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The Pros and Cons of Cat Treats

shutterstock_129096590You give your cat the same kind of food day-to-day and you may convince yourself that your kitty needs a bit of variety. This may be reinforced by the enthusiasm with which your cat greets you when you come home from the pet store and pounces on the bag to discover whether you purchased any special goodies. A typical cat food diet may seem pretty boring, but it is all the kitty really needs. Unlike humans, felines can eat a diet comprised almost entirely of meat much of the time. They cannot tolerate dairy and do not need vegetables, so a meat-based cat food is all they require. However, you may want to give your cat a treat for a little bit of variety, to reinforce good behavior or for certain health considerations, such as improving its teeth or treating hairballs. Just as with humans, judiciously distributed treats probably will not cause your cat any problems as long as they are the right kinds of treats, the right amounts, and not too frequent.

One argument against cat treats is the prevalence of obesity among felines. Fat cats are considered to be especially cute and fun to pet. The problem is that many pet owners refuse to see feline obesity as a major health problem. Cats who are obese are likely to have diabetes and other complaints and if like many older cats, may suffer from arthritis, the symptoms are exacerbated by extra weight. With the many pet owners trying to practice portion control with their overweight cats, the idea of treats might be out of the question. However, even a cat on a diet can be given treats occasionally, especially if the treats are geared toward dealing with specific health issues such as promoting dental health. Obese cats are often given diet cat food that tends to be wet food that is high protein. The drawback of this kind of food is that’s it doesn’t allow the cat to chew and use its teeth. In this situation, cat treats to give the teeth a workout they need.

Young kittens love to jump, pounce and burn many calories, they can also be rather naughty and scratch the sofa or do other things their owners are not happy with. Contrary to the popular belief that cats are immune to training, this may be true of adult cats set in their ways. Many people have been successful in training cats to avoid certain behaviors, such as destroying furniture, and this is often done with the help of treats. Aside from the regular items, you might find at the pet store is something hard-core pet owners call “kitty crack.” These are freeze-dried tuna flakes that are high in protein and are adored by cats. Avoid giving your cats human food, even though their pet food contains meat and other items people eat. The kind of chicken in your cat’s food is not, of course, the chicken that you would want to eat for dinner, and your chicken is not specially designed for cats in the form that is best for them. Give your cats only cat food and treats that are created for felines.

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