Cat Treats: Different Varieties + Benefits and Uses
What’s one piece of cake on a Saturday after a long week of clean eating or a spa day on your birthday? Everyone loves to treat themselves now and then. Self-indulgence is a great way to love yourself, and that love can be extended to others as well, even to our pets! The best way to a man’s—I mean your pet’s heart—is through their stomach, so what better way to show our cats we love them than with a few delicious cat treats!
Of course, not every treat is made equal, and feeding your cat just anything isn’t going to cut it. While you might never be able to over-love your pet, you can definitely overdo the treats. There’s a perfect way to spoil your cat without risking their health, and we’re going to tell you exactly how to do that down below!
What is a Cat Treat?
Like any snack, cat treats can be considered a tasty morsel to give your cat that isn’t a part of mealtime. They can be given as a reward for good behavior, for positive reinforcement training, or just to say, “I love you!”
Cat treats can also help supplement a cat’s diet, ease medical issues, or help you give your cat their medication. They don’t even necessarily have to be something your cat eats! Cat treats can also be anything special that your cat enjoys, like catnip.
What Types of Cat Treats Are There?
Depending on your reasons for feeding your kitty a special snack, there are a number of treats on the market that can serve your purpose. Are you looking for training aids? Does your cat need softer foods that will be easier on their teeth and tummy? Maybe they need a harder treat to take care of their teeth.
Whatever it is, you’ll find one out there that’s right for your cat. Let’s take a look!
What Are the Best Kinds of Treats for My Cat?
The best treat for your cat depends on the reason for having one, their diet, and their medical history. Here is a list of most of the types of healthy cat treats you can buy:
Most Common Types:
- Soft – Cats with sensitive teeth or dental issues like missing or broken teeth ideally should have soft treats. They’re both easier to chew and digest.
- Crunchy or Hard – These are the standard kind of cat treat. They are recommended for adult cats with healthy teeth.
- Dental Treats – Dental treats can help prevent plaque buildup in your cat’s teeth. These are great for supplementing dental care but shouldn’t replace brushing altogether!
- Dietary Treats – Cats with weight issues, nutrition problems, or medical conditions need some help getting the proper nourishment. They can eat special dietary treats infused with added protein, vitamins, and minerals.
- CBD – You can enhance any treat with the power of CBD. CBD can help relax a nervous cat, ease discomfort, and help improve its quality of life! Best of all, it’s completely natural and has very minimal side effects.
- Lickables – Lickables are what they sound like: they’re made for licking up instead of chewing! These kinds of treats are good for cats with difficulty chewing solid food. They’re often cheaper than other treats because they have filler ingredients to bulk up the product.
- Dehydrated or Freeze Dried – These treats are raw food products that haven’t been cooked or pasteurized and have had all the water removed from them. Most cat food is made using dehydration and baking or freeze-dried processes.
- Pill Pockets – Having trouble getting your kitty to take their medicine? Pill pockets disguise pills by surrounding them in a tasty treat, so your cat won’t even know they’re eating it! They are meant to mask the bland taste of medicine, so pill time is less of a struggle.
- Homemade Goodies – For those concerned with harmful ingredients, chemicals, or unhealthy additives that may be added to a store-bought treat, you can make a homemade treat with all healthy ingredients. You know what’s healthy for your cat, and this is the best way to know exactly what they’re eating.
- Catnip – Catnip can be eaten or smelled and have no nutritional value, but they certainly experience euphoric sensations when interacting with it!
Related: Why Do Cats Like Catnip? #1 Reason Why Cats Can't Resist
What Are the Best Treats for Kittens?
It’s not recommended that kittens have treats until their milk teeth have fallen out and their teeth have begun to grow in. At this point, kittens should have been weaned off of their mother’s milk in favor of solid food. This is a perfect stage to use cat treats as a training tool and for reinforcing good behavior. You should give kittens soft cat treats to make feeding time easier on their new baby teeth.
What Are the Best Treats for Senior Cats?
Like kittens, senior cats can also face a bit of trouble when eating. Soft food can be easier to chew than hard or crunchy food, especially if gum or teeth issues have set in. Soft and lickable treats may be preferable because they are easier to chew and provide additional supplements to a senior cat’s diet.
What Are the Benefits of Using Cat Treats?
One kind of treat might be better than another, depending on your cat. Regular cat treats can be given to healthy adult cats with no dietary or medical restrictions, while kitties with dietary needs might need homemade or special supplemental treats.
