How to Choose Cat Treats

Three Methods:Buying Commercial TreatsExploring Other Treat OptionsProviding the Right Amount

Most cats love treats, but they can be finicky about which treats they want to eat. There are many different kinds of treats you can buy or make. With some patience and trail and error, you can choose the right treats for your cat.

Method 1
Buying Commercial Treats

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    Pick a variety of treats. There are two main varieties of cat treats. Try semi-moist treats, which are generally softer than other cat treats. Your cat may also like crunchy treats, which are hard. Both varieties of treats come in a variety of flavors. Freeze dried protein treats are also available, but they aren't as common as other types of treats.
    • You can buy these at the grocery store, the pet store, or at your vet's office.
    • Popular brands include BLUE Wilderness, Whiskas, and Greenies.[1]
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    Buy treats for specific conditions. There are varieties of treats specifically developed for conditions your cat may have. Ask you vet if specialty treats would be helpful for any condition your cat may suffer from. These include:
    • Grain free, if your cat has allergies
    • Tartar control, which help clean your cat's teeth
    • Hairball prevention, which have a formula of ingredients to cut down on hairballs
    • Joint health, which contain ingredients that help your cat's joints
    • Protein rich, with a high concentration of protein[2]
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    Check the ingredients. When you are choosing a cat treat, look at the label of ingredients. The more ingredients on the list you don't recognize, the worse the treats are for your cat. You should recognize meats, grains, vegetables, and other similar ingredients. Many cat treats have unnecessary fillers, dyes, and preservatives that are not good for your cat.
    • Also avoid treats with too much fat, salt, and calories.[3]
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    Buy treats made in safe countries. There are many treats that are made in other countries. Many countries do not regulate the creation of animal treats, so you need to avoid treats from countries such as China, who has been cited for unsafe treat practices.[4]
    • If in doubt, look for a seal from the Association of American Feed Control Officials, who provide minimum regulations for cat treats.[5]
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    Ensure the treats have not been recalled. Before you pick a brand of cat treats, you should check the Food and Drug Administration’s pet food recall website. This will protect your cat from unsafe cat treats that have been taken off the shelves.[6]

Method 2
Exploring Other Treat Options

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    Feed him human food in moderation. There are a variety of human foods, mostly meats, that you cat will enjoy. Although you should not supplement his normal cat food with too much human food, small portions of human food can be a nice treat for your cat. These foods include:
    • Tuna, cooked or canned
    • Salmon, cooked or canned
    • Chicken or turkey, cooked
    • Lean beef cuts, cooked
    • Eggs, cooked
    • Liver, cooked
    • Sardines, canned
    • Clams, canned
    • Cheese, in small cubes, one at a time
    • Milk, a tablespoon at a time since many cats cannot properly digest lactose, which can cause digestive problems[7][8]
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    Give him catnip. Catnip is a great natural plant that acts as a treat and toy for your cat. You can buy catnip toys for him to play with and sprinkle some on the floor, which provides him with a snack as well as something to play with.
    • You can grow a fresh catnip or buy store bought catnip. This variety may be fresh or died.[9]
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    Grow cat grass. Cat grass is a plant similar to oats and wheat that attracts cats. Plant a tray of cat grass to sit by a window during the winter or have a patch in your backyard. This will give your cat something to play. You can pluck some for him to eat.
    • Cat grass is very low in calories.
    • It is common for some cats to vomit the cat grass back up. If this happens with your cat, switch to catnip.[10]
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    Make your own treats. If you aren't happy with commercial treats or basic human food, you can make homemade treats for your cat. Look for recipes with healthy ingredients, such as lean meats, vegetables, grains, and eggs. There are many different kinds of different cat treats out there, such as sunflower treats, chicken biscuits, tuna treats, and sardine cookies.[11][12]
    • Play around with many different varieties of ingredients to see what you cat may prefer. Make sure you bake them in small pieces to avoid overfeeding your cat.
    • Homemade treats are good options because you can control what is in them and how much of each ingredient he gets. Look for recipes with the best natural ingredients that avoid foods toxic to cats.[13]
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    Avoid certain human foods. There are certain human foods that are harmful to cats. These foods can cause health problems, such as weight gain and diarrhea. In some cases, these foods may cause death. These foods include:
    • Salt or any food with too much salt
    • Avocado
    • Grapes or raisins
    • Chocolate
    • Nuts, such as macadamia
    • Citrus, especially rinds
    • Coconuts or coconut oil
    • Onion or chives
    • Leeks
    • Garlic
    • Liquids with caffeine, such as coffee or tea
    • Alcohol
    • Sugar free foods that contain xylitol
    • Yeast dough[14][15]

Method 3
Providing the Right Amount

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    Follow the 10% rule. Your cat's treat intake should never exceed 10% of his daily calories. This may seem like it would be hard to do, but cats need very few calories every day. The average eight pound cat only needs 130 to 210 calories.
    • Many commercial treats have about two calories a piece, but this means your cat should have no more than six to 10 per day.
    • It is really important not to overfeed your cat. This can cause many health problems and shorten his lifespan.[16]
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    Measure the amount of human food. When you are giving your cat human food, you need to be very conscious of how much you give him. Any meat you give them should be in small pieces, no larger than a pencil eraser tip.
    • If you give them much more than this, he will get too many calories from human food, which can lead to obesity.
    • Too much human food can also cause his nutrition to become imbalanced.[17]
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    Replace treats with love. If you find that you feed your cat too many treats every day, replace some of the treats with affection instead. While treats are great ways to tell your cat you love him, petting him or having a play session with his favorite will show him you love him more.[18]

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Feeding Cats