Despite what you might see on television shows, tuna is not the safest treat for your favorite feline. One vet explains why.

By Lauren Levine Corriher

When you're looking to indulge your cat with the occasional treat, that can of tuna in your pantry might be calling his name. After all, it's frequently portrayed as a feline favorite in movies and on television shows. But before you open the can, you may be wondering to yourself, "can cats eat tuna?" and sadly, the answer is that it's probably not a good idea. Here's why.

Cats Can Have Food Allergies

Just like humans, cats can have an unpleasant reaction to certain foods.

"Years back, a study was done looking at the stomachs of cats after feeding different foods. Beef and seafood were found to be most likely to cause an inflammatory response. Most nutritionists have held that it's best to feed cats a poultry-based diet based on that study," says Dr. Gary Kubala, a VMD at Littlestown Veterinary Hospital.

Though it's not a guarantee that tuna will cause your cat to have a reaction, Dr. Kubala explains, "Tuna might be tolerated, but it has a higher incidence of causing an inflammatory reaction in the stomach."

He notes that cats aren't any more predisposed to allergies than any other type of animal, but when it comes to dishing out beef and seafood treats, you should proceed with caution.

Know What To Look For

Whether it's tuna, beef, or another type of food, you should know the key signs of a food allergy in cats. Dr. Kubala points to a few to watch for, including:

  • Skin problems

  • Ear problems like itching, scabs, or sores

  • Sores around the mouth

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea

You should also note that, like humans, cats can suffer from environmental allergies. Your four-legged friend may be allergic to pollen, grass, mold, or fungi. The next time you're sneezing and cursing that day's pollen count, know that your cat may empathize.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Cat Might Have an Allergy Issue

If you're concerned that your cat may have allergies, whether to food or environmental triggers, it's time to consult with your veterinarian. Your provider can get to the root of the problem and determine the specific cause of your cat's reaction. If it's clear that your cat has food allergies, your vet can put together a diet plan to keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy.