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My Dad regularly catches fresh water fish and the meaty slices around the ribs are always left to be thrown away - I can't help but wonder if this specific form of fish could be a healthy treat for my cat.

I read this question which asks "Is it safe for my cat to eat fish?" - while similar, this question and its answers aren't specifically about freshly caught, fresh water, raw fish without processing or preservatives, with bones.

I imagine fish are something cats would naturally eat before domestication, and I'm wondering if my cat still has the instincts and digestive system to eat raw fish and not choke on the bones.

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There are some accounts of people feeding whole fish to their cats and dogs in the raw feeding community (one example, second example). Also note that they pretty clearly warn never to feed COOKED bones (of any animal) to your pet.

I would suggest starting cautiously if you were to try it, aware that there is some risk. Start with smaller fish (that your cat can eat whole or in a few bites). Those bones should be small/soft enough that I would not suspect a problem. Do it at a time when you can observe your cat for several hours or a day (perhaps you're planning to stay at home and watch a movie marathon and kitty likes to snuggle on the couch!).

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