Healthy Cat Treat Feeding Tips

Cat treats can be a positive part of cat training and bonding to your cat. Cat treats can add on a lot of calories and chemicals to your cat's diet which is not good for his health. There are many ways to incorporate cat treats into your cat's life without creating weight problems and other health problems. This will depend in part on the treat itself. It will also depend on the habits and patterns surrounding how you give the treat as well as other healthy practices for the longevity of your cat.

Choose a Natural Treat

Not all cat treats are created equally. Natural treats will help your cat's blood sugar stay stable and will avoid ingredients that can be harmful to your cat's health. Look for a treat that has whole ingredients and minimal processing. This means looking for ingredients such as "chicken", or "beef" and avoiding added coloring or meat by-products.

Avoid Harmful Ingredients

There are other ingredients that are harmful for cats. Corn and many fillers should be avoided along with excess sugar. Cats don't need grains. In fact, these can slow down the digestive system and contribute to weight gain. Wheat and other grains can also contribute to urinary tract infections. You also want to avoid too high a mineral content as excess minerals can also contribute to urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections.

Track Your Cat's Overall Intake

All treats add calories to your cat's diet. Too many calories can lead to weight gain and serious associated diseases. Many treats will give a recommended serving per pound of the cat's weight. So if your cat weighs 15 pounds, he might just get one treat at a time. Limit treat giving to 3 times per day at a maximum and stick to no more than 2 servings at a time, one if your cat is overweight. If the treat doesn't list the serving size, limit to 3 to 6 pieces per day that are the same size as a treat that states the serving size.

Create Other Reinforcements for Good Behavior

It's important to avoid creating an expectation that a treat will be given any time your cat does something good. Create other rewards such as a special catnip toy, a special form of affection, supervised time outside, or bringing out the cat grass in addition to a treat for rewarding good behavior. 

Avoid Using Treats for Comfort

There are many ways to comfort a cat. If you use food for comfort or to calm your cat down, he'll start using food as his main coping mechanism for stress. If your cat seems anxious or upset, try other means of dealing with this such as affection, cleaning his litter box, or moving him into a quiet area if there are too many people around.

A healthy treat can be an important part of a healthy relationship with your cat. There are many great treats on the market to choose from, especially at a health food store or local pet store.

When you are using cat treats as part of your cat rearing practices, you need to include the caloric intake of the treat versus treating it as just a minor extra. These extras add up.