Last Updated on February 17, 2021 by Julia Wilson
Cat-friendly treats at a glance
Why give treats at all?
Treats for most cats are not necessary, and with obesity at endemic rates, the addition of treats can add additional calories that a cat doesn’t need. So, why feed treats?
- Sometimes a cat is not well, and a treat can encourage him or her to eat something
- Treats can be used as a reward when training a cat
- To hide pills or medication in (this generally works better for dogs but can be attempted for cats)
- To celebrate the cat’s birthday or another special event
Boiled, baked or steamed chicken and turkey
Chicken or turkey breast is ideal, and always remove the skin and bones before you feed cooked chicken to a cat.
Grated or cubes of cheddar cheese can encourage a cat to eat, or it can be used as a reward. Cheese is high in calcium, vitamins A and B-12 and also contains zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin.
The best cheeses for cats are cheddar or cottage cheese. Avoid soft such as brie or hard cheeses.
Some cats can become fussy if they are given tuna too often and reject their regular diet. Tuna is not balanced or complete and can cause yellow fat disease, a painful condition caused by vitamin E deficiency which leads to inflammation of the fat tissue.
Fruit and vegetables
Depending on the type, fruit and vegetables can be fed raw or cooked. Safe fruit and vegetables include:
- Green beans
- Kiwi fruit
- Apples (avoid the seeds which are toxic)
- Sweet potato
Prawns and shrimp make a great treat for cats, these crustaceans are high in protein, low in calories and are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. They also contain zinc, iodine, sodium, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins B and E.
Always check with your veterinarian if your cat has an underlying medical condition, is on medication or a prescription diet.
Cut treats into bite-sized pieces and boil, steam or poach hard vegetables such as broccoli. Always supervise your cat when he or she is eating a treat.
Do not feed treats to cats who are on a food allergy trial or to cats with known allergies to any of the above foods.
Cat-friendly treats are not nutritionally balanced and should make up no more than 10% of the cat’s diet.