The Best Cat Treats
The best cat treats are the simplest
The best cat treats are heavy on protein and skip unnecessary fillers like corn, wheat, sugar, or extra sodium. After talking to vets, scrutinizing the ingredient labels of 254 products, and trying out our finalists on our own cats, we landed on our top picks: tasty, healthy treats that you can feel good about adding to your pet’s diet.
Soft, bite-sized treats that contain nothing but a mix of freeze-dried liver and vension, from a company with a reputation for transparent manufacturing practices.
Vital Essentials Vital Cat Treats
A treat with just one ingredient: Freeze-dried minnows. They made some human testers a bit squeamish but our cats loved them.
Flakes of dried bonito (a type of fish) that make a great kibble topper to encourage picky eaters.
Halo Healthsome Bites
These kibble-sized bites are the healthiest baked treat we could find, although they have less protein than our other finalists.
The Best Cat Treats
Cat treats don’t need to meet all of your cat’s dietary needs, but it’s best if they avoid unhealthy carbs, sugars, and mystery meats. Our top pick is Orijen Tundra Cat Treats, a healthy, freeze-dried snack that consists of nothing but a blend of liver meat and venison. The treats also come in other flavors so that you can find the right fit for your cat’s tastes — and are manufactured by a company with an outspoken commitment to quality control. The treats are small, soft, and not too crunchy, which made them go down easy for our test cats. Our runner-up for best cat treat, Vital Essentials Minnows Freeze-Dried Cat Treats, have just one ingredient: minnows. These tiny fish — eyeballs, tails, and all — might be unappealing to the faint of stomach, but they have a less pungent smell than most of the fish treats we tested and our cats loved them.
Another fishy option, our love for Bonito flakes (we tested the Cat-Man-Doo brand) took us by surprise. This simple treat is nothing but a bag of dried fish flakes, each airy piece roughly the size of a corn flake. It’s a healthy, affordable option that you can feed alone or mix into kibble for cats who are finicky eaters.
Baked cat treats usually contain undesirable ingredients like added sugars and grains, but Halo Healthsome Cat Treats with Real Chicken are grain-free and their ingredient list starts with a whole protein. The treats resemble high-quality cat kibble, but they were appealing even to test cats that are generally picky about dry food. They’re a crunchy and long-lasting option that’s a little cheaper than our freeze-dried choices ($4 versus Orijen’s $8).
How We Found the Best Cat Treat
We started by compiling a list of major cat treat brands sold at pet supply retailers like Chewy.com, Petco, and PetSmart — brands like Blue Buffalo and Purina, which most cat owners recognize from a trip down the cat food aisle. This gave us a starting list of 254 products, from baked treats and freeze-dried minnows to individual tuna pouches. Note that we looked only at treats for healthy adult cats, avoiding products intended to treat issues like hairballs or diabetes.
First, we cut products with corn, soy, or wheat.
In the wild, cats eat meat — and that’s pretty much it. Their dietary fiber tends to come from whatever grains and grasses are already inside their prey’s stomach. Housecats might be more interested in attacking the curtains than killing their dinner, but their dietary needs remain the same as those of their wild cousins.
In line with this thinking, we prioritized treats heavy on whole proteins, avoiding formulas that relied on corn, wheat, or soy as fillers. Cats and carbs simply don’t mix well. Dr. Gary Richter, who owns Oakland’s Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care, explains, “Diets with high levels of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes.”
For baked treats, which need some type of starch to help bind the treat together, we looked for products that used potato or pea flour instead of grains.
We prioritized peas and potatoes knowing that many pet parents are on a quest to avoid grains. That said, it’s a surprisingly complicated subject. The effect of ingredients like peas and potatoes hasn’t really been studied — and while research into the impact of grain-heavy diets is more widely available, the results even here have been contradictory and inconclusive: A study from the ‘90s suggested cat obesity was linked to commercially available high-carbohydrate dry food, but researchers who later attempted to duplicate these results were unable to do so.
We’re keeping tabs on the question, and we’ll update our top picks if we learn of any conclusive findings. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about carbs, we’d suggest avoiding baked treats altogether and opting for a freeze-dried product.
