Obesity is a serious health problem nowadays. In 2014, over 600 million people all over the world were diagnosed as obese. Kids and adults alike are severely overweight mostly because of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles.
With humans not paying much attention to what they eat, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they may not be too careful with their pet’s diet as well. Even if you strictly adhere to feeding cat food, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the products you opt for are the healthiest options for your kitty. But as obesity is preventable, taking steps like opting for the best healthy cat treats can be your first step to keeping your pet in great shape.
Fat Cats: What You Need to Know
A fat cat will surely make you go “aww” for their adorable fluffiness. They often look so squishy and fluffy, and the extra fat makes them look even softer and huggable. While this look may tug at your heart, it doesn’t mean that being fat is good for a cat.
While cute, cats are not meant to be fat. Lions aren’t fat, as well as cheetahs and tigers. Sure these wild felines get to be more active than your house cat, but as they’re all from the same species, it should tell you that your cat shouldn’t be bulging around the face and waist. Being a predator, she should be able to be quick on her feet, and the extra baggage won’t let her do that.
Fat cats may be utterly adorable, but in reality, they’re a part of a massive health problem in pets. With over 58% of today’s American cats being overweight and obese, pet parents should start slowing down with the feeding.
Obesity in cats is often caused by an unbalanced diet. A lot of cat parents are guilty of spoiling their cats, as these creatures tend to have this air of superiority that a lot of cat lovers willingly subject to.
To please and win their kitties, a lot of people feed them as much as they can, in the guise of keeping their pet happy. While it appeases your pet and makes you feel closer to them, it also piles in pounds.
The kind of food you feed your cat is also a significant factor in their severe weight gain. While most cat food brands will promise you the best quality ingredients and a boatload of nutrients, they can be just fluff in most cases.
In fact, a lot of vets aren’t too fond of dry cat food or kibbles. According to experts, most of these products have too many carbs and are not good for your puss’ urinary tract. Their plant-derived protein is also not what cats need as they need their proteins to be from animals.
Then there’s the issue of cat treats. A lot of pet parents are guilty of showering their kitties with treats, which is a bad idea as a lot of these products do not have the nutritional requirements your pet needs.
This is why they’re called “treats” because they should only be given every once in a while to encourage good behavior. Feeding your pet a few of it in one sitting only adds calories into their system and spoils them rotten.
Of course, pre-existing health problems can also cause your cat to be obese. If you haven’t been indulging your kitty but they’re still gaining weight, it’s best to see a vet right away.
Combined with the fact that most house cats don’t exercise and only spend most of their days sleeping and lounging around the house, eating a lot can only entail weight gain for these furballs.
The Unhealthy Price for Being Adorable
As most cat breeds are not designed to be huge in size, being overweight can cause a right amount of serious health problems. A few of the most common diseases cats develop because of being overweight include diabetes, arthritis, and liver disease.
They can also get different kinds of skin problems like having dry, flaky skin and feline acne. In some cases, fat cats also get to have bad reactions to anesthetics, causing longer recoveries and higher surgery risks.
These are not to mention the stress the extra weight can cause to their joints and the frustration they may get from not being able to be as agile as they were before. So while your cat looks utterly adorable being fat and fluffy, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for them.
Is Your Cat Obese?
According to experts, the ideal weight for most cats is 10 lbs. Of course, this depends on the breed, but for most varieties, this is a solid average to stick with. In any case, a lot of cats weigh more than their breed’s ideal weight, so it’s important to know if your cat is one of them.
Aside from checking with your vet, you can also tell if your cat is obese just by looking at them. Observe your cat while they’re on all fours. She should have an hourglass figure if she’s not overweight. If she looks like a tube, then your cat is most likely to be overweight.
This technique may not work for fluffy cats, though. So if you have a fluffball that’s not pregnant at home, you should try to feel her ribs under her fur. If you can feel the ribs with some pressing, then she’s not overweight. If you can’t feel the ribs and you’re able to grab some flab, then she’s highly likely to be overweight.
You can also use this chart to help you tell whether your cat is too fat or not.
Dealing with a Fat Cat
If your cat is overweight, fret not. There are ways to help her shed some pounds. It will take a good amount of self-control on your part, a lot of behavior corrections, and a very frustrated fluffball but it is possible. What should you do? Here are a few tricks:
1. Put your cat on a healthier diet.
Experts prefer it if you feed your cat raw or canned food as they tend to offer more nutrients that your cat needs.
2. Make sure they get more exercise.
Some people may think that exercising cats can be tricky, but in reality, it’s quite simple. If you only spend more time playing with your cat, you can get them to move around more. Getting them some cat furniture can also help them engage in physical activities regularly.
3. Remember that treats are treats.
The reason why treats are called treats and not cat food is that they’re non-essential food items that are meant to be used as rewards for your pet’s good behavior. As they’re only intended to be fed to your cats occasionally, they shouldn’t be nutritionally rich but tasty. In this case, they shouldn’t also be the primary food item that will provide sustenance to your kitty.
Feeding your cat lots of treats can only add more calories to their bodies, which can also contribute to their being overweight. By toning the treats down and restricting their treats will help you keep your pet in great shape and will help them appreciate the treats even more.
Healthy Treats for Cats
Even though treats shouldn’t be fed to your cat very often, it wouldn’t hurt if your cat gets treats with nutritional value. What you might not know about cat treats is that there are lots of useful ones with unique ingredients that can address your pet’s specific needs.
You can find treats that can improve their dental health, skin, joints and even digestion. There are also low-calorie treats that you can get for a fat cat, so you won’t have to drastically stop giving them treats while you try to help them lose weight.
