Could Fish-Flavored Food Be Harming Your Cat’s Health?

January 11, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

Photo credit: pikabum/Pixabay

Hyperthyroidism is on the rise.

If you are anything like me, you want nothing but the best for your cats.  They are part of the family and we want them to live long, happy and healthy lives.  

Over the past three decades, the number of cats diagnosed with hyperthyroidism has increased.  Previous studies had linked this disorder to the exposure to flame retardants not only in cat food, but also on furniture.  However, a recent study suggests that a new culprit may be fish-flavored cat food.

Hyperthyroidism is a hormonal disorder than can cause weight loss, hyperactivity, aggression, vomiting, and other symptoms in cats.  Although no one knows for sure what causes it, some studies suggest a connection between environmental pollutants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which have been banned in several countries because they are harmful to humans.

SEE ALSO: Bacon and Hot Dogs Could Cause Cancer, WHO Warns

These toxic compounds and their byproducts were found in the blood samples of cats, and it turns out that these substances could also come naturally from other sources such as fish — one of the most common ingredients in cat food.

Hazuki Mizukawa, Kei Nomiyama and their colleagues from the American Chemical Society wanted to find out if cats are being exposed to these toxic compounds via their fish-flavored food or whether it is environmental.  

The researchers tested both cat food and cat blood samples, and they also simulated how a cat’s body would process these PCB- and PBDE-related compounds.  The results of their study showed that the byproducts detected at high levels in cats’ blood samples more than likely came from their fish-flavored food and not from direct exposure to PCBs or PBDEs.

The researchers are now looking into whether these byproducts are specifically responsible for hyperthyroidism, and how.

Just to be safe, I will no longer be feeding my cat any fish-flavored food.  It is a good thing I know he likes chicken!

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