Cat treats are a fun subject for you and your cat!

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Treats help to reinforce the bond you share with your pet.

best cat food

Cats are natural hunters and they naturally assume that you are, too. When you feed a tasty titbit now and then, your cat will see it as you sharing what you’ve “hunted” – even if you just hunted for the right treats at your local pet store or veterinary clinic! Since cats normally only share food willingly with closely-bonded family members, this kind of treat sharing helps remind your cat just how special you think they are. Just one or two treats a day, maybe when you return home from work or an outing, are enough to help them feel closer to you.

Treats are nutrition, too

Too many treats – or the wrong kind – can jeopardise your cat’s health and weight loss success or even cause excess weight gain. Here’s a little human comparison chart to show just how unhealthy some commonly-fed cat “treats” can be:

4kg cat (238kcal/day)

Average adult (165cm tall, 2000kcal/day)

14g cheese

= 1 hamburger & small French fries

100ml milk

=  4 cookies

1 slice of salami

= 1 packet of crisps & 28g cheese

 

Some human foods are poisonous or toxic for cats, especially chocolate or anything containing caffeine. Ask your vet for a full list of human foods that should never be given to cats, but to be on the safe side it’s best to avoid giving human foods to your cat.

Cats’ digestion and body function is quite different from humans, so they should be fed a treat that’s formulated just for them. However, just because something is “for cats” doesn’t mean it's the best choice for your cat. Be sure to read labels carefully before you buy. Healthy treats will help to not only reinforce your special bond, but also give you the peace of mind knowing that you’re supporting their overall health even when giving a treat.

Playing with food

In addition to supporting better health and reinforcing your pet-owner bond, healthy cat treats can also help you exercise your cat! Cats rarely exercise themselves, often preferring a soft spot in the sun, so it’s up to you to keep them spry. Here are a few ideas to get you started, but feel free to create your own games just for you and your cat to share.

Play Hide and Seek: Stash a few treats around the house and watch as your cat hunts around to find the hidden goodies. Hide the treats in their favourite places to start out with, and adjust the game to suit age and condition. Increase the complexity once your cat is ready so they won’t get bored or frustrated. If in good physical condition, hide treats in areas where they really have to reach and leap, encouraging playing for longer which burns off excess calories.

Try your hand at “Lion Taming”: Set up a few chairs in a circle, or use the table, sofa and other handy items. Once you’ve got your “circus ring” safely set up, encourage your cat to jump up onto different surfaces on command. You can do this by setting a treat on the surface you’d like them to jump to next while repeating a cue such as “up” or “sofa” and touching the surface. See how fast you can get them to learn a sequence – sofa, chair, cat tree, floor, and repeat! Once they’ve got the hang of it, try going a few rounds without a treat so you don’t over-feed, but be sure to end the game with a treat to reward the efforts. Shhh – don’t tell your cat that this is really a workout!

You can also try using a treat-dispensing ball or toy to keep them thinking and moving. Cats have a strong instinct to chase and hunt, and this will be a great outlet for that kind of energy. Be on hand to help out if the toy or your cat gets stuck under the sofa or caught up on the rug.

Using high-quality low fat or low calorie treats or kibble is key, since these help support weight loss success and helps prevent weight gain.

Keep them on their toes, strengthen your bond, and exercise your cat’s problem-solving skills at the same time through some fun games. Get creative! Your cat will find the treats motivating, while you stay entertained by the antics.

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