How to Select Healthy Cat Treats

cat-treats

You will find a lot of information on feline nutrition on this site, but one aspect I haven’t covered in detail is treats. While treats should always be used judiciously, especially for cats that have a tendency to gain weight or are already overweight, realistically, most cat guardians want to occasionally spoil their feline charges with a special treat.  Treats also have their place when it comes to training (and yes, cats can be trained).  Since most of us will give our cats treats, it’s important to choose healthy options.

The same thing that applies to food applies to treats as well:  cats are obligate carnivores, and as such, do not only not need carbohydrates, but they tend to do poorly on a diet that’s too high in carbs, especially grains.

Your best option: freeze dried all meat treats

Freeze-dried treats come in a large variety of flavors, from chicken, turkey and salmon to beef, venison and shrimp. These treats are pure meat, and very low in calories. They’re great to use inside food puzzle toys.

Human foods that are okay to use as treats

Small quantities of cheese, cooked fish, and eggs are all safe treats if used in moderation. Strange as it may sound, some cats love watermelon or cantaloupe, which are also okay to give in small amounts.  Cats should never have onion, garlic, kelp, grapes or raisins, sugary treats, chocolate, and alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, even in small doses.

As for ice cream, a few licks here and there won’t be a problem for most cats.

FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something by clicking through on one of these links, I will receive a small commission.

14 Comments on How to Select Healthy Cat Treats

  1. Shannon
    April 26, 2013 at 6:53 am (4 years ago)

    Great topic! While I’ve been aware of Wellness’ great product line for many years, I’d love to know some make-at-home type recipes for kitty treats. No preservatives, whole healthy foods.

    Reply
  2. Maree
    September 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm (5 years ago)

    What an amazing website – and I suddenly don’t feel so alone because of our stance for healthy treats for cats. We manufacture a range of air dried protein snacks for cats in our small factory in Bendigo in Victoria, Australia. We take only the finest, farm fresh meats and add nothing except fan forced air, so no chemicals, preservatives, colours or flavours, salt or sugar and especially no grain!
    It is so hard to educate many pet parents of the health attributes of a biologically appropriate food including treats. Congratulations on your great work. Maree, BM Pet Snax

    Reply
  3. Ingrid
    August 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm (7 years ago)

    Dawn, I’ll have to check out those Wild Side Salmon treats – they sound great!

    Reply
  4. Dawn
    August 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm (7 years ago)

    My cat just loves the Wild Side Salmon cat treats. whats good about them they are high in protien, low in ash and there 100% pure Wild Alaskan Salmon.

    Reply
  5. andrea
    May 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm (7 years ago)

    ingrid..yes..trying to get her off temptations (i know) and theonly one she sort of won’t snub all the time is -well-it is no grain..and ..etc. no worries w it.
    i just want to ask…aside from how to find the best foods..etc…do you have a way to link up to (that is if you wrote on this) : feline scratching and allergies. and why is it assumed it is food allergy all the time? i am doing my best to switch eliz. over. wont do raw..worry-mostyly cuz she has hcm-and..i don’t know..maybe i worry too much..just bacterias..i know..canned food does too. but..
    anyway..have you written on allergies-VARIOUS tyes..and how to ask ones vet to really REALLY help to find the source of the allergy as well as assuming food is it..and..the problems that can occur on the stuff given to help allergy (ie -by means of using a food never eaten)-personally-i need to know more..and my vet-very excellent-but isn’t fond of questions. altho next time i go with elizabeth to vet hospital -i will have written notes. so little time -and i am asking for an ear culture (of the wax) and a full blood-i need to know things for myself. i knoiw some by reading a lot..but not nearly like a vet. but i feel..i don’t always agree with my vet..and they get huffy. i don’t want to LOSE my vet-or -i do trust her–i just..is it wrong to have some doubt??? it is ..hard..with vets.and human dr’s alike. 🙁
    andrea

    Reply
  6. Ivy
    May 14, 2010 at 9:36 pm (7 years ago)

    Kitty loves Liv-a-little freeze dried chicken and Cat-man-doo bonito flakes. Both are natural treats with no additives or preservatives.

    Reply
  7. Danielle Denhardt
    May 10, 2010 at 11:06 am (7 years ago)

    My kitties also love the Halo freeze-dried treats! But, I keep a small bag of Evo grain free dry food on hand at all times. Since my cats only eat canned Evo, a 10 or so pieces of that dry cat food is just like a treat for them. And since I have 5 cats, buying the bag of dry Evo food is less expensive than buying the little bags of treats.

    Thanks for another great post, Ingrid! Sending healing thoughts to Amber!

    Reply
  8. Daniela Caride
    May 10, 2010 at 9:33 am (7 years ago)

    Thank you so much, Ingrid! I’m glad you wrote about this subject. Finding healthy cat treats is not an easy task. We’ll test them here.

    Reply
  9. marg
    May 10, 2010 at 8:27 am (7 years ago)

    Well sounds like your testers are saying that the Freeze Dried treats are the most popular. I will have to check those out and try some of them. Thanks to those two great testers for letting us know which ones are the best.
    Amber, sure hope you are feeling better.

    Reply

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