Do wild cats eat fish?

Some wild cats eat fish. For some species, fish are part of their diet because they like to live near water.

bobcat caught salmon from stream
Bobcat caught this salmon from a stream. See video below.
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For example, a small but powerful wild cat which eats fish is the fishing cat. This cat is an excellent swimmer (in fact all wild cats are at least capable swimmers). It has been seen to crouch on rocks and sandbanks along rivers and scoop fish out of the water. These cats dive into the water and catch aquatic prey. It’s teeth are not adopted to catching fish. It preys on a wide range of animals.

Fishing cat
Fishing cat

Leopard cats occasionally catch fish to eat. Fish make up approximately 6% of the leopard cat’s diet on Tsushima Island, Japan.

Flat-headed cats love water. They have been seen along rivers where they hunt. The stomach of one fishing cat contained the remains of fish. They eat a wide range of prey items including rats and mice.

The jungle cat eats fish caught in drying ponds. Also the jungle cat has been observed diving into water and “seizing fish in its mouth”.

Fish make up a small part of the diet of the African-Asian wildcat living in southeast Kazakhstan. Once again this small wild cat eats a wide range of prey items. It is about what is available in the place where the cat lives and this species has a huge geographic distribution.

There is a report of a jaguarundi “feeding on fish trapped in a temporary pond”. Like nearly all wild cats they are opportunistic predators which means they catch and eat what they can when they can.

Jaguars eat fish. Take a look at this video:

Jaguars also eat caiman and other aquatic animals such as turtles. They kill caiman by crushing their skulls in their jaws!

In the Manu National Park, ocelots occasionally eat fish. Fish made up around 1 percent of their diet. Ocelots in general feed on fish when available but their diet mainly includes mammals such as mice and opossums.

Bobcats can catch fish from streams and eat them (see video). If bobcats do this it quite reasonable to presume that Canada and Eurasian lynx also eat fish from time to time.

Technically the true feral cat is wild. They eat fish. You’ll see them living in colonies on quaysides scavenging on fish caught by fishermen.

These are all small wild cats. You can read about them in detail on this website. The quote comes from the book: Wild Cats of the World.

And finally, the lion is highly opportunistic in eating prey. So lions will eat fish if the opportunity presents itself. Tigers are excellent swimmers and will consume fish when appropriate.

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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

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