This is one of the most perfect foods for a cat: it’s also a wonder food for picky eaters

Hangai Lilla

2024. June 23 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

The shelves are overflowing with different cat treats, and more and more of them are being labelled as health food. Even if this is the case, it is important to know that a reward bait is never a complete food, so it should only be given to the cat in moderation. The other problem is that although there are now different foods available for gourmet cattle, they are often very expensive or more difficult to obtain. We now offer a healthy and natural solution to both problems, as if they were designed just for cats.


Drum rolls: this special ingredient is tuna flakes, also known as bonito flakes, which are easily available in Asian shops and can be ordered online, and are made from dried tuna only. (There is now a version made specifically for cats.) In the following, we will discuss its benefits and also report on a test that tested this ingredient on the taste buds of cats.

It doesn’t take caviar to satisfy a picky cat

What is tuna flakes?

Tuna flakes or bonito flakes refers to dried fish flakes made from bonito. Although it is referred to as tuna flake, to be quite precise, it should be pointed out that
bonito is not tuna
. However, together with tuna, it belongs to the mackerel family. This species is also a predator fish and its flesh tastes very similar to tuna. However, its quality is slightly lower, so it is cheaper; but this does not detract from its value. Sometimes it is not only made from bonito, it may also contain other related species, but this does not make the product any less good. Not only does the fluff taste great – we’ll tell you how good it tastes in a minute – but it also has a texture that’s exciting for cats.

As well as being a lean meat and very nutritious for cats, tuna flakes have an umami flavour that masks a rich, juicy, meaty taste. It’s also something that obligate carnivorous cats are not just theoretically fond of,
Japanese food researcher Toda Yasuka has proven
who sprinkled bonito flakes on the food of the cats in his test and they loved it! Cats get all the nutrients they need from animal meat. It’s also their natural, ancestral food source, so if your kitten is sick or not so keen on their new food,
it’s very picky
, or you want to treat them to a healthier treat, it’s a good idea to choose one that has an umami flavour.

High protein, medium fat and low carbohydrate food is therefore ideal for cats. Bonito flakes embody all this, so they can be a safe and useful addition to your cat’s diet.

These are also included in the bonito flakes

Although we don’t recommend feeding it to your cat alone, it’s undeniably packed with useful nutrients. First
we would like to highlight taurine
, an essential amino acid. This can be produced by the human body, but not by cats. However, without it, the basic systems of our cats, including circulation, muscles and immune system, do not function properly. So they need to get this amino acid from their diet, and tuna flakes are rich in it. As well as beingrich in omega-3fatty acids, which are essential for protecting heart health, keeping hair and skin shiny and healthy, and preventing arthritis.

It is also rich in vitamin B12, which strengthens the immune system, brain, nerves and red blood cells. And vitamin B6 plays a central role in the processing of nutrients. Bonito meat also contains calcium and small amounts of vitamin D. The former plays a major role in skeletal function, while the latter helps to process calcium. Humans can metabolise vitamin D with sufficient sunlight, but cats need to obtain it from food sources. Bonito also contains selenium, which supports immune health, but is not exhaustive, and magnesium, which helps to build cells and secrete hormones in the right balance.

It also works great as a reward wall

How to feed tuna flakes to your cat

Catster, in a vet-approved article
the bonito flake is absolutely safe. Of course, as with everything, this can be overdone. That’s why we wrote that we don’t recommend you feed your pet only this. It’s also important to point out that if your cat is allergic to fish or you’re unsure about giving them flake because of a medical condition, make sure you check with your vet!

As mentioned earlier, flakes can also be given as a reward wall or as a filler for food puzzles. But it can also be a great way to add excitement to dry or wet foods, improving both texture and taste. Remember, however, that this is also an extra calorie, so don’t give it above the usual amount, but count it towards your cat’s daily calorie allowance.

Click here
to find out how many treats you can give a cat a day.

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