Never underestimate your cat’s spelling skills. Or the power of his nose. I bet your cat’s ears keep getting lighter every time you say the word “treat,” and she may even let out a meow that strangely sounds like “now please.”
And the cat’s nose knows that you’ve grabbed a cat treat, even if you’re both in separate rooms.
Rusty, my orange tabby, is a no-excuse cat lover who excels the rest of the cats and dogs in my house when they hear the treat word or smell the aroma from a treat container that has just been opened.
Speaking of cat food, there’s good news for cats digging treats. In recent years, making healthy and nutritious treats has been a rapidly growing trend among pet food manufacturers. Creativity in the type of ingredients is also increasing. And even so-called picky cats or cats with selective taste buds beg for the new goodies out there.
Oh wow – they’re low in calories
Dr. Ernie Ward, a leading veterinarian in pet nutrition and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, recognizes that approximately 60% of American cats are chubby or even obese.
“My top trend for cats is – and always will be – low-calorie food and treats,” says Dr. Ward, author of The Clean Pet Food Revolution. “We’re starting to see cat food manufacturers offering lower calorie formulations while maintaining the taste and texture that fussy cats demand.”
Bring fun to work
Rebecca Rose, biochemist and founder of InClover, conducted palatability tests on three major cat populations – discerning cats, shelter cats, and domestic cats – for 14 months before formulating and launching a range of functional soft chews for cats. They contain such distinctive, healthy ingredients as dandelion leaf, seaweed, blueberries, and even green tea. Each of the four treat packs are focused on a different mission, ranging from dental health to fighting hairballs to supporting the nutritional needs of older cats and improving urinary tract health.
Welcome to the new age of functional treats for cats. Trending ingredients that appear in cat treats include:
- coconut to improve digestion and to promote a healthy coat and skin.
- honey because of its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.
- turmeric to support allergies, digestion and inflammation.
- Dandelion root, rich in vitamins and iron, to support urinary and liver function in cats.
What Makes Kitty Work?
So what’s a new type of treat that your cat is cray-cray for? Catster reached out to cat parents on Facebook. Here is a selection of their cats’ delicacies:
Peggy Miller-Stephens, a professional cat sitter from Oak Harbor, Washington, says, “My kitties, Joey and Madison, are very picky, but they are addicted to (Friskies) Lil Soups and Inaba Churu (Lickable Cat Treats). Lil soups are mostly liquid and the Inaba Churu is like a paste. Her favorites are seafood flavors. “
Melanie Simmons is a fan of Pure Bite’s freeze-dried treats for her diabetic cat. “I can’t give high carbohydrate treats, so I give Pure Bites. I also have whole minnows that all of my three cats love. “
Tracy Bennett is a professional pet sitter who says Inaba Churu’s treats are the perfect reward option to give your cats Bubba and Ollie before they need to take any medication. “Bubba is on fluoxetine and Ollie is on clomipramine. I’ll buy the tuna and chicken flavors for them. “
Julia Newton from Dallas checks the ingredients on the food and treat labels for her older cat Mikey, who is 15 years old. “Since I’ve been giving him Sleek and Flow (treats from InClover), he has fewer hairballs and he has no problems using the litter box. Both also contain prebiotics. “
Sharon Melnyk, a pet writer in Berkeley, Calif., Relies on giving Morrchik, her 7-year-old cat, Vital Essentials freeze-dried rabbit bites twice a day before he gets his needed insulin to control his diabetes. “As a diabetic cat with a history of pancreatitis, this high-protein rabbit treat suits him.”
- Treats for cats | Less than 1 calorie per treat, perfect for overweight cats. High in protein. $ 6.99. Royalcanin.com
- Whole fish + | Digestive Health Chicken Free Treats, Salmon or Tuna Recipe. Contains ginger root and turmeric to aid digestion and reduce inflammation. 2 calories each. $ 5.15. Emeraldpet.com
- Inaba Churu Treats for Cats | No grain, rich in moisture, contains vitamin E and green tea extract. 6 calories per tube. $ 49.99 / 50 tubes. Chewy.com
- Smooth | Supports skin and fur; helps with hairballs; contains menhaden fish oil, biotin and coconut. 3 calories per treat. $ 18.104.22.168-oz bag. InClover.com
Homemade still makes the grade
The holistic veterinarian from Colorado, Dr. Jean Hofve, notes that two home ingredients make some cats purr: chopped anchovies and scrambled egg yolks. She says anchovies are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. Scrambled egg yolks contain an important amino acid called taurine, which cats need. (Added bonus: eggs are carbohydrate free).
“Just make sure you don’t add salt or other condiments to your cat’s scrambled eggs, and do this occasionally as a special treat,” she adds.
New age of goodies
Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, Professor, Clinical Nutrition and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Sections at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in New York, says there has never been a better time to be a cat when it comes to treats.
“Pet food companies are realizing that they need to keep improving their products, evolving, or losing their loyal customer base,” he says.
Worried kitten might wrinkle her nose if you offer her a treat that is not only good for her but also low in calories? Rebecca says, “When cats are comfortable, socialized, and happy, they’re more likely to try new foods and treats.”