Tuna fish for cats?

carmen_grower_2007June 7, 2010

Mom is nursing four fat healthy little kits that are now 4 weeks old. She, however is skin and bones. I want to supplement her diet and wonder about tuna? Somewhere I heard it isn't good, but a little now and then? I am giving her shredded venison once in awhile and she likes that sometimes -- other times she doesn't touch it. She loved tuna before she had the kittens and I wonder how often I can give it to her now.

I love that the kittens are very healthy, but want her to be also.

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You mean regular human tuna? Wouldn't she be better off with a quality cat food which has other nutrients in it to make it a balanced diet? Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 3:53PM
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The best food for a nursing mother cat is a balanced commercial cat food.

At 4 weeks, the kittens should be starting to eat solid food. Start by dumping about 1/4 cup of boiling water over 1/4 cup of kibble and letting it sit for several minutes until the kibble expands and gets soft. Stir it lightly, check the temperature, and dish it out for them.

If they don't get the idea, mash a piece of kibble on their lips.

In a day or two they should be wolfing the softened kibble down twice a day. That takes a load off the mother cat's nutritional needs.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 4:02PM
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"Human" tuna has a lot of salt, but you can buy tuna cat food, although it's too rich in something, can't remember what, for a steady diet.

I never have heard of feeding a cat venison;
I wonder if it's too rich for her?

I'd try chicken & rice cooked just for her (no salt), & give her as much as she'll eat, a little bit at a time.

Kittens at 4 weeks aren't interested in anything but mother's milk, & it's by far the best thing for them.

They get immune protection from their mother's milk.

If momma can't produce enough milk, the kittens are likelier to be tempted by something like chicken than by dry kibble softened with water.

I wish you all the best.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 4:57PM
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What, besides venison, are you feeding her now? Perhaps that accounts for her weight.

Has she been wormed, ever?

Lactating cats are supposed to be fed kitten food. But all the food in the world, including tuna, which lacks nutrition, will not put fat on a bellyful of worms.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 7:55PM
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I've heard its bad because cats will start demanding tuna and not eating regular food. Tuna has high levels of mercury which is bad for humans (e.g. not supposed to eat it when pregnant), I can't imagine it's good for cats either.

Here is a link that might be useful: happied

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 10:05PM
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The mom has been getting Purina One dry cat food always. She eats constantly but I suggested the tuna because I want her to put on a pound or two. She will eat the shredded venison as a treat every few days but I wondered about tuna since I have heard bad things about it. I would only give it to her once at week - if that.

She looks real healthy (shiny coat) and the kittens are all fat and happy. So far, they aren't getting anything except mommy's milk and won't until they are able to escape from the chicken cage which will be very soon. Today, they are figuring out how to escape! Then, I will have to put a bit of food down for them. I also will have to figure out how to keep the dog away from the food and the big cats away from the kittens.

Amazing and fun!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 4:27PM
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There is a wet cat food that is higher in calories than others, available from the vet I recall. Maybe you would consider that? Or maybe a premium kitten food like Wellness.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 5:58PM
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You want to supplement her diet because she is skinny, and you were wondering about adding tuna. No. To supplement her diet for her to be nourished feed her kitten food.

You should also consider getting a fecal analyzed for worms, which might also account for her weight.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 8:27PM
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All the cats (and dog) are wormed regularly.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 12:44PM
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For what and with what is she wormed? Just curious. Because then she should be in good shape? With the right food and all.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 6:30PM
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Venison is a 'novel' protein for cats who are sensitive to poultry and other commonly used meats in cat foods. I get trim ends off venison roasts and venison hearts for my cats, they thrive on this as a generous supplement to their diets. It's pretty lean so a little extra fat is helpful to a nursing queen. Tuna is ill-advised as it's habit forming, it lacks nutrients that cats must have, and it's potentially quite contaminated by mercury and other heavy metals.

The best thing for a nursing queen is quantities of wet food. A commercial variety of cat food provides many added nutrients that aren't in plain meat. Remember that the naturally-present taurine breaks down in fresh meat so must be supplemented. My cats love chicken hearts, turkey hearts, and sliced venison hearts, all served raw. They are still fed good quality tinned food to ensure that other nutrient needs are met.

You might want to try a higher fat variety like Wellness or Evo. The nursing queen needs substantially more energy and hydration in her diet than would a non-pregnant or nursing adult cat. The higher energy wet foods take care of both needs. And these are great first foods for kittens, who also have higher energy needs than adults.

When you rest your hands to either side of her ribcage, and gently stroke back, you should just be able to feel ribs to pelvis. They won't be visible, there's a thin fat pad between skin and bones. If she's got visible bones she's definitely too skinny. Queens do tend to look thin and drawn out with young litters. Good feeding should correct this.

Kittens begin to self-wean at about 5 weeks. They'll start exploring cat food but will still nurse. Don't be in a hurry to wean the babies, let them and the queen work it out. Most kittens quit nursing altogether at 8-9 weeks, some a little later. Unless you have a kit still latching on at four months it's not a problem.

Are you able to post a picture of mama and babies? It would be a pleasure to see them.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 1:38PM
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She loves the venison, but it is cooked. She won't eat chicken giblets at all (neither will my other cats.) She was a small cat before she got pg (at around 18 mos.) and now the four kittens together weigh more than she does so she is putting lots of energy in making food for them. I don't know how to post a picture but will try.

They are terminally cute!!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 4:00PM
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I tried to feed mine chicken giblets-prepackaged at the market. They turned out to not have any hearts in them, were all gizzards and NONE of the cats, including the ferals, will stoop to eat gizzards! Maybe gizzards just aren't something to offer the cats. I thought it was just my own weird bunch. Would she eat chicken thighs (raw)? They're awfully good for the kitties-it's heart and dark meats (thighs) that contain the most substantial amounts of taurine.

I serve the venison heart raw, but cook the rest. The raw food proponents will hate me for it but I do pretty good feeding the raw hearts.

IF you have troubles posting pics just say so and I'll try to figure it out for you. I learned by using the test forum. I don't remember where I found the instructions.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 7:48PM
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Kittens at 4 weeks aren't interested in anything but mother's milk, & it's by far the best thing for them.

Every litter of Abys I had was voluntarily gnawing on kibble as soon as they could climb into the food dish, and eating soggy kibble soon afterward. The mothers didn't wean them until they were 3 or 4 months old.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 5:41PM
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I got some dry kitten food and the mommy as well as the kittens are all eating it now. Problem is that the big cats prefer it too. It sure must be more nutritious than the adult cat chow. Too bad it doesn't come in those big 50# quantities --- I would buy it for all of them.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 11:53AM
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