Healthy Cat Treats [Best Ingredients & What To Avoid]

Healthy Cat Treats [Best Ingredients & What To Avoid]
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Tasty treats are a fantastic way to liven up your cat's day. Perhaps in your house, all the furry friends gather for a bedtime treat. Or perhaps you use cat treats to introduce your kitty to a new toy. We've seen people use treats to reward pets for allowing themselves to be groomed. Whether you just want to pamper your pet or you're looking for a simple reward, healthy cat treats are the way to go!


Of course, some treats for your cat are more nutritious than others. So, if you're regularly feeding your cat a particular treat, be diligent when it comes to checking labels for calories, ingredients, and where the treats are sourced or manufactured.



What Type of Cat Treats Are Considered Healthy?

When searching for healthy cat treats, you'll want to be on the lookout for natural/organic ingredients and treats with substantial nutritional value. It's all fine and dandy to feed your cat treats, but many feline specialists vets have reported that treats should be a relatively small part of the diet.


You may wonder, "But how small?" Well, because most treats don't add anything but calories to a cat's diet, many experts suggest cat treats that make up no more than 10% of the total calories a cat eats. The remaining 90% of calories that your cat takes in should ideally come from a high-quality, nutritionally complete cat food.



feline eating a treat from owner



Ingredients in Cat Treats to Avoid

The ingredients listed below are not necessarily harmful or bad for cats across the spectrum. However, extended exposure to these less-than-healthy ingredients is likely to increase the risk of a negative side effect in most cases.


We recommend keeping this list handy so that when it's time to make your next cat food purchase, you can make the best-informed decision possible.


Wheat Gluten

Wheat gluten runs on water over wheat flour dough until all the starch granules have been removed. The sticky insoluble gluten remains as an elastic mass that is then cooked before being eaten.


Wheat gluten is a popular ingredient in a vegan diet because you can use it to make a meat-like, high-protein food substance known as seitan. As an ingredient in a portion of cat food, though, wheat gluten completely misses the mark.


Wheat gluten is mostly used to jack up the crude protein numbers without adding more meat, which can get too expensive for manufacturers to want to pay for. Any time you see chunks or pieces of "meat" in a low-quality food, it is most likely just chunks of wheat gluten.


Meat & Bone Meal

The Association of American Feed Control Officials describes meat & bone meal as "rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added hoof, horn, hide trimmings, hair, manure, blood, rumen and stomach contents." Healthy cat treats will not contain meal of any kind.


Rendered meat & bone meal is one of those products that truly could contain anything. We know this may sound very uncomfortable, but there's some alarming information (or lack thereof) concerning the product that goes into these "meat & bone meal" ingredients at rendering plants. It could be roadkill, zoo animals, euthanized pets, expired meat, or even the styrofoam wrapper that came in.



cat eating small treats



BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)

Butylated Hydroxyanisole is an antioxidant found in artificial preservative in animal food. It has been shown to cause tumors in lab animals, despite being labeled as "safe in low doses." according to the Department of Health and Human Service's National Toxicology Program, BHA is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."


Small amounts of BHA now and then will likely not harm your cat. But BHA introduces more risks to your cat's well-being than necessary (the necessary amount of risk being 0, there are almost always less risky alternatives). This is especially the case if your cat is eating BHA every day. There are always better and more natural alternatives to preserving your cats' food.


Glucose and Dextrose

Glucose is just sugar, plain and simple (literally, it's a "simple sugar"). It is also a completely inappropriate ingredient for feline food. Glucose has the potential to cause obesity and even diabetes in both cats and humans.


Dextrose is simply glucose in a crystallized form. It is typically in pet food to make gravy or meat ingredients taste better, or as a sweetening agent. Dextrose, like most sugars, become harmful over time and is a nutritionally unnecessary addition to cat food.


Iron Oxide

Iron oxide gives food a more meaty, red color. Since iron oxide is a 100% unnecessary marketing gimmick, it is normally a decent indicator of cheap or low-quality cat food.


Iron oxide comes from rust! Unfortunately, rust is a regular source of iron oxide. Iron oxides are inexpensive, durable pigments in colored concrete, coatings, and paints.


While iron oxide in commercial cat food may be technically safe and likely non-toxic, it is still not readily absorbed into the body. And we think it's fair to say that any amount of artificial coloring when it comes to pet food is questionable. Moreover, iron oxide has yet to be thoroughly studied as a food additive, so its overall side effects (whether good or bad) remain a mystery.


Food Dyes

A little bit of food coloring likely won't hurt, but it has repeatedly been linked to issues ranging from containing a carcinogen to hyperactivity in children. There is no reason whatsoever to add color to any animal's food. Even if you somehow managed to remove the physical risk, food coloring would still be unnecessary. Animals do not care what color their food is.



Cellulose is a filler substance high in insoluble fiber. Too much can inhibit protein and nutrient uptake and interfere with digestion. Manufacturers typically use wood pulp from pine trees to make cellulose. "Wood pulp" often refers to plain old sawdust. In short, cellulose typically indicates a lower quality cat food.



How Often Can I Give Healthy Treats to My Cat?

As long as you limit treats to 10% of their daily calories, you're in the clear! Too much of a good thing can be unhealthy, but as long as you don't feed your kitty more than 10% of its daily calories in treats, feel free to give as many treats as you like.


We recommend saving treats for training or rewarding good behavior. This will make the treats even more special for your feline companion and reinforce that they are a "sometimes food." Treats are a great way to incentivize a cat.



Holistapet Bundle 3 bags of CBD cat treats



Which Healthy Cat Treats Are Best?

Are you looking to purchase premium CBD cat treats from a brand that cares? Well, look no further than Holistapet! We are the #1 supplier of high-quality CBD cat treats. Our yummy salmon flavor CBD treats are 100% grain-free, delicious and nutritious, making these crunchy little bites absolutely irresistible to any four-legged feline friends you might have!


HolistaPet CBD Cat Treats are the perfect treat to reward your favorite feline friend with after a long, hard day. These treats contain only the finest natural ingredients and never include any of the following:


  • Meals
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Animal by-products
  • Artificial colors
  • Synthetic flavors
  • Unnatural preservatives



Where Can I Find Healthy Cat Treats?

You can find tons of healthy treats for your four-legged feline friend at our website! Before starting HolistaPet, we had noticed a surprising lack of high-quality CBD treats for pets online, so we took it upon ourselves to fill that void. A third-party lab tests every product we make to guarantee that your cat gets an accurate dosage.


We believe your cat deserves to eat just as healthy as you! Our CBD products for cats only use all-natural ingredients. We never put any wheat, animal by-products, cornmeal, artificial flavors, or colors in any of our products, and our ingredients are always non-GMO.


HolistaPet is a brand you can always trust to consistently deliver quality products on time. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our CBD products or your money back.



Final Thoughts - Healthy Cat Treats

Greenies, Temptations, and other crunchy "dental" treats are not good for your cat's health. They often contain dangerous ingredients, including carbohydrates, which promote weight gain and hunger. We suggest buying dehydrated or freeze-dried muscle meat and organ treats. These treats are much safer and more nutritious as a daily treat for your cat.


It's a natural and loving response to want to treat your feline friend! Providing them with treats can provide a wonderful bonding opportunity through playtime and cuddles. Just remember that a treat should be exactly that, a 'treat.' Remember that a little can go a long way! If your cat is overweight or has an underlying health condition, speak with your vet about which treats would work best.

Reading next

Is CBD Safe For Cats? - Holistapet
Omega-3 for Cats - 4 Ways To Give Your Feline This Essential Nutrient

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