Let’s face it. You love your cat. You want the cat to be happy, so you give the cat plenty of treats and lots of affection. While cuddles are calorie-free, treats are not. Too many treats can contribute to cat obesity and health problems as a result. For this reason, and others, it’s important to be smart with how you give your cat treats. That way, your feline friend remains happy and content, without developing health issues:
1. No people food treats
Cats have different dietary needs from humans. Feeding a cat people food as a treat is not doing the cat’s health or weight any good. The better option is to use high protein cat treats instead. They fit the cat’s dietary needs better and are less likely to cause weight gain.
2. Overfeeding treats
Did you know that cats can develop diabetes just like humans? Feline diabetes is most often caused by obesity. Overfeeding a cat is never a good idea because it can easily cause a weight problem. Instead, limit treats to specific situations and give only a couple.
3. Avoid harmful foods
Some human foods can be deadly to cats or cause severe illness. Avoid giving your cat grapes, raisins, onions, alcohol, tea, salt, garlic, chocolate, raw dough, and foods that contain artificial sweeteners. If you aren’t sure if a food is safe for cats, don’t feed it to your feline friend.
4. Don’t give in to begging
Many cats will turn on the charm, if there is the possibility of a treat being given. A rub on the leg. A purr in the ear. A bump with the head. A jump in the lap. Don’t give in to begging. It will only make the feline even more determined the next time. Treats should be given on your terms, not the cat’s.
5. Don’t substitute treats for love
Cats love attention from their humans. Substituting treats for love is a bad idea, even if you are running late or stressed out. Playing, petting, and holding displays affection to cats. A treat seems to have no association with affection in a cat’s mind.
6. Treats to establish good behavior
If you have to do something the cat isn’t going to like, use a treat as an apology. This includes trimming nails, medicating the cat, or giving it a bath. A treat helps distract and soothe the cat, lowering stress levels.
7. Treats for training
Yes, many cats can be trained. Hold a treat in front of the cat’s nose and walk it across the floor. Give the treat, stroke the fur, and praise the cat. Do it over and over again. It’s a great way to get an indoor cat walking around. You can move on to agility exercises next.