We spent 36 hours researching and testing more than 15 different types of treats and found that smell, size, and packaging were the most important factors with consumers who were shopping for cat treats. KONG Natural Catnip scored high marks in all categories and is our overall top pick. King’s catnip is super high quality and is the perfect treat for your cat. All of the ingredients and the oils contained in this product are from renewable, natural resources so it is healthy for your cat. This catnip treat can be safely given to your cat every single day.
Cat Treats Buying Guide
There are many different types of cat treats on the market for cat owners to choose from. We have listed the different types below along with some information on each so you can differentiate between them when you are shopping around.
Soft Chews – Soft chew cat treats are great for filling interactive cat toys that dispense treats. They are also a good choice for older cats that have a harder time crunching up hard treats. They also are typically less expensive than other types of treats.
Freeze-dried – Freeze-dried treats are probably the most nutritional treats you can get for your cat since they are made with little to no processing. Many freeze-dried treats are made with only 1 or 2 ingredients and are not heavily processed. Freeze-dried treats are naturally low carb and have low calories per treat.
Dental treats – This type of cat treat has a specific use on top of just being a treat for your cat they are designed to improve your cat’s dental health by reducing tartar buildup. Most dental treats are going to be crunchy for maximum dental health benefits.
Functional treats – A functional cat treat is a treat that provides you cat with a health benefit of some kind. Many double as a multi-vitamin, hairball remedy, help for skin and coat, weight control, urinary health treat, help for joints, and other health benefits.
Extruded crunchy treats –This type of treat is cost effective, made with good ingredients, and offer your cat crunchy treats that are good for interactive cat toys and most casts love the flavors offered.
Factors that make a Great Cat Treat
It’s almost impossible to count all the different cat treats that are available for cat owners to choose from nowadays. Not all cat treats will be good for your cat so it is important to choose one that does not have unhealthy ingredients like wheat fillers, corn fillers, salt, and sugar. There are several things that go into a cat treat that is both good for your cat and good tasting to your cat. Some of what makes a good cat treat are:
- Great taste – your cat loves the taste and enjoys treat time
- Great nutritional value –has real ingredients and added vitamins and minerals for your cat
- Cost effective – gives you value for your money and fits your budget well.
Although it sounds easy, you may find it surprising to learn how difficult it is to find a cat treat that has all the above factors in place. A lot of cat treats that taste great to cats are not the best nutritionally. The ones that are tasty AND nutritional tend to be a lot more expensive. In our research we were able to find great cat treats that had nutrition and a taste that the majority of cats love.
Features to Look for when Purchasing a Cat Treat
When you start the shopping process for the right cat treats for your cats there are several things you want to look for. We have listed these features below.
No corn, wheat, or soy – A wild cat’s normal diet is strictly meat. The fiber a wild cat gets comes from the grass or grains that are in the stomach of their prey. Although housecats don’t have to kill their food, the dietary needs are the same as their wild ancestors. Look for treats that are made with protein and avoid those that are made with soy, wheat, and corn fillers which are not good for your cat’s health. Cats that are fed a diet high in carbs can have problems with insulin resistance, diabetes, and weight gain.
No added salt or sweeteners – There are many cat treats on the market that contain sugar or corn syrup for added flavor. Adding sugar to a cat treat is not something experts recommend at all and many say that these ingredients can be harmful to your cat’s health. Because studies and evidence show that cats can’t taste “sweet” this added sugar is really useless and more for consumer attraction than any benefit to the cat. Salt is also not a good addition for your cat and can cause dehydration which can lead to crystals forming in the urinary tract and kidney stones.
No added dyes, preservatives, and flavors – Because pet treats need to be able to stay fresh on grocery store shelves for many months, preservatives are often used. Many of these preservatives can cause health problems for your cats.
1. BHT and BHA are two artificial preservatives that are often found in cat food and cat treats. There is evidence that suggests these ingredients can be carcinogenic to your cats.
2. Artificial dyes are used by manufacturers to make the cat treats look more colorful and appealing but this is directed at the cat owner. Cats don’t care at all what color the treats are as long as they taste good.
3. Glycerin is another preservative that shows up a lot in cat treats and food. Glycerin is frequently sourced from petrolatum which has been linked to methanol contamination by the USDA. This type of glycerin is different from vegetable glycerin which is a very different and safe ingredient.
No meal or meat by-products – Meat meal and meat by-products are part of an animal carcass that is not good for humans to eat. It is hard to know the quality of these ingredients to determine if they are harmful to your pets. Because the digestibility and quality of meal and meat by products is not known it is much better for cats to not consume them.
Other Things to Look for
When sorting through all of the different cat treats on the market there are a few additional things you will want to look for.
Experiment with different types – Take a look at the different cat treats that we have featured and see what appeals to you. Keep in mind the things we have talked about in this guide and look for the healthiest cat treats you can find. You may want to try several different kinds to see which kind your cat responds to the best.
A variety of flavors – look for cat treats that offer a variety of flavors for your cat. Some cats will have allergies to one type of food and others will just prefer one taste over another. When trying different flavors pay attention to the ones that your cat loves more and offer them a variety of flavors.
Watch out for allergies – Cats can have allergies just like humans to foods that are normal for them to like including fish, chicken, or beef. Food allergy symptoms to watch out for include scratching, hair loss, and sores. If other types of allergies such as allergies to fleas have been ruled out it could be something in the cat treat that is bothering your cat. This is another reason to choose cat treats with as few ingredients as possible so you can identify which ingredient your cat is allergic to. If you feed treats that have several ingredients you may not be able to figure out which one they are actually allergic to.
Cat treats are a great addition to any cat’s diet but should not be offered more than a few times per day even if your cat is harassing you for them. If your cat loves the treats you choose you can expect to be meowed at constantly so make sure you can resist your cat’s begging and don’t give the treats to them constantly.
For the best results from your cat treats choose ones that are made from quality ingredients like the three top-rated choices we have reviewed above. Going with a cat treat like the ones that made the top of our list will ensure that you can enjoy giving them to your cat without worry or guilt that you might be offering them something that is not good for them.
The information you have learned from the buying guide includes what to look for in a great cat treat, things to watch out for, and how to choose the best quality treat that will benefit your cat rather than potentially harm them with artificial ingredients that can cause health problems down the road.
This buying guide, as well as the reviews above is designed to make the shopping process for cat treats much easier and stress-free. Almost all cat owners want to give their cats the best possible nutrition and care they can. This includes the treats you choose to feed them as well as cat food, vet care, and other things that all make up what being a great cat owner is all about.