Fancy Feast Cheddar & Crab Souffle Flavors, Fancy Feast Natural Rotisserie Chicken Flavor, Fancy Feast Salmon Flavor with Accents of Parsley, Fancy Feast Tuna Flavor with Accents of Parsley, Friskies Party Mix Crunch Beachside Shrimp, Crab & Tuna Flavors, Friskies Party Mix Crunch California Dreamin’ Chicken, Turkey & Bacon Flavors, Friskies Party Mix Crunch Cheezy Craze Cat Treats, Friskies Party Mix Crunch Kahuna Cat Treats, Friskies Party Mix Crunch Meow Luau Cat Treats, Friskies Party Mix Crunch Mixed Grill Cat Treats, Friskies Party Mix Crunch Morning Munch Cat Treats, Friskies Party Mix Crunch Picnic Cat Treats, Friskies Party Mix Crunch Treasure Island Cat Treats, Friskies Party Mix Favorites Lip Licking Chicken Flavor, Friskies Party Mix Favorites Sensational Seafood Flavor, Friskies Party Mix Naturals with Added Vitamins & Minerals with Real Chicken & Accents of Sunflower and Seaweed, Friskies Party Mix Naturals with Added Vitamins & Minerals with Real Salmon & Accents of Sunflower and Garden Veggies, Friskies Party Mix Puffs Island Delight Scallop, Shrimp & Tuna Flavors, Friskies Party Mix Puffs Rancher’s Roundup Beef, Chicken & Pork Flavors, Friskies Party Mix Puffs Turf-n-Surf’s Up Cat Treats, Friskies Party Mix Remix Beachy Craze Cheese, Shrimp, Crab & Tuna Flavors, Friskies Party Mix Remix Wild West Dreamin’ Chicken, Beef, Liver, Turkey, Cheddar & Bacon Flavors, Friskies Pull N’ Play Chicken & Cheese Flavors, Friskies Pull N’ Play Salmon & Shrimp Flavors, Greenies Flavor Fusion Dental Treats, Greenies Hairball Control SmartBites Treats Chicken, Greenies Hairball Control SmartBites Treats Tuna, Greenies Original Dental Treats, Greenies Pill Pockets Treats Chicken, Greenies Pill Pockets Treats Salmon, Hartz Delectables Roasted Chicken Flavor, Hill’s Prescription Diet Hypo-Treats, Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Feline Treats, Iams Proactive Health Hairball Chicken Flavor Daily Treats, Iams Proactive Health Hairball Salmon Flavor Daily Treats, Iams Proactive Health Oral Care Chicken Flavor Daily Treats, Iams Proactive Health Oral Care Salmon Flavor Daily Treats, Meow Mix Brushing Bites Dental Treats Made with Real Chicken, Meow Mix Brushing Bites Dental Treats Made with Real Salmon, Meow Mix Brushing Bites Dental Treats Made with Real Tuna, Meow Mix Irresistibles Crunchy with Salmon & Ocean Whitefish, Meow Mix Irresistibles Crunchy with Tuna & Shrimp, Meow Mix Irresistibles Crunchy with White Meat Chicken & Turkey, Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft with Salmon, Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft with Tuna, Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft with White Meat Chicken, Meow Mix Ocean Explosion Treats, N-Bone Cat Chew Treats, Pet Greens Cat Craves Chicken Semi-Moist Cat Treats, Pet Greens Salmon Semi-Moist Cat Treats, Pet Greens Tuna Semi-Moist Cat Treats, Pet Greens Turkey & Duck Semi-Moist Cat Treats, Pounce Caribbean Catch Soft Cat Treats, Pounce Chicken Flavor Moist Cat Treats, Pounce Crunchy Catnip Flavor, Pounce Crunchy Chicken & Turkey Flavor, Pounce Crunchy Tuna & Salmon Flavor, Pounce Crunchy Tuna Flavor Cat Treats, Pounce Seafood Medley Flavor Moist Cat Treats, Pounce Tuna Flavor Moist Cat Treats, Purina DentaLife Tasty Chicken Flavor Dental Cat Treats, Purina Pro Plan Cat Snacks Dental Crunch with Natural Chicken & Liver Flavors, Purina Pro Plan Cat Snacks Dental Crunch with Natural Lobster & Scallops Flavor, Purina Pro Plan Cat Snacks Indoor Crunch Reduced Calorie with Tuna, Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Hairball Remedy with Real Chicken, Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Crunchy Bites with Real Chicken, Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Crunchy Bites with Real Salmon, Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Crunchy Bites with Real Tuna, Purina Pro Plan True Nature Adult Protein Crunch with Real Lamb, Purina Pro Plan True Nature Adult Protein Crunch with Real Shrimp, Purina Pro Plan True Nature Adult Protein Crunch with Real Turkey, Purina Whisker Lickin’s Chicken Flavor Soft & Delicious Cat Treats, Purina Whisker Lickin’s Crunch Lovers Chicken & Seafood Tartar Control Cat Treats, Purina Whisker Lickin’s Salmon Soft & Delicious Cat Treats, Purina Whisker Lickin’s Soft & Delicious Chicken & Cheese Cat Treats, Purina Whisker Lickin’s Tuna Flavor Crunchy & Yummy Cat Treats, Temptations Blissful