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Healthy Treats for Cats

Updated on March 12, 2009

Cat Treats

Normally, when you think of treats for pets, you think of dogs, but there are a number of treats in the pet market for cats, and just like when carefully choosing what kind of treat you want to give your dog, you should carefully choose the treats for your cat.

Remember that when it comes to treats, you should make sure that they do not extend more than 10% of the cat's diet. Treats can be very fatty, and you want to make sure that your cat is still hungry enough to eat his staple cat food diet.

When choosing a treat for your cat, there are a few things that you want to consider, and below I've tried to include the basics for choosing healthy cat treats for your pet.

by John Ong
by John Ong

When choosing a cat treat

When choosing a treat for your cat, there are a few things you want to consider. The first being the quality of the ingredients; just because the treat will not be a staple diet or isn't a large portion of the cat's diet, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't be careful of what you give your cat to eat. So, always check the the ingredients label on the treat bag.

When looking at the label, you also want ot check the number of calories, as you want to look for a treat that is low in calories, versus a high fat and high calory treat.

Another good thing to look for is the veterinarian-approved AAFCO certification. The Association of American Feed Control Officials publishes a set of guidlines for cat food and treats, and if the ingredient definitions meet the regulations, you will see, "Formulated to meet the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profile for Kittens/Adults/Senior)" printed on the label of the treats. There are some companies that do not comply with the AAFCO regulations, so watch out for those treats.

It's also important that you find a cat treat that is nutritionally balanced, yet will have a flavor that will appeal to your cat. Cat treats typically come in a chicken or fish flavor as well as a few others, so you always have a choice as to which treat you think your cat will like better.

Tips for Choosing a Healthy Cat Treat

Because nutrition is a very important aspect of a healthy cat, you want to make sure that the treats that you purchase will not affect your cat's health, especially with kittens, so make sure that you do not supplement a healthy diet for treats. Basically, make sure that you do not make your cat's treats equal to more than 10% of your cat's diet because treats for your cat are the equivallent to snacks to you and me. It's not to provide once in a while, but it's not necessary.

Again, remember low calorie cat treats are great for all cats, even those who do not have weight control concerns. If you can't find a low calorie cat treat that your cat likes, then you can always break up regular cat treats into smaller pieces. By breaking up the treat, you not only make the bag last longer, but you are giving your cat fewer calories with each treat.

You don't necessarily have to purchase actual cat treats, either. You can purchase a high quality can food, and provide as a supplement with yoru cats regular diet. It's actually a great idea to let your cat free-feed on a bowl of dry food throughout the day, and once or twice a day provide your cat with a small portion of canned. For more information about cat food and feeding schedules you can check out Feeding Pet Cats for more information.

Along the same lines of feeding your cat cat food as treats, you can use a secondary brand or flavor of dry cat food to use as a treat. You just want to make sure that you do not overfeed your cat with the secondary brand, just because it is a cat food and not a cat treat. You want to keep your cat on his regular diet.

You may want to consider the different textures of cat treats- meaning hard or soft treats. If you normally feed yuor cat dry kibble, you should consider purchasing soft treats, whereas if you normally feed your cat canned or semi-moist food, you may want to consider a hard, crunchy treat.

There are a number of types of treats that you can choose from as well. Consider the following treats for your cat.

  • Cat treats forumlated for hairballs.
  • Dental cat treats to prevent tartar, plaque, and bad breath.
  • Cat treats forumlated fo healthy skin and coat.
  • Grass cat treats for indoor cats to aid in digestion.
  • Catnip treats to pep up a mellow cat.

Homemade Cat Treats

If you are still not 100 percent sure as to what cat treats to purchase for your cat, you can always make your own cat treats. There are many recipes available that will ensure that you are feeding your cat something healthy that he will like.

Otherwise, you can always consider preparing a few of the following items as a nice treat for your cat.

  • Air popped popcorn (no butter or salt added)
  • Cooked egg white- boiled eggs just the whites is easy to have on hand- the yolk contains the fat
  • Cooked pasta
  • Cooked rice
  • Rice cake
  • TINY dab of cottage cheese.
  • TINY dab of plain, non-flavored yogurt.


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      GPhilly44 5 years ago

      Cats can be totally picky and hard to please when it comes to treats. My favorite healthy cat treat to buy is Perfect Bites. They are only 1 calorie each and my cats love all the flavors. Natural Balance makes a great, healthy cat treat and I make sure to always have a bag around in case one of the kitties starts batting me with a paw and meowing for a snack!

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      Cindy L. 8 years ago

      I've actually used the rice cake idea. When they grab the piece and run away with it in their mouths it is the cutest thing.