- The Best Cat Treats
- 1. Temptations Mix Ups
- 2. Feline Greenies Dental Treats
- 3. Purina Friskies Party Mix
- 4. Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft
- 5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Soft-Moist Cat Treats
- 6. Wellness Kittles
- 7. Purina DentaLife Dental Treats for Cats
- 8. Pet Greens Cat Craves
- 9. Vital Essentials Vital Cat Treats
- 10. Delectables Bisque Lickable Treat
Like most other pets, our feline companions love their treats more than anything. Delicious, good for dental health, and often general health and well-being as well, cat treats can be an exciting and beneficial addition to any kitty's feeding routine. But, as with anything, balance is key as many snacks and treats are packed with worthless calories and can lead to unhealthy weight gain if given too often. In general, treats should not account for any more than 10% of your pet's daily calories, so choose well and offer them sparingly.
To help you find the best cat treats for your pet, we reviewed dozens of different products, including the ultra-tasty ones, treats packed with protein, and grain-free snacks for those sensitive to gluten or grains. Read on to find the right ones for your kitty!
The Best Cat Treats
1. Temptations Mix Ups
Top five ingredients: chicken by-product meal, ground corn, animal fat, dried meat by-products, brewers rice
Less than 2 calories per treat
Super-tasty and nutritionally balanced
Soft center with a crunchy shell
Stay-fresh container with a closable lid
Temptations Classic Treats for Cats are the perfect way to treat your kitty without worrying about them piling on the pounds. These complete and nutritionally balanced treats contain less the two calories per treat and are available in a wide range of flavors. Each snack consists of a soft creamy inside surrounded by a crunchy shell that helps control tartar build-up. Sealed in a stay-fresh pack with a closable lid, these treats will stay fresh for as long as you have them. As well as keeping the freshness in, the container helps to keep kitty’s paws out – crucial as they’re insanely delicious and most kitties go crazy for them!
2. Feline Greenies Dental Treats
Top five ingredients: chicken meal, wheat, brown rice, corn gluten meal, poultry fat
Contain added vitamins, minerals, and taurine
Aid teeth cleaning and reduce tartar build-up
1.39 calories per treat
Made from natural ingredients
The chicken flavored Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats are not only tasty – they’re also specially designed to help support your cat’s oral hygiene. The unique shape and crunchy texture help to clean your kitty’s teeth and reduce tartar build-up as they chew. Oven-roasted, the treats are made from natural ingredients and contain added taurine, as well as added vitamins and minerals. They provide complete nutrition, making them the ideal complement to your cat’s main food.
3. Purina Friskies Party Mix
Top five ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, brewers rice, chicken by-products meal, pea starch
Less than 1.3 calories per treat
Complete and balanced nutrition
Another super-tasty cat treats, the Purina Friskies Party Mix contains a range of flavors that all kitties love. The first ingredient in the chicken, liver and turkey formula is real chicken so you can be confident that your cat will enjoy eating them. The crunchy design helps to keep your cat’s teeth clean, while the resealable container keeps the treats fresh to the last bit left. At less than 1.3 calories per treat, you can safely add these complete and balanced treats to your cat’s diet without worrying about your pet’s weight.
4. Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft
Top five ingredients: chicken, wheat flour, animal digest, chicken by-product meal, pea protein
2 calories per treat
Contains real chicken
Available in soft and crunchy variety
Meow Mix Irresistible Cat Treats contain real chicken as their primary ingredient and have zero artificial flavors – important if your kitty has sensitive health. The treats are available in both crunchy and soft varieties so you can pick the ones that your cat prefers. At two calories per treat, you know you are not overfeeding your cat as long as you only provide the recommended number of treats in a day. The container is resealable, so the treats are safe from prying paws and stay fresh for longer. All the ingredients in these tasty treats are sourced from the US or Canada and the mix is created in Kansas so you can be confident that care has been taken at every step of the process.