Catnip Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Cheezy Middles Cat Treat Beef & Cheese, Temptations Cheezy Middles Cat Treat Chicken & Cheese, Temptations Cheezy Middles Cat Treat Tuna & Cheese, Temptations Creamy Dairy Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Hairball Control Chicken Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Hearty Beef Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Mixups Backyard Cookout Cat Treats, Temptations Mixups Catnip Fever Cat Treats, Temptations Mixups Farmer’s Feast Cat Treats, Temptations Mixups Sunrise Scramble Chicken, Egg & Salmon Flavors Cat Treats, Temptations Mixups Surfer’s Delight Cat Treats, Temptations Mixups Wakin’ Bakin’ Bacon, Egg & Cheese Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Natural Free Range Chicken Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Natural Wild Alaskan Salmon Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Natural Yellow Fin Tuna Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Ocean Middles Crab & Tuna Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Ocean Middles Salmon & Tuna Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Ocean Middles Shrimp & Tuna Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Savory Salmon Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Seafood Medley Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Steak Shoppe Middles Steak & Chicken Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Steak Shoppe Middles Steak & Shrimp Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Steak Shoppe Middles Steak & Tuna, Temptations Tantalizing Turkey Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Tasty Chicken Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Tempting Tuna Flavor Cat Treats, Temptations Tumblers Savory Salmon & Tuna Flavors, Temptations Tumblers Tasty Chicken & Turkey Flavors Cat Treats, VetriScience Perio Plus Everyday Health Feline Bites Dental Cat Treats
We also cut products with added sweeteners.
Many commercial cat treats contain added sweeteners like corn syrup or sugar. We weren’t wild about these additions for two reasons: First, with diabetes and pet obesity a growing concern in the US, the addition of sugar to treats is considered harmful by experts. Second, evidence suggests that cats can’t even taste sweets — there’s truly no reason for sugar to show up at all in your treats’ ingredient list.
Buddy Biscuits Grain-Free with Savory Turkey & Cheddar Cat Treats, Buddy Biscuits Grain-Free with Tempting Tuna Cat Treats, Buddy Biscuits Grain-Free with Tender Chicken Cat Treats, Kettle Craft Canadian Prairie Chicken Recipe, Kettle Craft Savory Canadian Turkey Recipe, Kettle Craft Wild Pacific Salmon & Sardine Recipe, Natural Balance Perfect Bites Chicken Formula Treats, Natural Balance Perfect Bites Rabbit Formula Treats, Natural Balance Perfect Bites Salmon Formula Treats, Primal Jerky Organic Chicken Nibs, Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks Beef Flavored Cat Treats, Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks Chicken Flavored Cat Treats, Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks Salmon Flavored Cat Treats, Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks Tuna Flavored Cat Treats, Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks Turkey Cat Treats, Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks Whitefish Flavored Cat Treats, Zuke’s Cat G-Zees Savory Salmon Recipe, Zuke’s Cat G-Zees Tasty Turkey Recipe
We nixed cat treats with artificial flavors, preservatives, or dyes.
Pet treats need preservatives in order to stay fresh on the shelf for months, but as we learned when we reviewed dog treats, many commonly used options come with health concerns for our pets:
- The artificial preservatives BHA and BHT are used in commercial cat foods and treats from brands like Purina, but there is evidence to suggest they’re carcinogenic to animals.
- Glycerin is another common preservative. But because this ingredient is often derived from petrolatum, the US Food & Drug Administration has raised concerns over methanol contamination. (Note that “vegetable glycerin” is a totally different, and safe, ingredient.)
- Many artificial dyes are used to make treats look more appealing to human pet-parents. But these ingredients are suspected carcinogens to humans — and your cat isn’t going to care about the color of its treats to begin with.
