Why Should I Give My Cat Treats?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why giving your cat treats is important and how it can enhance their overall well-being.

As a cat owner, one of the joys of having a furry companion is being able to spoil them with treats. After all, what better way to show love and affection than with tasty morsels? However, as responsible pet owners, it’s natural to question if giving our feline friends treats is truly beneficial or just indulgent. In this blog post, we will dive into the reasons why treating your cat can actually have positive effects on their health and well-being. From physical benefits to strengthening the bond between you and your furry friend, let’s explore why giving your cat treats may be more important than you think! So sit back, grab a cup of tea (or should I say milk) and read on for some compelling reasons on why you should give your cat treats.

What Are Cat Treats?

Cat treats are small, delectable snacks meant to reward and engage cats, often used by pet parents for training or bonding purposes. These treats come in various forms such as crunchy biscuits, soft chews, or freeze-dried morsels. Made with a variety of flavors, including fish, chicken, beef, and sometimes even fruits or vegetables, they are designed to appeal to the carnivorous instinct of cats. However, while they can add a nice variety to a cat’s diet, they should be given sparingly as they are not a substitute for balanced, nutritious cat food.

Why Should I Give My Cat Treats?

Giving your cat treats can serve various purposes and can be beneficial for both you and your feline companion. Here are some reasons why you might consider giving your cat treats:

– Reward for Good Behavior: Treats can be used as a positive reinforcement tool for training and encouraging good behavior. When your cat exhibits desired actions or follows commands, offering a treat can reinforce those behaviors.

– Bonding and Affection: Sharing treats can be a bonding experience between you and your cat. It provides an opportunity for positive interactions and can strengthen the human-animal bond.

– Training Purposes: Treats are often used to train a cat in learning new tricks, commands, or behaviors. The positive association with treats motivates cats to learn and engage in training sessions.

– Special Occasions: Treats can be given on special occasions or celebrations, such as your cat’s birthday or adoption anniversary. It adds a festive element and makes these moments memorable for both you and your cat.

– Medication Administration: Some cats may be more willing to take medication if it’s hidden in a tasty treat. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure that using treats for medication is appropriate for your cat’s specific needs.

– Dental Health: Dental treats with a crunchy texture can help promote oral health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. However, they should not replace regular dental care, such as toothbrushing.

– Encouraging Picky Eaters: If your cat is a picky eater or is transitioning to a new diet, using treats as a reward or supplement can help make the process smoother. Choose treats that are complementary to the new diet.

– Interactive Play: Some treats are designed for interactive play, encouraging your cat to “hunt” or work for the treat. This mimics natural hunting behaviors and provides mental stimulation.

– Weight Management: Treats formulated for weight management can be given in controlled portions to help your cat maintain a healthy weight. Always consider the caloric content of treats in your cat’s overall diet.

– Show of Love and Care: Offering treats is a way to express your love and spoil your cat. It’s a positive and enjoyable experience that contributes to your cat’s overall well-being.

How Many Treats Should I Give My Cat?

The quantity of treats you should give your cat depends on various factors, including the cat’s size, age, health, and the type of treat. As a general guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of your cat’s daily caloric intake. For many average-sized cats, this equates to about 8 to 10 treats per day. However, it’s important to consult with your vet to determine the appropriate quantity for your specific cat, as excessive treats can contribute to obesity and other health issues.

Are There Different Types Of Cat Treats?

Yes, there are several types of cat treats available in the market, each with unique characteristics and uses:

  • Crunchy Treats: These are biscuit-like treats that provide a satisfying crunch. They are often useful for maintaining dental hygiene as they can help scrape off plaque from a cat’s teeth.
  • Soft Chews: These treats are softer and easier for cats to eat. They can be helpful for older cats or those with dental problems.
  • Freeze-Dried Treats: Made by freezing and then dehydrating raw meat, these treats offer a taste close to a cat’s natural diet.
  • Dental Treats: Specifically designed to promote oral health, these treats often have a unique texture intended to clean cat teeth and freshen a cat’s breath.
  • Hairball Control Treats: These contain ingredients such as fiber to help manage hairballs in cats.
  • Joint Health Treats: Formulated with ingredients like glucosamine, these treats are designed to support joint health, particularly in older cats.
  • Interactive Treats: These are meant to be used with special cat toys that dispense treats, encouraging play and providing mental stimulation.