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Soft-Moist Cat Treats
Top five ingredients: deboned chicken, deboned turkey, potatoes, vegetable glycerin, gelatin
Free from artificial flavors and preservative, meat by-products, grains, corn, and soy
Soft, moist treat pieces
1.5 calories per treat
Simple formula, made with real meat ingredients
If your cat has a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, then these Grain Free Soft-Moist Chicken & Salmon Recipe treats from Blue Wilderness may be the answer. As well as being grain-free, the treats are free from artificial flavors and preservatives and contain no meat by-product meals. Instead, they’re packed with protein thanks to real chicken and turkey – two main ingredients. The soft treats are ideal for older cats and those who have difficulty chewing crunchy treats as they don’t irritate the gums and are easy on the jaws. And, at just one and a half calories per treat, they can be added to your cat’s diet without spoiling their dinner.
6. Wellness Kittles
Top five ingredients: salmon, peas, potatoes, chickpeas, chicken meal
Includes real fruits, vegetables, and meat sources
Grain-free and free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Under 2 calories per treat
Wellness Kittles Crunchy Grain Free Cat Treats provide complete and balanced nutrition that complements any cat’s usual diet. These crunchy treats are made with premium ingredients and contain real salmon, chicken meal and herring meal, as their main protein sources. They also contain fruits and vegetables to give your cat a vitamin and mineral boost as well as adding to the flavor. In addition to being grain free, they are also free from meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
7. Purina DentaLife Dental Treats for Cats
Top five ingredients: ground yellow corn, chicken meal, corn gluten meal, animal digest, animal fat
Crunchy and porous texture
Cleans teeth, reduces tartar buildup
Contains added calcium and taurine
Accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council to help control tartar
Purina DentaLife Adult Cat Treats are specifically designed to help reduce tartar build-up and to clean your cat’s teeth as they chew. These crunchy snacks with chicken flavor have a more porous texture than most cat treats, which helps your kitty’s teeth to penetrate the treat easily, making them more effective at teeth cleaning than other brands. At just over one calorie per treat, they are designed to complement your cat’s usually feeding routine. The added calcium helps to maintain strong teeth and bones, while the added taurine supports eye and heart health.
8. Pet Greens Cat Craves
Top five ingredients: salmon, rice flour, barley flour, vegetable glycerin, maple syrup
Free from artificial colors and flavors, wheat gluten, corn, and soy
2 calories per treat
If you are looking for a completely different type of treat for your cat, then Pet Greens Semi-Moist Cat Craves Treats may be just what you are looking for. These treats are designed as a healthy alternative to outdoor grasses that may be eaten by cats. The treats are made from wheatgrass, which provides fiber for healthy digestion, as well as salmon oil and fish oil, both of which support healthy skin and coat. The semi-moist treats are ideal for cats who find crunchy treats too difficult for chewing. They’re also free from artificial colors and flavors as well as wheat gluten, corn, and soy – perfect for sensitive kitties.
9. Vital Essentials Vital Cat Treats
Single ingredient: salmon
Freeze-dried cat treats
Promote digestive and oral health
Free from grains, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Grain Free Limited Ingredient Cat Treats are ideal for felines with sensitive digestive systems. The treats are sourced, made, and packaged within the US and are designed to promote oral health, maintain a healthy weight, and support your cat’s general health. The freeze-drying process helps to lock in the vitamins and minerals contained within the natural ingredient, which in this case, is a sole protein – salmon. The treats are free from gluten, antibiotics, hormones, fillers, and artificial additives, but are packed with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Bear in mind that while super-nutritious and healthy, these treats are not ideal for picky eaters.
10. Delectables Bisque Lickable Treat
Top five ingredients: water, tuna, chicken, natural and artificial flavors, tapioca starch
Wet, sauce-like cat treats
Contains vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics
Single serving packaging
Works as a food topper as well as a treat
If you are looking for something different or have a senior kitty who can’t chew properly, the Delectable Lickable Wet Cat Treats are a fantastic option. The sauce can be poured into your cat’s bowl for them to enjoy when they are ready, or used as a topper for dry food to make it more appealing. The recipe is formulated to contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics that support digestion and aid kidney function, particularly in senior cats. It also comes with a delicious chicken flavor – perfect for fussy eaters.
Best Cat Treats Buying Guide & FAQ
Cat and kitten treats are a great way to make your kitty's diet and life more exciting, and they're a nice way to reward them a job well done. However, not all cat snacks are created equal, and choosing poorly could leave your cat with digestive issues and excess pounds, or simply leave you with bags full of snacks that your cat will not touch. In this section of the buying guide, we explore what makes a great cat treat, the different types of treats that are available, and consider some of the ingredients that you should avoid. We also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about cat treats.