A treat or two with any of these ingredients isn’t going to be especially harmful. But given the choice, we opted for no dyes, and for natural preservatives like tocopherols (vitamin E) or ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which are widely regarded as harmless.
Hartz Delectables Bisque Tuna & Chicken Lickable Cat Treat, Hartz Delectables Squeeze-Ups Chicken Lickable Cat Treats, Hartz Delectables Stew Chicken & Tuna Lickable Cat Treat, Hartz Delectables Stew Chowder Chicken & Tuna Lickable Cat Treat
We cut treats that contained by-products or meat meal.
Meat byproducts and meat meal are the parts of a carcass (like bones or viscera) deemed unsuitable for humans to eat. Your cat might not object to them, but it’s hard to gauge the quality of these ingredients. One industry study suggests that the poor quality of the protein in many meat meals can negatively impact a cat’s health, and Dr. Richter emphasizes, “The unknown quality and digestibility of these products makes them highly undesirable for pets to consume.”
“Think of nutrients as construction materials,” he told us. “To build a high-quality building, you have to start with the best materials.”
Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings Chicken, Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings Real Tuna, Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings Salmon, Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings Shrimp, Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings Tuna, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Flavor, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Flavor, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trout Flavor, Canidae Grain-Free PURE Taste All Ages Cat Treats with Fresh Chicken, Canidae Grain-Free PURE Taste All Ages Cat Treats with Fresh Salmon, Canidae Grain-Free PURE Taste All Ages Cat Treats with Fresh Trout, Canidae Grain-Free PURE Taste All Ages Cat Treats with Game Bird, Get Naked Kitten Health Grain-Free Soft Cat Treats, Natural Balance L.I.T. Limited Ingredient Treats Chicken & Potato Formula, Natural Balance L.I.T. Limited Ingredient Treats Salmon & Potato Formula, Purina Beyond Cat Treat Chicken & Egg, Purina Beyond Cat Treat Ocean Whitefish & Egg, Smart n’ Tasty Feline Dental Treats with Chicken, Smart n’ Tasty Feline Dental Treats with Tuna, Wellness Kittles Chicken & Cranberries, Wellness Kittles Duck & Cranberries, Wellness Kittles Salmon & Cranberries, Wellness Kittles Tuna & Cranberries, Wellness Kittles Turkey & Cranberries, Wellness Kittles Whitefish & Cranberries
And we skipped the added sodium.
Eliminating extra sodium took many popular brands off our list, even those generally regarded as healthy, like Blue Buffalo. But veterinarian Dr. Elisa Katz from Feline-Nutrition.org points out that cats on dry food diets are already prone to dehydration, which in turn can lead to issues like kidney stones and urinary crystals.
Dr. Richter explains: “Small amounts of added salt should not be a medical issue for a healthy cat. That said, what’s the point?”
Blue Buffalo Kitty Yums Savory Salmon Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Kitty Yums Savory Seafood Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Kitty Yums Tasty Beef Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Kitty Yums Tasty Chicken Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Kitty Yums Tempting Tuna Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Kitty Yums Tender Turkey Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken & Duck Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken & Duck Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken & Salmon Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken & Trout Cat Treats, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken & Turkey Cat Treats, Halo Liv-A-Littles Chicken, Only Natural Pet Grain-Free Beef Jerky Bites, Only Natural Pet Grain-Free Chicken & Venison Jerky Bites, The Real Meat Company 95% Beef Jerky Bites Cat Treats, The Real Meat Company 95% Chicken & Venison Jerky Bites Cat Treats, The Real Meat Company 95% Fish & Venison Jerky Bites Cat Treats, The Real Meat Company 95% Lamb & Liver Jerky Bites Cat Treats, The Real Meat Company 95% Lamb Cat Treats, The Real Meat Company 95% Venison Cat Treats, Zuke’s Cat Natural Purrz Savory Salmon Recipe, Zuke’s Cat Natural Purrz Tasty Tuna Recipe, Zuke’s Cat Natural Purrz Tender Chicken Recipe
We also looked for brands that had at least three flavors.
Because cats, like people, can have flavor preferences — or suffer from food allergies — we also wanted to make sure owners had the option of several formulas from any given brand. So we prioritized companies that offered at least three flavors within their line of treats.
