Can cats eat goldfish?
Popular cartoons have always portrayed a cat as a curious, unhinged feline who enjoys kicking around inside a bowl of goldfish in an attempt to get a quick fish dinner. Realistically, your cat is probably like the animated cat when it comes to curiosity. If you see that your cat is attentive to the goldfish (or any other pet fish), those little swimming things in that big glass tank are simply attracting your cat’s attention. Their constant swimming in circles and glowing bodies immediately turn a fish into an irresistible toy for your cat. But make no mistake, some cats do will be eating fish. It starts with interest, then entertainment, but you may end up with the fish as a snack!
It’s all instinctual Cats have instinctual drives, like hunting for survival, for example, that have morphed and molded over years of captivity and domestication. Now these instincts have evolved into what the cat believes to be “play.” However, this refined “cat play” can not only kill goldfish, but can also become a danger to other small animals in the house, such as hamsters and mice.
The curiosity of cats Cats are curious by nature and love to kick fish, mice and other rodents, some may even decide to kill and eat them or bring them as a “treat”. I know my cat Mitz had a complete fascination with catfish. He would paw and claw at the catfish for quite some time until it “stung” him. (A catfish has a spinal fin that can inflict a fair amount of pain if you’re not careful when handling it, ouch!). The mice got another quite different reaction from Mitz. He would actually ignore the mice! He was completely disinterested in the mice. Sometimes, on rare occasions, Mitz would watch a mouse run across the floor, but he would not chase. Although he was my friend and I loved him dearly, but did you ever hear of a cat not chasing a mouse?
Precautions to take The best precaution to take if your cat shows excessive interest in your goldfish is to get some type of cover for your tank. If it is the fish pond where your cat seeks entertainment with a fishy floor, there are many different animal repellents that you can spray around your fish pond. (Most pet stores carry “Cat Deterrent Crystals” to sprinkle around your pond). As an alternative to chemicals, you can also cover your pond with some type of netting, also found in pet stores or online.
Keep in mind that a cat kicking your fish tank or your small pet’s cage can cause undue stress to these pets. These stresses can even cause a change in the color of your fish. An ongoing stressful situation can deteriorate a small pet’s health, so be sure to keep all your pets happy (they depend on you!) AND keep all fish tanks and small cages protected and, if possible, out of your cat’s reach.