Always remember, treats should complement a balanced diet, not replace meals, and the quantity should be controlled to prevent health issues.

What Ingredients Should I Look For In Cat Treats?

When choosing cat treats, it’s crucial to look for ones with high-quality ingredients that contribute to your cat’s health. Here are some ingredients to look for:

  • High-quality proteins: Ingredients like chicken, turkey, salmon, or beef should be listed first, indicating they are the primary ingredient. Cats are carnivores, so their treats should reflect that.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Often found in fish like salmon or sardines, these support a healthy coat and skin.
  • Taurine: An essential amino acid for cats, taurine supports heart and eye health.
  • Fiber: Particularly in hairball control treats, fiber helps maintain healthy digestion.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Look for treats fortified with essential vitamins and minerals for overall health.
  • Natural ingredients: Opt for treats with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Remember to avoid treats with high amounts of corn, soy, grains, or sugars, as these can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

How Do I Store Cat Treats?

Proper storage of cat treats is necessary to maintain their freshness and nutritional value. Here are some tips:

Sealable Packaging: Always keep cat treats in their original packaging if it is resealable. Manufacturers design these packages specifically to preserve the product’s freshness.

Airtight Containers: If the original packaging isn’t resealable, transfer the treats to an airtight container. This can be a plastic container, tin, or a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Cool and Dry Place: Store the treats in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Excessive heat or moisture can degrade the quality of the treats and cause them to spoil.

Refrigeration: Some specific types of cat treats, especially those made with fresh meat or requiring refrigeration after opening, should be stored in the refrigerator.

Check Expiry Date: Always check the expiry date before feeding treats to your cat. Discard any treats that are past their expiration date.

Are There Any Health Concerns With Giving Cats Treats?

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While cat treats can be a fun way to engage and bond with your pet, there are potential health concerns if not used appropriately:

Obesity: Given the high-calorie content in many treats, excessive consumption can lead to weight gain and obesity in cats, which can further lead to diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

Malnutrition: If treats replace regular meals, cats can miss out on essential nutrients needed for their overall health.

Dental Problems: Some treats, particularly those high in sugar, can contribute to dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Digestive Issues: Ingesting too many treats can disrupt a cat’s digestive system, leading to problems like diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation.

Allergies: Some cats may be allergic to certain ingredients in treats, causing reactions ranging from skin irritations to digestive disturbances.

Choking Hazard: Certain types of treats, especially those that are hard or large, could pose a choking risk.

Read more: Why Won’t My Cat Eat Treats?

Can I Use Treats For Training My Cat?

Yes, treats can be an effective tool for training your cat. Below are some uses and tips for training your cat using treats:

Positive Reinforcement: Use treats as a reward for good behavior or successful learning of a new command or trick. This encourages them to repeat the action in the future.

Clicker Training: This method pairs the clicker sound with a treat. Soon, your cat will associate the sound with a reward, making it a powerful tool for teaching new behaviors.

Lure and Reward: Use a treat to lure your cat into a desired position or action, such as sitting or jumping. After they perform the action, give them the treat.

Distraction: In stressful or uncomfortable situations, treats can serve as a distraction and help to calm your cat down.

Bonding: Sharing treats can help strengthen the bond between you and your cat by associating you with positive experiences.


In conclusion, whether you are a new cat owner or have had furry feline companions for years, giving your cat treats can have numerous benefits. Not only do treats provide important nutrients for your cat’s overall health and well-being, but they also serve as a way to bond with your beloved pet and enhance their training. By choosing high-quality and nutritious treats from trusted brands, you can ensure that your cat is getting the best possible snacks. However, it is crucial to remember moderation and proper portion control when it comes to giving treats to your cat. These delightful pieces should be given as rewards or special indulgences rather than their main source of sustenance. To find the perfect treat for your kitty, consult with your veterinarian and explore various flavors and types that meet their individual dietary needs.