Can Cats Eat Mayonnaise With Tuna?

18 Min Read

If you’ve scrolled through your social media feeds lately, you’ve likely seen tuna salad popping up everywhere. This simple but delicious meal of mayonnaise, tuna, celery and more has been trending nonstop. And it’s not just humans who’ve taken notice – our furry friends have also been keeping a close eye on all those mouthwatering pictures and videos.

As anyone who’s lived with a cat knows, these curious creatures love to investigate whatever we’re eating. And my tuxedo tabby Scout is no exception. Just the other day as I was mixing up a batch of tuna salad, she came running at the sound of the mayonnaise lid popping open. Suddenly all 18 pounds of fluff was winding between my legs, meowing up a storm as she tried to sneak a sample.

Of course I couldn’t resist her baby blues and pleading mews for too long. But before giving in to a taste, the ever-responsible pet parent in me had some questions. Cats have very different dietary needs than humans, so is this popular people food actually safe and healthy for them? I scooped up a tiny bit on my finger for Scout to lick, hoping for the best.

That got me wondering – exactly what ingredients are in tuna salad? And more importantly, can cats eat mayonnaise with tuna and all the other yummy add-ins that have taken social media by storm? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each key component to find out if our feline friends can safely join in on this latest food trend.

Can Cats Eat Mayonnaise?

First up is the star ingredient – mayonnaise. This velvety condiment adds rich creaminess to tuna salad, but is it safe for cats? Although it smells delicious, mayonnaise’s components raise some concerns for feline friends.

We all know mayo is made of primarily oil, eggs and an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. But did you know some varieties also contain dairy products? Dairy is a no-go for most cats since they’re typically lactose intolerant, lacking the enzyme to digest the sugar in milk. Consuming even small amounts can upset their tummies and cause messy accidents around the house!

Then there’s the potential issue with raw eggs. While cooked eggs in moderation pose little risk, raw eggs can harbor salmonella bacteria which are dangerous if ingested. Salmonella could sicken our furry companions with symptoms like diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. Given how curious many cats are, there’s also a risk they might lick the mayonnaise off surfaces and manage to eat more than intended.

The oils and acidity in mayonnaise itself also raises a flag. Cats have sensitive digestive systems geared toward high-protein meaty meals, not plants or oils. Too much could lead to stomach upset like vomiting. Their bodies just aren’t equipped to break down these types of ingredients.

Of course, the occasional tiny taste of plain mayonnaise likely won’t do any harm. But make no mistake – mayonnaise alone does not provide any useful nutrients for a cat’s health and wellness. Due to their obligate carnivore biology, cats need meat-based protein and nutrients rather than plant oils. And those potential tummy troubles from eggs or dairy aren’t a risk worth taking.

All that said, the itty bitty sample I let Scout try did seem to delight her taste buds without issue. But as a responsible cat parent, I won’t make a regular habit of sharing my mayo or using it in homecooked cat meals. When it comes to this key ingredient, moderation is key – and confirmation from the vet is best. Their health comes before any food cravings, after all!

Can Cats Eat Tuna?

Now we arrive at the star of the show – tuna! This fish is a common ingredient in cat food for good reason. As an excellent source of protein, tuna provides important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D and B12. Many cats simply love the rich savory scent and flavor too.

So you may be thinking, if tuna is already a regular ingredient in cat chow, what’s the harm in sharing my tuna salad? Well, there are a few factors pet parents need to consider before feeding Fido tuna meant for humans.

First, let’s address concerns about mercury toxicity. Tuna is one of the fish types highest in mercury content due to bioaccumulation in ocean waters. Mercury is a heavy metal that can damage neurological and organ function over time if ingested in high amounts. While the occasional small bite probably poses little risk, frequent helpings may start to approach unsafe levels for a small animal.

Since cats can’t just switch to a diverse seafood diet like we humans enjoy, their tuna intake requires more caution. Mercury poisoning symptoms can look like common illnesses like lack of energy or appetite changes. It’s easier for problems to be overlooked. Veterinary groups advise choosing lower-mercury fish more regularly and saving tuna as an occasional treat.

