Resource Center Menu

Five Creative Ways to "Treat" Your Cat or Kitten

As a pet parent, you’re likely aware of the problem of feline obesity as well as the news stories about recalled pet treats. For these reasons, it’s sometimes hard to determine the best choices for giving treats to your cat or kitten. What kind of treats should you give them? How often? Every day? Not at all?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends that treats should account for less than 5 percent of a cat or kitten’s overall daily nutrition, so moderation is important. But it’s widely accepted that treats are an excellent tool for cat training or earning their trust, and it’s natural that you’ll want to provide your cat with an occasional treat from time to time.

Let’s check out five creative ways to treat your cat or kitten:

Commercial cat treats

A wide range of cat treats are available on the market, which means that you have plenty of choices when browsing store shelves or online. The variety of options might seem overwhelming—there are weight-management treats, all-natural treats, hairball management treats, dental treats, grain-free treats, and many others—but most importantly, you’ll want to thoroughly read the ingredient label so that you’ll know exactly what you’re feeding your cat. Premium cat treats tend to have higher quality ingredients and offer more nutrition than less-expensive versions.

Homemade cat treats

Don’t underestimate your skills as a cat treat chef! It’s not hard to make your own homemade cat treats, and the process provides you with the benefit of knowing every ingredient that is included in the treats. Browse the internet for cat treat recipes. You might be surprised by the number of delicious options that your cat or kitten could enjoy and the fun that you can have creating the treats. (You’ll want to minimize your cat’s intake of salty ingredients, so be aware of this while preparing treats.)

Simple cat treats

Cat treats don’t have to be complicated. Sometimes a simple approach is best. While fruits and vegetables should only be fed in extreme moderation—a tiny bit of broccoli, banana, or corn, for example—they can provide a diverse alternative to other types of cat treats. But don’t inadvertently feed your cat something that could be potentially toxic. Cats should never be fed chocolate, grapes, raisins, tomatoes, avocados, or onions.

Think outside the box

When you want to reward your cat, it’s easy to automatically think of a treat, but time spent with a toy can be just as rewarding to a cat. Surprise them with a new toy on occasion, or look for objects that can double as a treat and a toy. For example, an ice cube can make a fun treat for your cat, especially on a hot summer day. It provides delightful entertainment for your cat as they chase it around the room.

Provide quality time

For a change of pace, occasionally exchange a high-calorie treat for one that won’t add unnecessary pounds to your cat—give them your undivided attention! Spending quality time with your cat can increase your mutual bond and provide a unique reward that can’t be matched by any snack.