- Bravo! Healthy Bites Salmon
- Cat-Man-Doo Bonito Flakes
- Dr. Harvey’s Whisker Smackers
- Grandma Lucy’s Cat Treats
- Halo Healthsome Cat Treats
- Honest Kitchen Bone Broth
- Instinct Raw Boost Minis for Cats
- Natural Balance L.I.T. Limited Ingredient Treats Rabbit & Potato Formula
- Only Natural Pet Chicken Cat Treats
- Orijen Tundra Cat Treats
- PureBites 100% Pure Ocean Whitefish
- Purely Fancy Feast Hand-Flaked Tuna
- Redbarn Turkey Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
- Vital Essentials Minnows Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
- Weruva Blue Water Whitefish
- Whole Life Pure Salmon Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
Then we checked out each package of treats for deal-breakers.
Honestly, all of our finalists are great choices. They’re free of fillers and offer the whole protein sources that cats love. To land on our favorites, we went the extra mile, looking at the following qualities:
Smell: Cat treats are designed to appeal to animals who’d happily eat a dead bird, so we weren’t expecting to find them appealing. But we wanted to be able to open the bag without cringing. We weren’t wild about the pungently fishy smell of PureBites Oceanfish treats.
Size: We favored small treats. Not only is a bite-sized tidbit easier for a cat to eat — it’s also better for them, helping you avoid doling out unnecessarily large portions. Grandma Lucy’s Freeze-Dried Liver, for example, packs plenty of great nutrients but comes in chunks roughly the size of a quarter that seemed more appropriate for dogs (and, in fact, the treat is advertised as being “for dogs and cats”).
Packaging: We made sure each bag, pouch, or canister was easy to open and able to be sealed back up for freshness. Most treats didn’t have trouble here, although Fancy Feast Tuna Treats lost ground: Its individual plastic packages of pre-portioned tuna take a lot of effort to open and dole out.
Fancy Feast’s individual portion packs were a hassle to deal with, and twice as expensive as grocery store tuna.
Real-life testing: As a final step, we gave each treat to our four test cats: two healthy seniors and a pair of 2-year-old siblings. We wanted to make sure that they agreed with our choices. Our cats generally seemed to prefer fish smells and flavors (to the dismay of human testers), but overall, they were eager to taste every treat given to them.
Our Picks for the Best Cat Treats
Freeze-dried treats offer nearly the same benefit as feeding your cat fresh bites of meat, with a lot more convenience and a longer shelf-life. They’re one of the least-processed treat types available, often containing nothing but meat — the one ingredient cats really care about. As Dr. Richter put it, “All they want is tasty protein!”
There was scant difference between most of the freeze-dried treats we tested — our cats found them all tasty — but Orijen stood out as our favorite. Its Tundra Cat Treats have a chewy texture that makes them less prone to crumbling in the bag than extremely dry options like Bravo Healthy Bites Salmon Treats or Only Natural’s Cage-Free Chicken Breast.
Orijen’s treats were less crumbly than many of the freeze-dried products we tested.
Orijen’s Tundra flavor also contains a mix of proteins that includes boar liver, venison liver, and goat liver, plus venison and arctic char. Organ meats like liver provide different types of nutrients than muscle meats (like venison or chicken breast). They’re a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, for instance, while organ meats have higher levels of some vitamins and iron. It’s nice to see the balanced blend in Orijen’s treats.
Orijen is known for its commitment to responsible sourcing: no mystery meats here. Its cat treats are manufactured in the company’s Kentucky DogStar kitchens, which are certified for safety every which way you can imagine: It meets the standards for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the FDA, the Government of Canada, and the European Union (EU).
The treats themselves are lightweight little nuggets of dried meat, slightly smaller than the size of your fingernail. They have a mild odor and a lower “gross factor” than treats like VitalEssentials Minnows, which are simply tiny dried fish — eyeballs and all. Orijen treats also seemed quite easy for our test cats to chew, unlike the Bravo and the PureBites fish treats, which are firmer and tougher in texture.
The other soft freeze-dried treat we tested, Instinct Minis, contains more ingredients — like pumpkin seeds, veggies, and montmorillonite clay (an anti-caking agent). We preferred the simplicity of the Orijen formula. As Dr. Richter explains, “The best food and treats for cats are high quality with few ingredients.”
Runner-Up for Best Overall
As we noted above, our test cats loved the taste and smell of fishy treats, and meowed eagerly for a bite once the bags were opened. Among the fish flavors we tried, Vital Essentials rose to the top; they were less stinky than PureBites and more affordable (and easier to hand out) than Fancy Feast’s pouches of Purely Tuna.
