Cats, like us humans, are naturally greedy. With the development of the food industry for our pets, our little companions have become accustomed to being spoiled, just as we have become accustomed to regularly pleasing them with a small treat. However, we should not give them just any treat, let us not forget that a cat’s stomach is not at all suitable for human food, and will not be able to properly digest what we can ourselves eat. Worse yet, some substances can even be fatal to our feline friends.
Pleasing your cat is not bad in itself, but it is important to know what to spoil them with, in order to be able to pamper them while respecting their food needs without making them sick.
Cat treats you should avoid at all costs
The stomach of cats is therefore not able to digest just about anything, especially products from human food. It will therefore be necessary to be very careful and avoid giving them certain foods, at the risk of making them sick, or even causing them to develop serious health problems such as diabetes, among others. Here is a list of what not to give your cat:
- chocolate : it is well known, chocolate is absolutely not digestible for our four-legged friends, dogs or cats. Indeed, chocolate is made with cocoa, a bean that contains a molecule, theobromine, which is highly toxic to our feline friends. Plus, while humans can digest this molecule in two to three hours, cats digest it in about 18 hours. Fortunately, it is rare for a cat to accept chocolate when presented to it.
- sugar: any sweet food will be bad for the cat. Unfortunately, there are some low-quality cat treats, often sold in supermarkets, that contain a slight amount of sugar to make them more palatable. So check the composition on the packets of treats carefully, especially when you buy them in non-specialized stores, because sugar can be a major factor in the development of diabetes in cats.
- salt : just like in humans, too much salt can be very bad for the health of our feline friends. Indeed, it damages the kidneys and strongly dehydrates. We humans have a liver that is much more efficient at filtering this substance than cats. So be careful not to give them salty foods, such as a slice of country ham for example, which is often much too salty for them.
- spicy foods: the spices that we love to use in simmering small dishes and which are sometimes even beneficial for our health, are much less so for our four-legged friends. So avoid giving them at the end of the meal containing chili or another spice that is too strong, which could cause serious heartburn to your cat.
Treats to give sparingly
There are treats that we can give to our cats and that they will appreciate, but which should not be abused because they are too fatty but also because their energy composition will not be used to provide them with a suitable food supplement. It will therefore only be a “pleasure bonus” to be given in moderation, which will not bring much to your cat:
- some fish: it is well known, cats love fish but it is better if it is not too fatty and that it contains enough protein to provide it with a suitable nutritional intake, like lean tuna that will be fed raw, as well as some white fish; but beware, some other fish will be too fatty. This is the case, for example, with salmon which is basically a fish with fatty flesh, and if it is of industrial origin, fed with animal meal and other processed foods, its flesh becomes rather bad in terms of nutritional intake. The same goes for canned tuna, which also sometimes contains salt: check the ingredients on the can before offering it to your cat.
- some industrial treats: you will need to know the difference between good quality treats, which provide a food supplement for the cat by their composition, and poor quality treats, which contain nutrients that are sometimes bad for your cat’s health. Thus, checking the composition on the package is essential in order to avoid those that contain:
- appetizing substances.
The ideal treats for your cat
As you will have understood, the treats to give to your cat can be found in specialized stores. They can be found in various forms, whether in sticks, kibbles or in the form of a toy, regardless of the moment that we find these few acronyms that prove their good nutritional quality:
- without added chemicals: whether they are preservatives, dyes or appetizing substances, these kinds of chemicals will not benefit your cat and will even be bad for his health,
- natural product (or organic): the natural origin of a food, delicacy or not, means that the product comes from nature (plant, mineral, animal) without having been transformed while organic products have not received any harmful chemicals, necessarily found in the final product thus making it less qualitative,
- respectful manufacturing: this term means that during the manufacturing process, the essential flavors and nutrients of the products that make up the treat have been preserved; this is for example the case of freeze-dried candies,
- no added sugar: this is the basis for checking the quality of a treat, it is preferable to choose a treat without added sugars anyway, simply to avoid long-term health problems such as diabetes,
- 100% pure meat or fish: poor quality treats are often made from carcasses or so-called “non-consumable” parts, such as rooster legs or feathers for example. If you choose treats containing this acronym, you will be sure that they are made from good pieces of meat or fish that can be eaten by a human.
These treats that have just been listed are certainly more expensive, but this price comes from their good quality, which will prevent your cat from developing a disease due to malnutrition, which will have a cost to treat in the long term.
How often to give treats
Even though these are the best quality treats possible, let’s not forget that this is still an extra. The treats are in most cases more fatty than the croquettes, it will therefore be necessary to give them sparingly to your cat, namely once or twice a day at most. Just as you wouldn’t feed a child two packets of cake a day, so do a cat.
If you are in a period of education and you use treats to stimulate it, prefer light kibbles. There are even treats made for education that are very low in fat.