There are treats that Kitty likes and there are treats that Kitty will do anything to get. Once your cat knows where the stash is, how do you keep his addiction under control? Sometimes it’s just easier to give in than listen to the constant meowing for treats.
It’s a nice try to say Kitty is big-boned or husky. The truth is, many cats are overweight. Just like humans, they need to cut back on the calorie intake and concentrate more on the calorie burn.
A good quality food should make up 90% of Kitty’s diet plan. Treats can make up the other 10%. That’s probably not the ratio Kitty would choose for himself so you have to stay strong in the face of a beggar.
Diet or low calorie foods make Kitty feel full but don’t add any nutrition. In fact, all that’s added is more clumps in the litter box. A few days on a good quality food will teach his system to be satisfied with less quantity because he’ll get all the vitamins and protein he needs. He won’t crave treats as much either.
A good substitute for high-calorie treats is playtime with you. Get out the old fishing pole toy or the laser pointer (don’t shine it in his eyes). Let him chase the red dot or a crumpled piece of paper for a few minutes, several times a day. He’ll burn a few calories and it will keep his mind off treats.
Move his food dish. A change of locale will also change his mindset so he won’t expect a treat as soon as he cleans his bowl.
What Kind of Treats to Give?When you do give treats, go for the kind most suited to your cat. Does he love catnip? Sprinkle some on his bedding and let him roll around. Tartar control or hairball formula treats can help if he’s had problems. Elderly cats might find soft treats easier to chew than the crunchy style. Bad breath can be relieved with chlorophyll-added treats.
Bonita tuna flakes are low fat, high protein treats. Lightweight as tissue, the flakes are smelly and easy to eat, a cat’s dream. Be careful not to overdo it though as tuna, like many fish, can contain heavy metals which can be dangerous in sufficient quantities. If Kitty has had problems with UTIs (urinary tract infections), it’s best to skip this treat or only give an occasional flake.
Many TCS members choose freeze-dried meat e.g., chicken, treats. Choosing the right type of freeze-dried meat can make this a great and healthy treat for a cat that suffers from food allergies.
Southern Belle, a TCS forum member, says a stray who adopted her wouldn’t eat wet food. She ground treats into a powder and sprinkled the crumbs on top of his food. Now he loves canned food but won’t eat it until the sprinkles are added!
P3 and the King, another forum member, says she offers cooked chicken as an alternative. Her cats get regular bagged treats a couple of times a week but never more than five pieces.
Being overweight is a problem for any species. When Kitty gives you the sad eyes or pats your face, meows pitifully or bangs the cabinet doors to get his way, remember that just like a steady diet of cake and ice cream is not good for you, too many treats are not good for Kitty. Give them but make a special occasion of it. After all, the goal is to have the most time possible to spend with him. Healthy is where it starts.
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