Each bag contains nothing but whole, dried minnows, each tiny fish about an inch long. There’s nothing else on the ingredient list. While some of our human testers found them a bit gross, they were very popular with our kitties, and they also have a surprisingly mild odor: You have to put your nose right up to the bag to catch even the faintest whiff of fish.
We were impressed with these treats’ sourcing, too. Much like Orijen, Vital Essentials has an impressive commitment to quality; all of their pet foods and treats are sourced in the USA and certified by the USDA. The treats are manufactured in a facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin, that maintains strict quality control standards.
Best Kibble Topper
Bonito is a kind of tuna, and these fish flakes are simply dried portions of bonito skin. While the Cat-Man-Doo brand is not for human consumption, other types of bonito flakes are popularly used in Japanese cooking. This single-ingredient treat has everything a cat wants: protein, protein, and more protein. Like Vital Essentials, there are no other ingredients beyond the fish itself. The flakes are a little tricky to serve in single portions, as they’re so airy and thin. Pull out one, and you’re likely to come out with a handful. But they’re very simple to sprinkle on top of dry food: a godsend for picky cats, who are likely to flock to kibble when there are bonito flakes involved.
Be warned that this treat does smell heavily of fish; open this bag, and there’s no question what flavor it contains. But while it was stinky for the humans, it was a huge winner with our cats.
Runner-up for Best Kibble Topper
The Honest Kitchen Bone Broth is also worth a mention. It’s a dry, powdered beef broth that can be mixed with hot water for a liquid treat. If you feed your cat dry food and are concerned they aren’t getting enough moisture, it’s a tasty way to tackle the problem. The instructions suggest mixing the broth with wet and dry food alike, or serving alone. We tried adding it to wet food, and one of our test cats was excited enough to try to knock his bowl off the counter before we finished preparing it.
Because Honest Kitchen Bone Broth is a powder, it has a much longer shelf life than opening a can of liquid beef broth. That said, it’s a little more labor-intensive than our other top picks. It’ll take a minute or two for the powder to unclump and dissolve fully, and the instructions caution you to wait until the broth has cooled to a drinkable temperature before serving.
To fully dissolve the Honest Kitchen’s powdered broth, you’ll need to stir vigorously.
Best Crunchy Treat
If your cat prefers a crunchy baked treat, Halo Healthsome Bites are the healthiest option we could find. We tested the Real Chicken formula, which contains more processed ingredients than our freeze-dried picks, but doesn’t pack in as many fillers as the other commercial baked treats we looked at. The first ingredient is chicken, followed by potato flour and ground peas. Farther down the ingredient list, you’ll find flaxseed and pumpkin — which add some fiber — plus a natural preservative.
Halo Bites are small, nearly odorless treats that are reminiscent of standard cat kibble in feel and color. As such, they’re less messy for cats to eat; they were quickly gobbled up in our hands-on testing. Though it doesn’t affect taste, they come in a variety of cute shapes like hearts and flowers.
Did You Know?
Only 10% of your cat’s diet should consist of treats.
Over half the pets in the US are classified as overweight, and Dr. Richter warns that “treats should be a minority of a dog’s or cat’s daily food intake.” If you’re using treats frequently as part of training, it’s a good idea to reduce your cat’s meal portions accordingly.
Research also suggests many indoor cats don’t get enough physical exercise, with one study finding inactivity to be a predictor of diabetes. So if you’re inclined to overindulge your cat (it’s easy to do), try giving out treats at the end of a long play session.
For cats, milk and dairy aren’t great dietary options.
Despite what you may have seen in movies, it’s not actually a good idea to give cats a saucer of milk. Why? Most cats are lactose intolerant, which means that digesting milk can cause an upset stomach.
Cats can have allergic reactions to some protein sources.
In cats, food allergy symptoms typically take the form of skin issues: hair loss, lesions, and scratching. If a flea allergy has been ruled out, it may be a protein or carbohydrate that is bothering your cat. The only way to know for sure is to is to feed a limited-ingredient diet and gradually test additional ingredients to find out what’s causing the trouble.
Training a cat is actually possible!
Most cat owners give treats for bonding and to placate their pets. However, it is very possible to train your cat to respond to commands just like a dog does. Renowned pet behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin has great guide to training your cat here — using tasty treats as a reward.