While dogs are omnivores that can get nutrition from both plant and animal sources, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must obtain essential nutrition from animal-based foods. In addition, cats have to eat a relatively high amount of protein to be healthy. So, when choosing snacks for your feline friend, it’s important to choose treats that are full of high-quality protein, without a lot of unnecessary fillers. Before making changes to your pet’s diet, be sure to check with your vet to ensure you’re meeting the specific nutrition needs of your pet.
Store-bought treats are an easy go-to to get your cat’s treats. However, there are hundreds of types of treats on the market, so how do you know which ones to choose. Here are some of the top store-bought healthy treats available for cats.
PureBites Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
These freeze-dried treats are great for cats of all ages. Containing no artificial preservatives, they are made from 100 percent human-grade meat. There are a wide variety of flavors available. Plus, they only have one ingredient, so you never have to worry about what you are feeding your cat. These treats are low-calorie, so as long as you don’t hand them out too often, you won’t have to worry about your cat piling on the pounds.
Wellness Kittles Crunchy Cat Treats
If your cat prefers crunchy treats, these all-natural treats are a great option. They are 100 percent grain-free and low-calorie and come in a variety of flavors such as chicken and cranberries, duck and cranberries, tuna and cranberries and several more. Plus, the crunchy texture of the treats can help keep your cat’s teeth plaque-free.
Sojos Certified Organic Catnip
Though many have a drug-like reaction to it, catnip is perfectly safe for cats, though excessive amounts can cause diarrhea. This catnip is 100 percent organic and grown without pesticides. There are also no additives in this catnip. This product is dried, and some cats prefer fresh catnip, but this is a great option for cats who don’t have access to fresh catnip plants.
Prime Taste Treats Jerky Treats
Unlike some other jerky treats, these treats have no corn, additives, or other preservatives, Available in four flavors, they are made up of 90 percent meat, with added taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid that is critical for normal heart muscle function, vision, and reproduction. These treats do have a small amount of added sugar, so they should be used as an occasional treat, rather than an everyday snack.
Cat-Man-Doo Natural Flakes
These flakes are made from human-grade food and can be served to your pet as a treat by itself or added to food to encourage picky cats to eat their food. Cat-Man-Doo flakes are made with meat or fish as the only ingredient and don’t have any grains or fillers added. Being comprised of pure protein, they are a great way to ensure cats are getting enough of the nutrients they need without adding a lot of additional calories.
Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Vital Cat Treats
Vital Essentials are made from a single source of protein. There are a variety of flavors to choose from, such as ahi tuna, chicken giblets, Alaskan salmon, and rabbit. There’s even a minnow treat that features whole fish. There are no artificial flavors or preservatives in Vital Essentials treats, and they are corn-free and gluten-free, which makes them suitable for cats with digestive issues.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods that humans eat regularly can be harmful or even toxic to cats. So, it’s important to keep your cat away from foods that could be dangerous, such as:
- Green tomatoes
- Raw yeast dough
- Raw eggs
- Raw meat
If you’re feeding your cat any type of human food, remember to make sure there are no bones present in the provided food or treats. Cooked bones are especially dangerous because they can splinter and cause damage to the intestines or other parts of the digestive tract.
Dog food is another common household item that shouldn’t be given to cats. Though it likely won’t cause any harm in the short-term, dog food doesn’t have all the nutrients that cats require and will be damaging to their health if it’s their only long-term option for food.
You should also avoid giving your cat tuna that was prepared for humans. When fed to cats on a regular basis human-grade tuna can lead to an inflammation of the body’s fat in cats, called steatitis.
Freeze-Dried Versus Raw
Freeze-dried treats are not cooked, but the process of freeze-drying removes the moisture from the food, which means that bacteria and other dangerous organisms can’t survive. Freeze-drying is a great way to preserve food without chemical additives and the food is still safe for pets to consume.
Raw meat, fish, and eggs, on the other hand, can contain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella. Just as humans are encouraged to fully cook these animal products before consuming, the same holds true for your cat.
Armed with this list, you should have no problem choosing healthy treats and snacks that your cat will love. Just remember treats should be part of an overall balanced diet. Ensure your cat is getting enough exercise to offset the extra calories that treats are adding to your cat’s diet, and you’ll have a healthy and happy cat.