Best cat treats for training and snacks

Cats are generally considered to be more finicky about their food than dogs. After all, as predators, they did have a lot of variety in their natural habitat. One way to diversify your feline’s daily diet is by getting some cat treats as snacks. Together with pet grass and catnip, these treats can help you during training sessions (yes cats can be trained – check our list of the best cat training guides for help) or just simple bonding with your pet.

But which are the best cat treats for training and snacks?

In this article, we look at addressing exactly the same question and list some of the best cat treats and snacks available in the market. These commercial treats are both healthy and delicious and easy to carry around in your treat pouch or pocket.

Our focus would be the standard cat training treats and snacks. Specialized treats such as dental chews, medicated treats and pill treats would be a topic of discussion in another article. We will also discuss the major factors to consider while picking these treats and share some homemade options as well.

Do not forget to check out our article on the best dog training treats if you are looking for some snacks for your cat’s canine companion.

Best cat treats list

Some of the best cat treats for training and snacks are listed below:
PictureProductNutrition 
Orijen Tundra Freeze-Dried Cat Treats1 kcal/treat
PureBites Freeze-Dried Treats for Cats2 kcal/treat

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Crunchy Cat Treats1.5 - 1.6 kcal/treat

Wellness Kittles Crunchy Cat Treats1.1 - 1.2 kcal/treat

Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Raw Cat Treats1.3 - 1.5 kcal/treat

CatManDoo Life Essentials Chicken Littles Cat Treats1.2 - 1.3 kcal/treat

Pet Greens Cat Craves Treats2 kcal/treat

Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks for Cats13 kcal/stick

Greenies Feline SmartBites Cat Treats1.3 - 1.5 kcal/treat

Fruitables Wildly Natural Cat Treats1.9 kcal/treat

What are cat treats and what makes a good cat treat for training and snacks?

Cat treats or snacks are specially formulated dog food developed to be given to the feline in small units to complement their regular meals. In addition to adding some diversity of the feline’s daily diets, cat treats are an effective mechanism for teaching skills such as litter training, obedience commands and playful tricks using positive reinforcement techniques. These treats also work well during outdoor trips and travel.

There are a lot of different types of cat treats available in the market. Common cat treats include small, low-calorie, protein-rich cat snacks with minerals and vitamins added as supplements. Other specialty treats include catnip treats, hairball control treats, dental health treats and medicated treats. While it is not necessary to use commercial cat treats, these treats do act as a strong stimulation and motivation for the pet.

Cat treats can be useful in several situations and scenarios and most cat behaviorists recommend using them together with the daily kibbles and homemade food to provide the proper stimulus and nutrition to the feline. These treats are an effective way to lure the cat during a training session or giving daily medication. These treats are also effective in addressing cat behavioral issues such as excessive grooming and anti-social reclusion. Furthermore, these cat snacks help in establishing a personal bond with the pet when you feed them with your hand.

It is important to remember that cat treats are merely snacks and not a replacement for the regular cat meal. As a general rule, cat treats should not make more than 10% of the feline’s daily diet.

Not all cat treats are created equal and the best cat treats for training and snacks are ones that are:

  • Made with a limited set of high-quality, safely sourced ingredients.
  • Low on calorie-content and rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins (natural or as supplements).
  • Free of fillers such as corn, soy and wheat.
  • Free of artificial flavors, colors and harmful preservatives – BHA and BHT.
  • Aromatic, delicious and enticing to the cat.
  • Easy to store with a long shelf life.

Some best-selling, budget cat treats such as Temptations MixUps Cat Treats and Purina Friskies Party Mix Cat Snacks contain fillers and by-product meats and hence are not the best cat treats for training and snacks.

In the next section, we list out some of the best cat treats for training or simply snacking.  We will try to cover all the different types of options – both low and high-value cat treats, freeze-dried snacks and even jerky sticks. We have, however, left out specialized cat treats such as  catnip treats, medicated treats, hairball control treats and dental chews, which would be the topic of discussion of another article.

It is worthwhile to mention that just like any other food, your kitty may have its own preference for a specific type of cat treat and hence you may have to switch between a few before picking the best combination for your cat (or cats).

For some more information on cat treats and how they can help, check out the following video by world-renowned cat behaviorist and trainer Jackson Galaxy:

Which are the best cat treats for training and snacks?

