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With so many cat treats out there, how will you know which ones are right for your pet? There seems to be a treat for every purpose--from plain traditional treats to training to dental health to joint health to natural organic treats to other functional treats.
One thing to remember when selecting treats is, they should never be given to replace a complete and balanced diet. Reading the treat labels and the list of ingredients is important so you will know if the treat contains something that is harmful to your pet. If you’re unsure of an ingredient or of giving your kitty a particular brand, it is recommended that you consult with your veterinarian. Cat treats should always be stored in a container that is sealed and kept in a cool, dry place to help retain their freshness.
Important Features to Consider when Selecting Treats
Cat treats are not created equal. To help pick a tasty yet healthy treat for your pet, you should consider a few important factors:
Your cat’s age, health, and activity level should be considered when choosing a treat. Overweight or obese cats should be given low-calorie treats, as do cats with sedentary lifestyles. Soft treats are better for kittens and senior cats than the crunchy variety. Cats with dental issues or hairballs can benefit from functional treats, like dental chews, hairball treats, etc.
Make a habit of checking the label and the list of ingredients. This will give you a better idea of what you are buying for your cat. You should also look out for treats that meet the AAFCO guidelines. If your cat is prone to allergies or dietary intolerance, ask for advice from your veterinarian on which treats are appropriate for your pet.
Cats can be picky when it comes to food and treats. There may be a need to have your cat try different textures and flavors before finding the right one he enjoys.
Some pet owners choose natural cat treats because these are typically free from artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors. Natural treats also contain vegetables and quality protein sources.
Pet nutritionists and veterinarians generally advise that calories from treats should never exceed 10% of a cat’s total calorie intake daily. A better target is 5%. Remember that treats are not complete and balanced, unlike premium-quality pet food. Consuming too many treats can upset a cat’s nutritional balance.
The best treats undergo minimal processing and contain maximum nutrition. Go for high-protein treats without any sugar, grains, or artificial additives. Treats should also be made of high-quality ingredients, easy to feed, super nutritious, and palatable. Choose low-calorie treats so you can give it every day without having to worry too much about your pet’s weight.
There’s no fixed rule about how often treats should be given to your pet cat as long as you don’t exceed 10% of your pet’s daily calories. Some cat parents choose to give one large treat each day, while others offer one or two kibble treats several times a day. Again, stick to the 10% rule.
Treats are not a ‘must’ in your pet’s diet. But there are instances when cats benefit from functional treats to improve their quality of life. These include the following:
There are several occasions in which treats would come in handy:
Cats always look forward to a bite of their favorite treats. Treat time is also an excellent opportunity to connect with your kitty. Whether you are being generous with traditional treats or offering functional treats to your furball any time of the day, treats sure do make life better for your pet.