People love to pamper their pets, lavishing them with treats and affection.
Although you can probably never give too much affection, cat treats are another thing. Cats can develop weight problems just like people do. According to a study reported by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 57% of cats are overweight or obese.
Keep your little kitty healthy and happy. Get advice about cat health and
behavior from experts at WebMD.
Can cat treats ever be good for kitty? Are some treats better than others? And is “people food” healthy for your cat? Here are answers and tips from cat experts.
What Makes a Cat Treat Healthy?
Moderation is key, experts tell WebMD.
It's fine to feed your cat treats, but they “should be a very small part of the diet," says Marla J. McGeorge, DVM, an Oregon vet who treats felines only.
How small? Many experts recommend cat treats make up no more than 10% of the total calories a cat eats.
That’s because most treats don’t add anything but calories to a cat’s diet, McGeorge says.
The remaining 90% of your cat’s calories should come from a high-quality, nutritionally complete cat food.
Cat Treats: Decoding the Labels
Learning what’s in packaged cat treats can be a bit of a puzzle.
“Information provided on labels could use a lot of improvement,” McGeorge tells WebMD. That’s because not all nutrients are listed on cat food labels, and there’s usually no calorie count offered, either.
To learn how many calories are in your cat’s treats, you can contact the pet food manufacturer or check with your vet for recommendations.
At a minimum, McGeorge suggests looking at labels to see if a treat is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This group sets pet food manufacturing standards, “minimal as they are," McGeorge says.