Your cat loves treats. If you purchase commercial treats and shake the bag or box, they probably come running.
Commercial treats can be expensive, however, and they are not always the healthiest foods to be feeding your feline friend. That’s why we’ve offered some suggestions for healthy homemade cat treats that will make your kitty purr.
Just remember to check with your veterinarian to see if these treats are okay, especially if your cat has any medical problems.
Treats Made from Cat Food
One of the easiest ways to make sure that your cat is getting the nutrition they need from their treats is to make treats from the cat food they already like.
Canned cat food is ideal for making treats. If your cat eats a lot of them, you won’t have to worry that they will gain weight or get too much fat or too little protein; simply feed them a bit less at the next feeding. These treats are also excellent for encouraging a reluctant eater’s appetite.
If you purchase pâté-style canned food, you can open the can and dump out the contents on to a plate. Then…
- Slice the loaf into 1/4” slices.
- Either microwave the slices in a single layer for about 3 minutes or bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If you are baking them, you can use a spritz of cooking spray or keep them on parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Once the treats are crispy, break or cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Voila! Homemade cat treats that require minimal effort.
You can also roll pâté-style canned food into little balls and freeze them on wax paper. Once frozen, you can transfer them to a zipper bag and store them in the freezer. When you want to give your cat some treats, just take out a few and either serve frozen or, if your cat doesn’t like that, bake or microwave as described above. You might have to add a bit more time since they were frozen.
Treats Made From Table Food
It’s best not to feed your cat a lot of food from the table. Many human foods contain salt, sugar, and other substances that your cat shouldn’t have. Still, you can give your cat some of these items sparingly as long as your veterinarian approves. Keep in mind that if your cat has any health problems, feeding them any table foods at all can be dangerous. Be sure to check in with your vet for specific advice.
- Cheese. Cats tend to love cheese. The type of cheese your cat likes best will depend on your cat, so try a few different kinds to see what their favorite is. Keep in mind, however, that cheese is high in fat, so you should only offer a few bites on any given day.
- Canned fish. Tuna, mackerel, and salmon are all available in cans, and most cats will come running if they smell any of them. Do be aware that these usually contain salt, so it is advisable to limit your kitty’s consumption. Still, if you have a reluctant eater or you need to coax your cat out from under a bed, a whiff of canned fish will usually do the trick. Note, however, that if your cat has a tendency to produce crystals in their urine, tuna is not recommended.
- Cooked poultry. If you have some plain chicken or turkey breast, you can cube it up for your cat. Don’t give kitty any poultry (or anything else) that contains onion or garlic powder, however, since those are toxic to cats. You can sprinkle tiny cubes or shreds of cooked poultry on top of your cat’s dry food to entice them to eat or you can use them as treats.
- Sliced black olives. This is a strange suggestion and one that not all cats will appreciate. For some cats, black olives are as enticing as catnip. They do contain fat and salt, so they shouldn’t be anything more than an occasional indulgence, but try offering your kitty a slice or two of black olives the next time you have some and observe whether they love them or are indifferent.
- Other foods your cat likes. Cats have individual tastes, so what seems like a delicacy to one cat might cause the other to give you a dirty look and retreat to the corner. If your cat comes begging for whatever you are eating, you can try giving them a bite as long as it’s nothing harmful to cats. Grapes, raisins, avocados, onion, garlic, and chocolate are definite no-nos, so mind the ingredients of whatever you are considering trying as a treat.
Finding treats to entice your cat can be a challenge because some cats are picky. Once you stumble upon a favored tidbit, keep it in mind for when you need to convince your kitty to go into the carrier, come in off the porch, or do something else they aren’t doing willingly.
Some people have even had luck teaching their cats how to do tricks!
Experiment and have fun treating your cat. And remember to check in with your veterinarian when you make any changes to your cat’s diet, especially if your feline friend has existing health problems.