
Salmon contains B vitamins including B12, niacin, and B6, which are important for energy metabolism, immune function, and a Maine Coon’s overall well-being.
4. Other vitamins and Minerals
Salmon provides vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and selenium, which contribute to bone health, immune function, and antioxidant protection in Maine Coon cats.
Many cats find the smell and taste of cooked salmon appealing, making it an enticing option for finicky eaters.
How to serve salmon safely for Maine Coons
It is crucial to approach feeding salmon to Maine Coons with an element of caution.
1. Cook it completely
Raw salmon can contain parasites and bacteria harmful to Maine Coons so cooking it thoroughly eliminates these risks.
Ensure salmon is not just partially cooked as this can leave harmful bacteria and parasites alive, ready to cause problems when ingested by your Maine Coon. Make sure it is cooked right through.
It’s OK to let a cat eat the skin from cooked salmon but not the bones.
2. Remove all bones
Make sure you remove all bones from cooked salmon, as small bones are a serious choking hazard for Maine Coons.
They can also become embedded in their digestive system and cause numerous gastrointestinal issues.
3. Feed cooked salmon in moderation
Whilst salmon is nutritious, it should be fed to a Maine Coon as part of a balanced diet. Excessive feeding of any single protein source can lead to nutritional imbalances.
Remember that commercially prepared cat food is formulated to provide all the essential nutrients your Maine Coon needs.
If you’re considering adding salmon to your Maine Coon’s diet, ensure their nutritional requirements are being met.
The nutritional value of salmon for a Maine Coon
The best salmon available is wild salmon with its natural pink color from eating the correct diet in its natural habitat. The paler a piece of salmon is, the lower its Omega-3 content.
The following table shows the typical nutritional value of a 3.5-ounce piece of salmon:
|Salmon as consumed per 3.5 ounces
|Of which saturates
|Of which sugars
Is raw or cooked salmon better for cats?
Bearing in mind the dangers posed by parasites and bacteria that can lurk in raw salmon, cooked salmon is a far better option to feed to a Maine Coon.
Nutritionally speaking, properly cooked salmon provides a healthy source of protein and micronutrients when served as part of a varied, complete Maine Coon diet.
It’s better to feed a Maine Coon cooked salmon over raw to avoid inadvertently introducing harmful parasites and bacteria to its digestive system.
Cooked salmon should be offered as part of a varied balanced diet and not on a daily basis as a Maine Coon’s sole source of protein.
The cat food world can be a minefield, especially for novice owners. I’ve written an eye-opening article to explain common cat diet misconceptions which you can read here.
You can also take a much more in-depth look at the Maine Coon diet, what not to feed them, and how to make raw food here.