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C2005-26

Dear Christopher Cat

I have a problem of my own doing. I work in a seafood market, and I have been bringing shrimp home for my kitten every week.

She is now 10 months old, and she bats at me if I don’t give her shrimp. She won’t eat anything but shrimp and fish-based cat food, which I’m sure isn’t good for her.

Should I try tough love and refuse to give her shrimp?

Christopher Responds

Thanks for the tip. When I want a treat, I usually glare and meow at Mom, but in the future, I’ll try batting at her.

With regard to your shrimp-addicted cat, you are right to be concerned.

Some seafoods, particularly shallow-water fish, are contaminated with mercury and PCBs, so it’s best to limit the quantity your cat eats.

Broaden her diet by offering an assortment of high quality cat foods from a variety of protein sources to supplement the fish-based food she has been eating.

Encourage her to eat dry food, which will keep her teeth cleaner than canned food.

If she refuses non-fish food, ask the manufacturer of your fish-based cat food whether they test for heavy metals and pesticides.

If they don’t, switch to a manufacturer that does, like Hill’s Pet Nutrition. They make Science Diet from ingredients free of these contaminants.

Then you can relax, knowing you are feeding a balanced diet of safe fish-based food.

You raise another issue: the danger of feeding a single food, like shrimp. This practice unbalances a balanced diet, so give shrimp only as treats.

Your cat will be angry at me for saying this, but you’ll have to use tough love to make sure these shrimp treats constitute less than five percent of her diet.

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