Another potential hazard is tuna allergies. Just like people, some cats can have sensitivity or even full-on allergies to certain fish proteins. Symptoms might include itchy skin, diarrhea or runny eyes within a few hours of eating tuna. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know if your individual cat is at risk besides exposure – and the consequences of a severe reaction could be dangerous without quick aid.

I’d also be wary of tuna packed in oil rather than water for feline consumption. The extra fat and calories aren’t very healthy as the main part of a cat’s diet. While the oils help the fish’s nutrients absorb for human tummies, they outweigh the benefits in cat amounts.

So to summarize, while plain water-packed canned tuna can certainly be an occasional treat in small portions, it’s not necessarily a safe regular part of a cat’s diet. Consult your vet if you want to feed tuna more than very sparingly and watch out for any signs of an allergic reaction. With some adaptations and care, it can certainly be part of the picture – just not the whole meal plan.

So Can Cats Eat Mayonnaise with Tuna?

At this point, you may be wondering – if both tuna and mayonnaise raise concerns individually for cats, what about the combo tuna salad? After all, sometimes the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. But in Fido’s case, I’d hesitate to say this popular lunchtime favorite gets a pass.

Let’s quickly recap what we’ve covered so far. Tuna provides protein and nutrients beneficial in moderation, yet poses low risks of mercury toxicity and allergies if overconsumed. Mayonnaise could upset tummies with its eggs, oils and additives unsuitable for cats’ biology. Neither is outright toxic, but both require prudence.

Now, consider tuna salad’s overall composition. Even if making it yourself from plain ingredients, the combination amplifies some risks. More fat, calories and sodium are consumed all at once from the mayo-coated tuna chunks. Mercury levels stack up faster too with several tuna helpings together. Any adverse reactions would likely show more severely.

Veterinary experts also warn that eating multiple controversial foods together stresses the digestive system more than any one alone. If mayo marginally strains tummies on its own, adding tuna stresses them further. Digestive issues could result where a single ingredient may not have. We don’t want our furry friends feeling unwell!

Of course, if making tuna salad yourself, some adaptations could hypothetically reduce hazards. Using small amounts of lemon juice or olive oil instead of mayo keeps fat and calories lower. Limiting portions and frequency protects from mercury and allergen concerns too.

However, managing precise quantities and ensuring no spoilage or cross-contamination requires serious effort. One lazy moment could expose pets to risks better avoided. And our companions rely on us to make uncompromisingly safe choices for them daily without exception.

For these reasons, I don’t advise tuna salad as a primary nor occasional food source for cats. While small experimentation under guidance from your vet may prove alright, it’s better seen as an occasional human treat alone enjoyed. Our pets’ health depends on our responsible and informed decisions.

Evaluating Each Ingredient

Now that we’ve addressed the main concerns with tuna and mayonnaise together, let’s break down the other common ingredients in tuna salad to see which may be lower risk options for an occasional taste. Remember, moderation is key and no human foods should replace a balanced cat diet without vet guidance.

Celery – This crunchy staple is actually considered safe in moderation. Celery provides fiber and antioxidants like vitamin K and is unlikely to cause issues in small bites. Just be sure to remove any that’s been soaked in the mayonnaise first.

Shallots – I’d avoid these completely. As allium vegetables, shallots contain compounds like n-propyl disulfide that can damage red blood cells in cats, leading to anemia. Even small amounts pose risks that aren’t worth taking.

Pickles – These pose a few potential issues. First, pickles are high in sodium which can stress cats’ kidneys with too much long-term. They also may contain garlic or onion powders as preservatives and spices. However, plain pickle chips or spears with no added ingredients are probably fine in tiny bites.

Pickle juice – This is a definite no-no due to both garlic risks and high salt content, which can dehydrate and harm pets over time. They just don’t process sodium like we do. Water is always the healthier drink for cats.

Salt – In moderation, a few salt crystals likely won’t cause issues. But given how much cats love salt and the risks of excess stressing organs over the long-term, it’s best not to use salt as an incentive or treat. Their tastes don’t need extra enticing.

