Pet owners enjoy lavishing their pets with treats and affection. Although one can never provide too much love, cat snacks are different stories. Cats, like humans, can acquire weight problems. An estimated 57 percent of cats are overweight or obese, according to a survey published by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Pet owners know that treats are ways to express care when they provide them with their favorite enticements.
What Constitutes a Healthy Cat Treats?
Moderation is essential. Treats are acceptable to give to one’s cat, but they “should be a very minimal part of the diet,” says Marla J. McGeorge, DVM, an Oregon doctor who primarily treats cats.
How little is it? Many experts recommend that cat treats account for no more than 10% of a cat’s overall calorie intake. According to McGeorge, this is because most delicacies contribute nothing but calories to a cat’s diet. The remaining 90% of one’s cat’s calories should come from high-quality, nutrient-dense cat food.
Cat Treats: How to Read the Labels
It can be challenging to figure out what’s in packaged cat snacks. “The label information might require a lot of improvement,” McGeorge. Not all nutrients are stated on cat food labels, and a no-calorie count usually is provided. Contact the pet food manufacturer or consult one’s veterinarian to determine how many calories are in one cat’s treats.
Are Treats Harmful To Cats?
Most cat snacks are unhealthy since they are heavy in carbs and include low-quality meat ingredients. Cats become addicted to treats due to flavor enhancers sprinkled on dry meals. Fresh, raw meat is the cat’s natural diet, and cats do not eat grains on purpose. As a result, most dry foods, including snacks, are sprayed with abandoned restaurant grease and flavor enhancers.
Tips For Healthy Cat Treats:
- Keep moderation in mind: Cats, like humans, can develop a taste for snacks and may choose to forego their diet in favor of the treats they enjoy. As a result, Susan G. Wynn, DVM, CVA, a veterinary nutritionist in Georgia, recommends feeding treats no more than two or three times per week to keep them interesting.
- Take it easy on the “people food.”: Cat foods are developed to offer the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that a cat requires for optimal health; therefore, “people food” should be limited to a small portion of one’s cat’s diet. Try little pieces of cheese or cooked tuna, chicken, fish, or liver as an occasional pleasure.
- Make a green choice: Catnip makes an excellent cat treat because it is low in calories. Most cats enjoy catnip and “cat grass,” a cereal grass similar to wheat or oats. Both rewards are simple to cultivate in a sunny window and dried, and fresh greens may be found in pet stores.
- Toxic foods should be avoided: We may enjoy raisins, grapes, onions, alcohol, salt, and tea, but these and other common foods can be poisonous to cats. If one is unsure if a treatment is safe, consult one’s veterinarian before giving it to one’s cat.
- Overweight cats require special attention: There’s no getting around it: cat treats include calories. However, according to McGeorge, removing rewards will not help an overweight cat. She advises getting one’s cat checked by a veterinarian, who will devise a safe diet plan to help one’s cat reduce weight “slowly and cautiously.” Rapid weight loss in an overweight cat might result in hepatic lipidosis, a dangerous liver illness.”
- Apologize with cat goodies: Try rewarding one cat with treats after performing an unpleasant task, such as claw trimming, tooth brushing, or administering medication. Along with praise and affection, this can help to calm a kitty who has been compelled to do something unpleasant.
- Cat snacks should not be used to replace love: Cats have a few requirements: healthy nutrition, a safe home, and loving care. When one has pressed for time, it’s easy to believe that a handful of goodies will create the same bond as stroking or cuddling.
When choosing cat treats, first understand their pet’s health goals. If they have a weight problem, consider treats that are lower in calories. It is always a good idea to make sure the treats don’t contain any ingredients that may be harmful to the pet. This way, their treats are both healthy and enjoyable.