When it comes to cat treats, they should be just that…treats! Statistics show that 55% of cats are overweight or obese, and part of the problem is the number and quality of treats we’re giving our cats.
Yes, cat treats are small, so many cat guardians believe they can give a handful and it’s no problem. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Treats do have calories, many of them 3 calories each, and giving a handful of them several times a day can put weight on cats quickly.
Calories from treats should compromise only 10% of your cat’s daily intake. For example, if your cat weighs 10 pounds, his calorie allowance may be 200 calories daily. If his daily allowance is 200 calories, the treat calories allowance should be a maximum of 20 calories a day. When shopping for treats, check the bag for calorie counts per treat, and use that number to determine how many to feed and not blow your cat’s “diet” for the day.
When looking for cat treats, keep in mind it is not a good idea to give your cat treats made for dogs. The treats may contain ingredients that are not safe for cats. Other ingredients to avoid are onions, garlic, processed meats such as deli meat or rotisserie chicken that are high in fat and sodium, and meat flavored baby food because it may contain onion or garlic powder.
If your cat has a food allergy, keep this in mind when shopping for treats. Many treats are seafood flavored, and I have to be careful when buying treats for my cat Marty. He likes seafood, but it causes skin problems for him any time he eats even the small amount contained in a treat.
Above all, keep in mind that treats should be given for special occasions, or if working on training with your cat. If you don’t want to get into a treat “habit” with your cat, avoid them altogether, that way he won’t miss them!