The best cat treats will contain CBD in their formulas to boost their effects and put your kitty in a friskier mood. When used correctly, treats can be a great way to strengthen the bond with your feline friend and create a happier and well-behaved pet.
Can Cat Treats Replace a Regular Meal?
Treats should never replace your cat’s regular meals! They are not meant to replace their food as most are not balanced in nutrition and can be fattening and harmful if they over-indulge. Cat treats should always compliment, not replace your cat’s actual meals. Your cat most likely won’t get full from solely eating the treats, either!
What Are Natural Cat Treat Alternatives?
Tidbits of human food can be safe for cats to eat. Fantastic foods your cat can eat (in moderation!) that can replace store-bought treats are:
- Oily fish like tuna, salmon, or mackerel (no fish bones, though!)
- Cooked poultry like chicken and turkey
- Cooked beef (no pork!)
- Small cheese slices
- Organic bananas
- Organic berries like strawberries and blueberries
- Rice (at a doctor’s discretion or when cats are having digestive troubles)
- Cooked eggs
Ingredients to Look for & Avoid When Buying Cat Treats
Of course, while some human foods are okay in small portions, you should still avoid some foods. Store-bought and natural treats alike can have harmful ingredients that you should avoid giving kitties.
Good / Necessary Ingredients
Cats love a lot of things that are good for them, so no sweat there! Organic and rich superfoods lacking artificial flavorings or bulky fillers are best for keeping cats in good health. This can include:
- Meat or fish protein
- Amino acids from meat or fish like taurine
- Omega fatty acids
- Healthy fats
- Vitamins like water-soluble B12 and C
- Minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc
- Grain-free foods and ingredients
Bad / Unnecessary Ingredients
Remember, felines are carnivores! A majority of our human diets are unnecessary for a cat’s diet. Before selecting any food or treats for your cat, read the label and check for these ingredients. If they list any of these, you might want to think twice about buying!
- Milk (many cats are actually lactose-intolerant!)
- Garlic (deadly to cats)
- “Fillers” like carbs and grains
- Sugar and sweeteners like xylitol
- Meat by-products
- Rendered fat
- Thickening agents like carrageenan
- Grapes, raisins, and currants
- Food Dyes and preservatives
- Unspecified ingredients (when the packaging just says “meat” or “animal fat,” run! You don’t know what that is, and the manufacturer doesn’t want you to, either!)
Foods with soy and gluten can trigger intestinal problems and allergies in your pet, and other thickeners and bulk-up ingredients contribute to feline diabetes and obesity.
Can I Make My Own Cat Treats?
You can absolutely make cat treats at home! In fact, this is probably the best route to take because:
- You know what goes into them
- You know how they are made
- Flavors can be customized according to your cat’s preferences
- You can create a specialized treat according to their dietary restrictions
- They will be fresher than purchased treats
There are plenty of recipes online that will guide you through a step-by-step process for mixing and baking, and many use all-natural, whole superfoods that are cat-safe favorites. Just be sure to keep in mind your cat’s own needs and likes while researching!
While you’re at it, why not add a little CBD Oil for Cats and Dogs to boost the quality of treat-time with the power of all-natural hemp seed oil and broad-spectrum CBD oil? A few drops can do wonders for your kitty’s gut, heart, and joints!
Where Can I Find the Best Natural Cat Treats?
You can find natural cat treats right here at HolistaPet! We manufacture our treats to be non-GMO, gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free with no unnecessary preservatives added. Best of all, we include CBD in all our products to help promote wellness and contentment for kitties using specially formulated recipes and premium ingredients.
HolistaPet’s CBD Cat Treats are a fan favorite for a standard cat treat because of their delicious salmon flavor and chicken protein crunchy goodness. For those that need a little help with chewing, we offer CBD Calming Chews for felines that are softer and easier on the teeth. The CBD works with their stomach to promote good digestion and calm anxious cats.
Final Thoughts – Cat Treats
While cat treats cannot replace meals, they can be a great complimentary goody to give your kitty to show them a little extra love. Foods rich in protein, fish oil, and amino acids contribute to your cat’s health, and treats can be a way to help boost those numbers.
Adding a little extra to your cat’s diet—like some CBD oil for cats — can do a lot, in the long run, to keep your furry friend happy and healthy for a long time. Feeding our pets the right stuff is a good way to show we love them and a great way to spoil them with a tasty morsel at the same time!