We all love to pamper our purry pets. One way to do so is to reward them for good (or cute) behavior with cat treats. While pets and affection are also welcome, shaking a bag of cat treats just a tiny bit and you’ll see how much our feline friends appreciate being treated with delicious nibbles. While it’s fine to treat your pet in moderation, keep in mind that over 57% of U.S. cats are considered overweight or obese by veterinary professionals, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
So while treats are fun, they should only make up a mere 10% of a felines daily diet. Reading cat treat labels is a good start to ensure they don’t contain too much fat, sodium, and empty calories. Here are a few tips to keep the cat treats safe and in moderation:
1. No-no to begging
Begging can become an issue when cats decide they like they’re treats more than they like their cat food. Remember, a healthy, protein-rich cat food should make up 90% of you feline’s daily diet. While cat treats should only encompass a mere 10%. So if your cat is begging at the dinner table, do your best to ignore it. If you treat them when they beg, you’re only rewarding and reinforcing the behavior.
2. People food is not treats
Sometimes cats that get a taste for people food (aka: your morning yogurt) suddenly decide they’d rather eat like humans instead of cats. However, many people foods are not only dangerous for pets, causing indigestion and stomach upset, many people foods can be downright toxic. While you may love sipping coffee, tea, or beer, or eating onions, garlic, and grapes, these foods are well-known toxins for cats. Meaning if they consume them, they can have fatal effects.
3. Non-food treats
Believe it or not there are plenty of other ways to treat you cat aside from feeding them. For instance, praise, pets, belly rubs, a game of laser pointer, or a little catnip (or cat grass) can be a great reward in fresh or dried varieties. Both are safe for most cats, even if most of the time the cat throws them back up (regurgitation) on the carpet.
4. Limiting cat treats
Overweight cats need a little bit of tough love. Althogh it may break your heart to hear your cat caterwalling for food or treats, the added calories are doing an obese feline no favors. Instead, consult a vet to check what the daily recommended calories should be for your cat at his or her ideal weight and get them to develop a safe and slightly restrictive diet to help your cat get down to a healthy weight.