Can my cat eat this?
May 26, 2016 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Okay, so Dr. Cat gets a little Kitty Kaviar every day - basically shaved bonito.

I am almost out of Kitty Kaviar and it's kind of spendy anyway....can I feed her human-grade tasty Japanese bonito flakes? (Not this brand, especially...I have some at home but I don't remember what brand they are.)

No local place seems to stock Kitty Kaviar, I don't want to pay overnight shipping and there will be...ructions, let us say, if I try to persuade her that she doesn't really get treats at Treat Hour.

What say you?
posted by Frowner to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
IANAV, IANYV, of course. A long time ago a vet told me it was not good for house cats to eat raw fish as a steady diet. As I recall, it had something to do with impairing kidney function.

On the other hand, the kitty who was getting raw pollock or scrod every day lived to the age of 17, so who knows?

Not very helpful, now that I think of it. But there you go, one data point.
posted by qurlyjoe at 12:54 PM on May 26, 2016

Read the ingredients. If there are no vegetable ingredients (spices, wheat gluten etc.) and no added salt you should be okay. However if the product is full of salt and soy it will be a bad idea.

The product you showed says it makes a soup stock which means it is almost certainly waaaay too full of salt.

My cat likes rare steak. I fry it in unsalted butter or just grill it to ensure there are no cat-unfriendly additives. He insists that I have steak regularly...

Perhaps you could substitute some different people food for the preserved bonita flakes, like a fillet or two of fresh bonita, which you flake into Dr. Cat sized portions and then take out of your freezer and defrost at treat time?

If you get one of those big freezer bags that you could put a whole chicken into and then place each portion a n inch or two from the next nearest treat and freeze it while keeping it flat you won't have difficulties separating the individual portions.

Also: Where is the mandatory picture of Dr. Cat? Please. If not too much trouble.
posted by Jane the Brown at 12:55 PM on May 26, 2016

Further information: dried bonito by itself makes a stock called "dashi", which need not contain additives; also these flakes are really thin and light - almost any amount of fresh fish would contain more fish than these do. Think fish tissue paper, only thinner and lighter. I don't worry about them from a fish/kidneys standpoint because it's just so little fish.
posted by Frowner at 1:02 PM on May 26, 2016

My cats love bonito. I didn't know they had "cat" flakes. I get mine from the international market.
posted by Marinara at 1:14 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I know exactly what you are talking about and I brought some back from Japan. Our cat, who normally eats fruit when she can get it off our plates, but otherwise dry food and who has no concept of Treat Hour, was VERY INTERESTED in the bag of flakes, so much so that she got it out of the cupboard and tore it open in the middle of the night. Not sure exactly how much she ate but it was whatever amount her unsupervised soul desired. I asked a vet the next day and she said as long as there were no additives or msg or bones that it should be fine (although I think the vet didn't really know what I was talking about and basically warned me against any bones that had been exposed to heat, which is not at all part of feathery bonito flakes). At any rate there were literally no behavior or other consequences that we could see, and we kept an eye on her closely.
posted by tractorfeed at 1:15 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

can I feed her human-grade tasty Japanese bonito flakes?

That's what I do with my cats. They love them. And yeah, they're priced like food for humans rather than like pet treats (which basically are luxury items). They probably are more strictly regulated for quality, though in this case I would expect the cheapest way to make cat treats is to just do take the people food (which is cheap because of quantity) and put a picture of a cat on it, so it'd be the same.
posted by aubilenon at 1:15 PM on May 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

The bonito flakes are perfectly fine and are called Kitty Crack for a reason! Buy them in a Japanese grocery store, cheapest price ever.
posted by Ferrari328 at 1:25 PM on May 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am planning on buying the human-food version once I run out of the cat-treat version I bought on a whim. I felt silly when a friend reminded me that there is a human-food version that is likely considerably less expensive than the cat-treat version.
posted by lazuli at 1:28 PM on May 26, 2016

If you feed your cat too much fatty fish (e.g. tuna) without sufficient antioxidants (i.e. vitamin E), she can develop inflammation of the fatty tissue (steatitis). That's probably what you heard about. As it is a type of malnutrition, it really only becomes a factor when you feed a cat tuna almost exclusively. It shouldn't be a factor with what you're giving yours, especially if her diet otherwise is nutritionally complete.
posted by kindall at 3:59 PM on May 26, 2016

The cats in Neko Atsume eat bonito flakes so it must be ok.
posted by matildaben at 7:38 AM on May 27, 2016 [4 favorites]

I feed my cat the version from the Asian store. Giant bag for $4 and lasts forever. He loves it. Gets a little every day or every other day. It truly is kitty crack.
posted by FlyByDay at 9:35 PM on May 27, 2016

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