A lot of indoor cats are becoming obese or too fat.
Elizabeth Xum noted in “6 Healthy Treat Ideas for Cats” noted that most owners would give extra treats to their cats because they missed them so much after a hard day’s work.
But she warned that cat experts have said too many treats can be harmful to cats.
She quoted Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM, who said, “Obesity is a huge problem in both dogs and cats. It has been shown that obesity is linked to major medical problems in both dogs and cats including cancer, degenerative joint disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and decreased life expectancy and quality of life. The most commonly seen cause of obesity in pets is overfeeding—particularly overfeeding treats.”
Xu said you can still give treats to your pets “but you should think about when you treat and how much you give each time. Giving healthy treats to a cat might seem like the obvious answer, but it’s a little harder to treat cats than dogs, says Dr. Amy Farcas, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist with Veterinary Nutrition Care in California.”
Farcas stressed that cats will likely not eat fruits or vegetable although owners may think these are good for animals.
Xu listed six healthy treats for cats:
1. Small pieces of lean meat
Xu stressed cats need amino acids from protein. Cats appreciate meat too.
Some cats love meat but some also look for…
2. Their kibble
This may not seem like such a treat but “Your cat already enjoys their kibble and this is one way to give them fewer calories, “ Xu said.
“Try setting aside some of your dog or cat’s food to allocate as a ‘treat’ throughout the day. This will eliminate excess calories. Make sure that all members of the household are on board with the amount to avoid overfeeding,” Barrack said.
3. Dried liver
Cats can be given dried liver but in moderation.
4. Wet cat food
Cats love kibble, and a number of cats love canned or wet cat food.
5. Commercial treats
“If you enjoy preparing treats for your cat, it can be a part of the bonding experience,” Farcas said.
Farcas added: “But if you don’t, there’s no need to worry that commercial treats are necessarily unhealthy. A cat’s needs are individual, so check with your veterinarian to see what they recommend.”
The best treat will always be affection. Cats crave a pat on the head as a late night snack. They also love playing and being walked.
“Luckily, cats are a little different—they don’t always need the treat to know you love them or that they’ve done something good, Xu said.
Limit the treats you give them.
“Even if you’re feeding an item that’s considered to be healthy, it’s still considered an unbalanced food item because it doesn’t provide that whole package that a complete diet does,” Farcas said.