However, it’s critical to keep in mind that even if you’re feeding your fluff ball healthy treats, you still shouldn’t overdo it. Remember that if you want to reduce your cat’s weight, it’s important to balance their diet and physical activities to ensure that they will effectively shed some pounds.
7 of the Best Healthy Cat Treats
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If popularity is one of your markers for a good cat treat, then the Temptations MixUps Cat Treats is something you should be on the prowl for. This product features meat and fish flavors that will drive your cats crazy for being so tasty.
With tartar-fighting ingredients and a good load of animal-derived nutrients, this treat promises to be one of the best healthy cat snacks that your cat will enjoy. It’s crunchy outside and soft on the inside, so your furball will surely enjoy the different textures and flavors that come with every bite.
The best part is it only has two calories for each treat. So if you’ll stick to keeping treats as occasional snacks, it won’t necessarily fatten up your kitty.
- Five different meat and fish-inspired flavors
- Low calorie
- Fights tartar buildup
- Very tasty
- Quite pricey
A lot of pet parents who care about their kitty’s health won’t just settle for a low-calorie, healthy treat but might also want to take it a step further by going all-natural. Experts strongly recommend feeding cats raw food as it is healthier for cats, but if you don’t have the time to deal with natural ingredients, the next best thing will be an all-natural product like the Natural Human Grade Dehydrated Grain-Free Fish Filets from the Honest Kitchen.
Made by a family-run company who takes their pets’ health seriously, Treats are made from just one ingredient: wild-caught haddock. It promises that your cat will only get the best and healthiest treat there is, free of GMOs, extenders, and preservatives.
- Made in the USA
- All-natural, healthy cat treat
- 1.1 calorie per treat
- Quite pricey
- A bit smelly, but since it is made from fish, this should be expected
For households with a few cats, variety is essential, as much as having a good amount of treats on hand. For this need, this party mix of Beachside cat treats is a good option. Not only is it very affordable and comes in a large canister, but it also offers three flavors in one pack: crab, shrimp, and tuna.
Featuring animal-derived proteins mixed with a bit of fiber, this treat only has 1.3 calories or less in each treat. This means that with great control, it won’t add up to your cat’s weight so it can be a great tool in training and condition your cat to be a better house cat.
- Great price
- Three flavors in one pack
- Large size
- Resealable container
- Some preservatives in the ingredients
A lot of experts say that to ensure that a cat treat is healthy, it shouldn’t have a lot of fiber in it. This is why a lot of cat parents look for grain-free options. Of course, those who try to live without gluten might also want to get their cats in on a diet, and it won’t be so bad as cats aren’t designed to process such food items. If you’re one of these folks, these Vital Essentials treats is something worth looking into.
This treat promises to be an all-natural alternative to your kitty’s treats as it only has one ingredient: freeze-dried minnows. Being free of preservatives and packed with the nutrients your cat needs, this healthy treat for cats can promise that your kitty won’t have to count her carbohydrate consumption.
- Gluten and Grain-free
- All-natural cat treat
- Made in the USA
- Calorie count not indicated
Another grain-free option that your cat might love is the Blue Buffalo Wilderness cat treats. Available in four different and exciting flavors, Chicken & Salmon, Chicken & Duck, Chicken & Turkey, and Chicken & Trout, it offers cat snacks made from real meat. This makes it a great option for a healthy treat for cats as animal-derived proteins are highly recommended for our feline friends.
Being soft and moist in texture, it can also be a good option for aging cats with dental problems. While some kitties may love a crunchy snack, they may prove to be too tough for older ones, so this can be a nice alternative for such pets.
- Great price
- Different texture
- Made from real meat
- Three calories each treat which is quite a lot
Worried about your cat’s dental health? Then this Greenies product is something you should consider getting. Being one of the more popular brands of dental can treats, this product promises to help your cat in improving her oral health. Each treat is infused with tartar and plaque fighting ingredients, promising better-smelling breath and cleaner teeth. They’re quite crunchy, so the treats get to scrape off the build up on their teeth, leaving your kitty with a healthy smile.
- Good for oral health improvement
- Friendly price
- Comes in three different meaty flavors
- Very tasty
- Calorie count not noted
For pets who like human food better, these treats from Whole Life Pet Products is also worth a shot. Made from chicken breast that is also fit for human consumption, this treat is even better than good as giving your kitty some leftover chicken as these snacks are specially prepared with your pet’s health in mind.
As the manufacturer is committed to providing ‘farm to friend’ products, this treat also promises to be all-natural and free of harmful chemicals and other preservatives. These freeze-dried chicken treats are packed with proteins and other nutrients that your kitty needs.
- Low-calorie and protein-rich
- Very tasty
- Good for humans, great for cats
- Made in the US
- Quite pricey
- Can be quite tough in texture and consistency
Our Recommended Product
Dealing with obesity in your cat can be a challenge, especially if it’s your adoration that is to blame for most of their weight gain. Switching to healthier cat treats is just one of the many things that you can do to help manage your pet’s weight, so you might want to give it a shot.
Among our seven picks, we think the Honest Kitchen Treats might just be the best product to opt for. While it is made with just one ingredient (wild-caught haddock), it still has the very nutrients your cat needs to be happy and healthy.
It also has a very low-calorie count, which is great for trimming down fat cats. The price can be a bit prohibitive, but if you want to give the best healthy cat treat for your beloved pet, this shouldn’t be a problem. As you’re not supposed to let them devour the whole bag in one sitting, a single pack should last you a few weeks.
Of course, the best cat treat for your cat will also depend on what your kitty prefers. These seven are just some of the most popular picks for you to choose from, and we hope your cat will love them so you can always feed them a healthy, low-calorie snack that’s better for their diet.