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Why do cats eat fish?

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jsmith15 | 14:39 Mon 23rd Jul 2001 | Animals & Nature
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Why do cats eat fish when they hate water?

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They don't all hate water. Our next-door neighbour's daughter used to have a bath with their cat when she was a child (seen the pics); one of our cats used to put his paw over the bath tap to stop the water going in. I once saw a film about a type of cat in India that swam in rock-pools to catch fish, and they (the cats) seemed to enjoy the swim!
Cats evolved in climates that were very dry, and generally are not overly fond of water. But any cat exposed to water since kittenhood may enjoy it. Cats are also natural swimmers. Abyssinians have been known to join their owners in the shower. Turkish angoras and Manxes also enjoy water.The wild Bengali Mach-Bagral swims to catch fish which is spears with its claws. Fish isn't a natural food for cats. Their desert origins made them predators of rodents, birds, and insects. Some say that during the Second World War, cat food manufacturers had to find a cheap source of protein, so they started to use fish and fish by-products in cat food. So while fish is not a natural food for cats, it is full of protein and probably tastes better than live bird stomach. Many cats love the smell of fish, but won't eat it.
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You may as well ask why humans who hate water like to eat fish. Like humans, cats eat a wide range of food. My wife remembers a family who simply gave their cat a little of whatever meal they were having, complete with some of the desert! Presumably, the practice of giving cats fish started when fish was cheaper than meat; I note that now fish is expensive there's more tinned cat food based on meat and chicken.

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