Cats of all ages love treats. Many pawrents will agree that treats are a daily indulgence for their kitties and the same may apply to you and your furry kids. As such, it’s important to put some thought into choosing the best cat treats - a cat treat with a healthy purpose.
Some treats are more “functional” than others. These treats can do your cat some good. Your kitties may reap some health benefits from these cat treats – from helping to reduce hairballs to improving overall health. Here are some yummy functional cat treats that your cat will enjoy, and they may even help to improve kitties’ quality of life.
Cat dental treats
Your cat’s dental health is very important to his overall well-being. The best way to keep your cat’s teeth clean is with daily brushing. If daily brushing is a challenge, one of these no-brushing teeth cleaning solutions can be helpful. These no-brushing solutions are typically gel or foam that you apply to each side of your cat’s mouth daily for teeth cleaning.
Even then, some fussy cats dislike the taste of these gels and will avoid it like a plague! This is when dental treats can be helpful. As with most treats, cats love them, and they help keep your cat’s mouth cleaner in between brushing. This Greenies Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor Dental Cat Treats is not just a great tasting snack. It features a unique shape that helps scrape away plaque and tartar as your cat chews on these delicious morsels. This dental cat treats promote healthy teeth and gums by supporting good oral hygiene between regular brushings.
Omega-3 cat treats
Omega-3 promotes healthy skin and coat. They give your cat a fuller, shinier coat and may even help to reduce shedding. These fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are a great choice for cats who have allergies or suffer from dry skin or hotspots. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to keep your cat’s immune system functioning optimally. With an immune system operating the way it should, your cat can better fight off minor colds and viruses. For young kittens, keeping their immune system strong may even prevent more serious health concerns as they age. For seniors with joint pain, the anti-inflammatory component of omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce joint pain and improve seniors’ range of motion.
Oily fish like salmon and sardines are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Freeze-dried sardines like this Freeze Dry Australia Whole Sardines Freeze Dried Cat & Dog Treats are naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the best cat treats for both kittens and senior cats. Single-ingredient, freeze-dried treats like this is also one of the healthiest cat treats you can give your kitty as they contain no fillers and the freeze-drying process retains most of the nutrients.
Hairball control cat treats
Felines get hairballs when they groom themselves or other cats and swallow hair, which they are unable to digest. Small amounts of hair usually pass harmlessly through a cat's digestive tract, but too much hair can ball up and become trapped inside the stomach. The hairball may be "coughed up" (vomited up and out of the stomach).
Daily brushing is a great way to reduce the amount of hair your cat swallows while it grooms itself. Feeding kitty a hairball control cat treat may help too. Here’s a hairball control cat treat - Kit Cat Fillet Fresh Chicken & Fiber Hairball Cat Treat to help with hairball management. It contains extra fiber to help prevent or eliminate hairballs and support your cat’s digestive health.
Digestive support cat treats
You can give your cat a probiotic supplement for his digestive health. But there are also nutrient-rich, wholefood treats that can help to support your cat’s digestion. One of these digestive support superfoods is the green tripe. Tripe is the stomach lining of ruminant animals such as cows, goats, sheep, and deer. Green tripe means the tripe is raw and has not been scalded or bleached. Raw green tripe is packed with nutrients, digestive enzymes, fatty acids, and probiotics that can boost your cat’s immune system.
Tripe that you find in the supermarket is “cleaned” and has lost most of the enzymes, probiotics, and fatty acids. You want to feed kitty the raw, green tripe and a good place to start is with freeze-dried green tripe treats like this MEOW Beef Green Tripe Freeze Dried Cat Treats. The gentle freeze-drying process protects all the natural enzymes and nutrients, so none of the wholesome goodness of the tripe is cooked out.
Multi-nutrient cat treats
Some cat treats are formulated to be nutritionally complete, almost as good as kitty’s complete and balanced cat food. These treats are nutrient-dense, and often include various superfoods for additional health benefits.
This Absolute Holistic Air Dried Cat Treats is one such multi-nutrient cat treats. It’s protein-rich with added New Zealand green mussels for joint support, kelp powder for thyroid support, parsley powder for fresher breath, and inulin to aid in digestion.
These multi-nutrient healthy cat treats can be used as training treats or even as a meal topper on your cat’s dry kibble, for that additional nutritional boost.
Whichever cat treats you and your kitty decides on, moderation is key. Treats should only be a tiny part of a cat’s diet, even healthy functional cat treats. Cat treats should only be in the range of 5-10% of your cat’s total caloric intake. Some human food like pumpkin, eggs, carrots, cranberries, and goji berries makes great healthy treats too but steer clear of anything containing onions, garlic, leeks, chives, grapes, raisins, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and tea. Finally, always monitor how your cat responds to a new food item. Dietary intolerances (e.g., lactose intolerance) or allergies are always a possibility, even with healthy cat treats.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.