What Makes a Great Cat Treat
Of course, the main thing that makes a great cat treat is taste. If your cat does not like the taste or the smell of their food, then they are not going to eat it, and you will have wasted your time and money. As all cats are different and have different preferences it is not possible to pick one flavor that makes a great cat treat. However, there are some common elements that you should look for in good treats for cats:
The actual size you need will depend on the size and age of your cat, as well as their ability to chew. However, you need to ensure that the treat pieces are not so small that they can be swallowed whole and potentially cause a blockage. Similarly, ensure that they are not so large that your cat cannot grasp them with their teeth and chew them comfortably.
What you and your cat find appealing in terms of smell is going to differ. However, you want to find cat treats that you can have in your home without them making you feel ill. You may want to choose treats that do not contain artificial flavors for this reason. While natural ingredients such as liver and fish may be strong-smelling, they are at least recognizable food smells that are less likely to have a chemical edge to them.
Resealable, strong packaging is a must. Not only does this keep the treats fresh for longer, but it keeps the smell in, and your cat’s paws out. If your cat can access the treats when they wish, it makes it much hard to control the amount that they eat.
We have already mentioned that natural ingredients are better in terms of smell, but that is not the only reason why you need to check the ingredients list carefully. Many treats are bulked out with fillers and contain ingredients that can cause sensitivities or stomach upsets if your cat has a food allergy or sensitivity. Gluten, corn, soy, and dairy can all potentially cause issues. None of these are essentially bad ingredients, mind you, but they are things you should be aware of if your kitty has a sensitive digestive system or food allergies. For more options head over to our guide on cat food for sensitive stomachs.
Being aware of the sources of the ingredients is always a good idea as well. The best treats for cats will have a named protein source and a complete ingredients list. They will also tell you where the ingredients come from in terms of their country of origin. While being sourced and made in the US does not necessarily promise high-quality, it does make it easier to trace back the origins should you wish to.
Whether you want crunchy, semi-moist, soft, or wet treats will depend on your cat. If you are looking for the best treats for kittens or senior cats, then you may want soft cat treats that are easier to chew, while an adult cat may want something with more crunch. Crunchy treats are great for cleaning your cat’s teeth, but you should ensure that they are not too tough to chew.
- Specific benefits
Some cat treats specify that they can help with specific problems or can enrich your cat’s health and wellbeing in a certain way. The most common claim is that they help with oral hygiene. If you are looking specifically for cat dental treats, then ensure that you choose one that is approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. If you are looking for a treat to help fill the gaps in your cat’s vitamin or mineral intake, then you should get advice from your vet and choose healthy cat treats that meet their recommendations.
Different Types Of Cat Treats
There are numerous different types of cat snacks available, from crunchy kibble style treats to sauces that can be poured into a bowl or over food. The type you choose will depend on your cat's preference, eating habits, age, size, and the main purpose of buying the treats. The main types of treats available include:
These treats look like small pieces of kibble and are ideal for training and rewards. They can support your cat’s dental hygiene through chewing. The crunchy pieces also help to remove tartar from the teeth. These types of treats may not be suitable for a young kitten, senior cats, or those with weak teeth or jaws. Head over to our reviews of healthy kitten food and senior cat food for more options.
- Soft treats
These are much easier to chew but care needs to be taken on the size you choose to ensure they cannot be swallowed whole.
These have a soft or wet center and a crunchy coating. They are the ideal compromise for cats with weaker teeth or for those who are less interested in crunching.
Liquid treats are pureed into sauces. They are perfect if your cat has few teeth or prefers licking to chewing. They can be added to kibble as a food topper or left in a separate bowl. This type of treat is not ideal for training purposes and can be messy depending on your cat.
Check out our guide on the Best Food Bowls For Cats for more info.
Most treats contain cooked ingredients. Regardless of the care taken, cooking somewhat reduces the quality and the intensity of the flavors and the nutritional goodness that the treats hold. This is not the case when raw ingredients are used and are freeze-dried. If you are looking for healthy pet snacks, then freeze-dried cat treats are often your best option. They are usually soft in texture, but you should investigate their texture and size before leaving your cat alone with the treats. For more options, check out our detailed review of freeze dried cat food.
