If you’re looking for a healthy cat treat, look no further. WebMD provides 10 tips for buying or making nutritious cat treats.
10 Treat Tips for a Healthy Cat
Remember moderation. Like people, cats can develop a taste for
treats, and they may decide to avoid their own food in favor of the goodies
they love. For this reason, keep cat treats novel by offering them no more than
two or three times a week, says Susan G. Wynn, DVM, CVA, a veterinary
nutritionist in Georgia.
Go easy with “people food.” Foods made for cats are formulated to
contain the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids a cat needs for good health, so
“people food” should be a minimal part of your cat’s diet. For an occasional
delicacy, you might try small bits of cheese or cooked tuna, chicken, fish, or
liver. You can also give your cat a tablespoon of milk now and again, but for
cats that are lactose intolerant, this may cause diarrhea, Wynn says.
Avoid toxic foods. Raisins, grapes, onions, alcohol, salt, tea -- we
may love them, but these and other common foods can be toxic to cats. If you’re
not sure a treat is safe, talk your vet before giving it to your kitty.
Ban begging. When giving your cat a treat, avoid doing it at the
dinner table or at the cat’s insistence. Don’t reward begging.
Overweight cats need care. There’s no way around it: Cat treats add
calories. But simply cutting out treats isn’t going to do much for an
overweight cat, McGeorge says. She recommends having your cat evaluated by a
vet, who will develop a safe diet plan to help your cat lose weight “slowly and
carefully. Rapid weight loss in an overweight
cat can lead to a serious liver disease called hepatic lipidosis.”
Go green. Catnip makes a fine cat treat, Wynn tells WebMD -- and
it’s low-calorie. Most cats love both catnip and "cat grass," which is
actually a cereal grass like wheat or oats. Both treats are easy to grow in a
sunny window, and you can also find dried and fresh greens in pet stores.
Always be sure the plant you’re offering your cat is safe for felines. But
don’t be alarmed if your cat regurgitates the kitty grass you buy -- some just
do that. Stick with catnip for those cats, McGeorge suggests. If you’re not
sure a plant is cat-safe, check the ASPCA’s web site for information on plants
toxic to felines. If you think your cat may have eaten a dangerous plant call
your vet immediately, or contact the Animal Poison Control Center
Give cat treats for fun and fitness. Help your cat exercise brain
and body by using cat treats to train them in agility exercises or tricks. This
can be even more enjoyable for indoor-only cats.
Apologize with cat treats. Try giving cat treats after something
kitty doesn’t like -- such as claw trimming, tooth brushing, or a dose of
medication. Along with praise and petting, this can go a long way toward
soothing a feline who’s been forced to do something unpleasant
Don’t use cat treats to replace love. Cats don’t have many needs: a
healthy diet, safe home, loving attention. When you’re short on time, it can be
easy to think a handful of treats builds the same bond as a stroke or cuddle,
but “I’m not sure it really works that way,” says Anthony Herrig, an Oregon
engineer with four contented felines. “My cats are no more lovable for having
had a treat. I think it’s physical contact like playing, petting, and holding
that helps a cat bond with you.”
Make your own natural cat treats. By cooking up small bits of liver,
fish, or eggs for your cat, you’ll know exactly what’s in the treats she’s
eating. You can even make organic cat treats for kitty by buying meat, fish,
and eggs that are certified organic. But remember, these treats should make up
only a small part of your cat's overall diet.