People love to pamper their pets, lavishing them with treats and affection. While you can never give too much affection, cat treats are another thing. Kittens and cats can develop weight problems if they have too many treats. You always want to make sure the treats you are giving your kitten is healthy and remember that they should only make up 10% of their diet. The remaining 90% of your kitten’s calories should come from a nutritionally complete kitten food. Here are some other simple tips for treating your cats in a healthy way.
Like people, cats can develop a taste for treats and they may decide to avoid their own food in favour of the goodies they love. For this reason, keep cat treats novel by offering them no more than two or three times a week and try to use them as a reward for training rather than just giving them for no reason.
Go easy with “human food”
Foods made for kittens are formulated to contain the vitamins, minerals and amino acids a kitten needs for good health, so “people food” should be a minimal part of your kitten’s diet. In older kittens, for an occasional delicacy, you might try small bits of cheese or cooked tuna, chicken, fish, or liver. You can also give your kitten a tablespoon of milk now and again, but for kittens that are lactose intolerant, this may cause diarrhoea.
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 if a treat is safe, talk your vet before giving it to your kitty.
Check the ingredients list
Sadly many cat treats contain ingredients that aren’t particularly healthy for your cat. Some contain filler ingredients while others have a high fat content. When selecting cat treats it's best to look for natural high-protein treats such as freeze dried meat or fish treats. When reading the back of the packet animal protein sources should be at the top of the ingredients list.
When giving your cat treat, avoid doing it at the dinner table as you don’t want to reward begging for human food.
Beware of weight
There’s no way around it: Treats add calories. If you think your cat is putting on excess weight cut out all treating and talk to your vet. When giving treats you need to consider feeding smaller meals so your cat does not put on any excess weight.
For cats on special diets
It can be a challenge finding appropriate treats for cats with allergies or on special diets. So always keep in mind that you can put aside some of the kibble from your cat’s main meal to use throughout the day as a reward.
Don’t use cat treats to replace love
Cats don’t have many needs they just need a healthy diet, safe home and 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. Instead of reaching for the treat bag try a cuddle or some play time.