ADULT CAT CARE
Many of us are guilty of providing our cats with more pet treats than they can chew. But too much snacking, while seemingly pleasant for our cats, may not be the best thing for their health. In fact, an overly fed cat can quickly develop heart disease, arthritis, obesity, stroke or even cancer.
Here’s how to best treat your cat without spoiling her health:
1. Treat Your Cat Without Food
There are many ways to do this, says Dr. Kendra Pope, DVM, CVA, CVCH, CVFT, CVTP, a veterinarian with St. Francis Veterinary Center in Woolwich Township, N.J. Cats respond very well to praise, which is given in a high-pitched voice that’s happy and excited. So use your verbal skills, along with hugs and love, she says. Cats also like being brushed and stroked or playing with catnip or interactive toys.
Animals are very different to humans in what they consider a treat, Dr. Pope points out, and they understand these other forms of praise. Food, for us, is much more emotional than it is for cats.
2. Make Your Own Cat Treats
Meat and most fish are great treat foods for cats, says Dr. TJ Dunn, DVM, veterinarian at All Creatures Veterinary Clinic, Minocqua, WI. You can even bake your own cookies/biscuits with your existing wet cat food formula. Cut the food into slices and bake at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the pieces are crunchy.
Dr. Pope does, however, advise against treating with raw meat or raw organ meat because it can lead to food poisoning such as Salmonella or E. coli, which also poses a risk for humans. The cat may tolerate the poisoning, she points out, “but they could pass it on to us when we are cleaning up their feces.”
3. Buy From the Big, U.S.-based Brands
Try to buy commercial pet treats from reputable brands because “big name brands either have more money to spend on safer foods or can safeguard against it,” Dr. Pope points out. “And, big pet food companies are more quickly able to do a recall.”