Now that we’ve assessed common tuna salad ingredients, hopefully pet parents have a better idea of lower risk choices that can be experimented with carefully and occasionally under vet supervision. But as always, consult your individual cat’s needs with their healthcare provider.


Here are some FAQs for the “Can Cats Eat Mayonnaise With Tuna” question:

My cat LOVES tuna water from the can. Is that okay as a treat?

Plain tuna water in small amounts is generally safer than tuna meat or mayonnaise and can be given occasionally as a special treat. Be sure to limit sodium by rinsing canned tuna beforehand. As always, moderation is key and doesn’t replace a balanced diet.

What about sushi-grade tuna?

Raw fish poses additional risks like parasites for cats. Even if safe for people, sushi or cooked rare fish meals aren’t a good idea for our feline friends. Their system isn’t as well-equipped as ours to process raw meat and fish safely.

Can I tweak the tuna salad recipe for cats?

You may be able to adapt it, but some risks remain. Consider plain water-packed tuna, avocado or olive oil instead of mayo, limit salt. Even then, moderation is crucial and it’s not a primary food. Consult your vet for the right approach based on your individual cat.

My cat only got one tiny taste. Is that okay?

An occasional single lick of tuna or mayo is unlikely to cause issues for most cats. However, these human foods lack nutrients pets need and have some potential health downsides. Plain canned fish in smaller portioned meals is a safer choice if you want to treat your furry friend.

What about fish oil—is that good for cats?

In small, vet-recommended amounts, fish oil can provide omega-3 fatty acids which support skin and coats. But more is not better—too much ingested at once could lead to upset tummies. As always, supplements should only be given under the guidance of your cat’s veterinarian.

Can I give different human foods as treats in moderation?

In general, moderation is key with any human foods. However, I’d be cautious. Every cat has different needs, so it’s best to get your vet’s guidance on treats. Things like plain chicken or salmon are typically safer bets than highly seasoned/processed options.

My cat won’t eat tuna from the can, any tips to get her to try it?

I’d avoid using topppers like mayo to entice eating, as those raise health risks. Try breaking tuna into tiny pieces mixed into her regular food, or hand-feeding small amounts so she associates it positively. Patience is key. Their stomach rules over our desires, so don’t force it if she’s not interested.

Is there anything I should absolutely never feed my cat?

Definitely avoid chocolate, xylitol (found in some gums/candy), grapes/raisins, onion/garlic, macadamia nuts and any alcohol. Raw meat poses salmonella risks. Also go easy on dairy, flour, sugary/fatty foods and anything very salty or spicy as those can upset tummies. Plain people foods in moderation are typically okay however.

How much people food is too much for my cat?

I’d recommend limiting people food to no more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories as an occasional treat, if that. They need a diet focused on complete and balanced cat nutrition. Even seemingly small amounts of unhealthy/unsafe people foods every day can compound risks over time. Moderation is key.


In conclusion, while tuna salad may seem like an enticing snack to share with our feline friends, it’s generally not something I’d recommend adding to their regular diet. As we’ve explored, both tuna and mayonnaise pose some potential health concerns when consumed by cats. Their needs as obligate carnivores simply differ from ours.

That said, the occasional tiny taste of plain tuna or a lick of mayonnaise is unlikely to cause issues for most cats. I don’t want pet parents to feel deprived or like they can never reward their furry pals. In moderation and under guidance from your vet, some human foods may be incorporated safely.

Overall, cats thrive on a consistent diet made for their species – one rich in protein, balanced nutrients and limited in plant-based oils, dairy, and extra ingredients like sodium their systems aren’t well-equipped to process. Their well-being depends on our choices as caring owners.

For those craving ways to safely include pets in mealtime bonding, some homemade fish salad recipes minus the mayonnaise could be explored. With adaptation and care, we can share life’s enjoyments while prioritizing their health above all. As always, moderation is key and your vet’s opinion tops any online advice or food trends. Our pets count on vigilance from us in keeping them happy and well.

Share This Article
Leave a comment