- Limited ingredients
These treats can come in any of the above texture forms and are ideal for cats with sensitive digestive systems or who are very picky about what they eat. If you're looking for natural cat treats, brands labeled with "limited ingredients" are typically a safe option.
Grain-free cat treats are perfect for cats who are either sensitive or allergic to grains or gluten. However, if your cat is not sensitive, some grains (preferably whole) are perfectly fine in treats. Find out more about grain free cat food here.
Ingredients To Avoid
When buying cat treats, you should take a similar approach to the ingredients as you would with their main food. While the nutritional values may not be as important, you still want to ensure that there are no ingredients that could cause your cat harm. The main ingredients to avoid are:
- Preservative and chemicals
BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene) and BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) are chemical preservatives that are added to fats. Both are considered hazardous carcinogens. Ethoxyquin is also a chemical preservative that is often found in pet food and treats, it too is now deemed to be harmful. However, it's worth noting that in small quantities, neither of these ingredients should cause any harm to your pet.
Propylene glycol is a moistening agent that is derived from ethylene glycol (antifreeze). While not dangerous to your cat in this form, it does nothing to support good health either.
- Food Dyes
Yellow 5 and 6, Red 40, and Blue 2 are known to cause allergic reactions and behavior issues in some people. They add nothing to your cat’s treats and should be avoided if your kitty is of sensitive health. 4-methylimidazole, another artificial coloring agent, is best avoided as well. In general, if you're worried about your pet's health, it's a good idea to stick to natural cat treats only as they don't contain any artificial additives that might trigger certain health problems or food sensitivities in your cat.
- Rendered fats
These are often used as flavor enhancers in kibbles and potentially in some crunchy cat treats. Rendered fat is a known source of toxins such as heavy metals, and of microorganisms like salmonella. In its dry state, these are not released, but once in contact with moisture the bacteria and mold can grow.
While cats do need salt in their diet, too much can cause problems. Keep an eye on how much your cat is drinking. If their water consumption greatly increases, then it is possible that the treats are too high in salt.
Cat’s do not need sugars in their diets and while natural sugars will do little harm, they can still become habit forming. Artificial sugars should definitely be avoided as they are bad for their digestion and their oral hygiene.
- Corn and wheat gluten
If your cat does not have a sensitivity, then these are less of an issue. However, they are often used as fillers, meaning you are getting less of the good ingredients for the price you are paying. If your cat does have a sensitivity, then using treats that contain gluten or other fillers can lead to loose stools, digestive discomfort, and other stomach and digestive issues.
Q: Why give your cat treats?
There are numerous reasons why you might want to give your cat treats. They are a great way to spoil your pet without exposing them to human foods that could be dangerous to them. If you are only using them as an occasional treat to spoil them, then the general health benefits of the treats may not be your main concern, but you still need to ensure they will do no harm. You also still need to ensure that you do not overfeed your cat with treats; spoiling should be an occasional activity.
Alternatively, you may want to use treats as a training aid. While many people see training as the reserve of dogs and their owners, it is possible to train cats at least to some degree. Providing treats after using their litter box, after sleeping in their bed rather than the middle of the floor, or after being groomed can help reinforce these behaviors. If you are using treats for training, then you may want to be more aware of the health benefits and calorie content of the treats as you are likely to be giving them to your cat more often.
Treats can also be used as a way to help improve your cat’s oral hygiene, freshen breath, and as a way of addressing specific health problems, such as hairballs and digestive issues, and reducing nutritional deficiencies in your cat's diet. It is always a good idea to talk to your vet before taking this course of action and to ask for their recommendations. If you are interested in treats for their health benefits, then paying close attention to the ingredients is a must.
Q: How often should I give my cat treats?
How often you should give your cat treats depends on the reason for using treats. If it is for health benefits, then following advice from your vet is vital. If it is for training, then as with any training aid, it should be used along with praise, as soon as the desired behavior is seen or achieved. However, you should always be careful not to overfeed your cat with treats. It is recommended that treats should not account for any more than10% of your pet’s daily calorie intake. Doing so could stop them from eating their usual food or cause undesired weight gain. Always follow the feeding advice included on the packaging and remember to never substitute treats for a balanced and complete diet.
- Krista Williams, BSc, DVM, Cat Treats - VCA Animal Hospital
- Amanda Baltazar, Healthy Ways to Treat Your Cat, PetMD