Orijen Tundra Freeze-Dried Cat TreatsOrijen Tundra Freeze-dried Cat Treats 1.25 Ounces

Type: Soft, dry treat nuggets. Freeze-dried.
Nutritional Value: 1 kcal/treat.
Features:

  • High-quality, all-natural cat treats featuring a healthy blend of venison, boar and goat liver and venison and arctic char. Suitable for all adult cats.
  • Made with the best protein meat sourced and manufactured in Canada with no corn, wheat or soy fillers or artificial colors and preservatives.
  • Tempting natural aroma and real liver flavor are especially tempting to the feline.
  • Soft and chewy and designed to retain shape without crumbling.
  • Backed by a 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment by the manufacturer.
  • Available in multiples of 1.25 oz. re-sealable pouches.
  • Another popular option – the Orijen Original Freeze-dried Cat Treats is also available.

Details:

Orijen Tundra Freeze-Dried Cat Treats are one of the most popular cat treats in the market and also one of our favorites (and also of most other cat food review sites).

Orijen Tundra Freeze-Dried Cat Treats are made of high-quality meat ingredients that include Wild boar liver, venison liver and goat liver along with goat, venison and arctic char meat. All the meat is produced and sourced in Canada.

All Orijen pet food products are made in USDA and globally certified factories in the US and Canada using a non-cooking, gentle freeze-dry process. This process helps in retaining all the natural nutrients and aroma of the meat.

The Orijen Tundra cat treats are small, soft and chewy and tend to retain their shapes better than most other freeze-dried treats. At only 1 kcal/treat, they are fairly light on the feline’s stomach.

These cat treats are available in a re-sealable package of 1.25 oz.  and its multiples. A treat bag contains around 220-230 treats and has a decent shelf life.

Overall, the Orijen Tundra cat treats are the perfect cat treats to consider for training your beloved pet. These treats are slightly costlier than other cat treats, but you get what you pay for.

PureBites Freeze-Dried Treats for CatsPureBites Chicken Breast for Cats, 1.09oz / 31g - Value Size

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Type: Soft, dry treat nuggets. Single-Ingredient and Freeze-dried.
Nutritional Value: 2 kcal/treat. (1-3 kcal for other flavors).
Features:

  • Best-selling, single-ingredient cat treats made of pure meat produced, sourced and made in the US. Absolutely no additives or preservatives. Suitable for all adult cats.
  • Soft and chewy and designed to work well with cats with food allergies and restricted diets.
  • Tempting natural aroma and real meaty flavor provide a high-value reward to the cat.
  • Comes in over seven animal or fish meat flavors – turkey, duck, beef, salmon, shrimp
  • Backed by a 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment by the manufacturer.
  • Available in three sizes – small, medium and large.

Details:

The tender and nutritious PureBites Freeze-Dried Cat Treats are the best-selling single ingredient cat treats out there and a perfect choice if you are looking for a high-value cat treat for your adult feline.

The PureBites Cat Treats are made in the US of a single meat ingredient which is freeze-dried using a unique process that keeps the nutrients intact and prolongs shelf life. These treats are available in multiple animal and fish meat flavors with the chicken breast and salmon treats being the most popular. All the treat varieties are made of ingredients sourced in the US.

The treats have a somewhat irregular nugget shape and are soft for cats to swallow and digest. With a calorie content ranging from 1 kcal/treat to 3 kcal/treat, you have multiple options to pick from. The natural aroma of the treats makes them extremely tempting to the pet. Just remember to carry a treat pouch to store these treats, because they tend to crumble a little.

The PureBites Freeze-Dried Cat Treats are undoubtedly the best cat treats for training and snacks, especially for cats which are on restricted diets or have specific food allergies.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Crunchy Cat TreatsBLUE Wilderness Grain-Free Crunchy Salmon Flavor C at Treats 2-oz 12 Pack

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Type: Crunchy treat pieces.
Nutritional Value: 1.5 – 1.6 kcal/treat.
Features:

  • Crunchy cat snacks inspired by the natural wild feline diet.
  • Grain-free, all-natural with no by-products, artificial colors or flavors. Ingredients are globally sourced. Made in the US.
  • Rich in proteins, DHA, Omega-3 and other nutrients especially useful for growing cats.
  • A strong aromatic smell makes them extremely enticing to the felines.
  • Available in Chicken or Salmon flavors, along with additional multi-flavor options.
  • Backed by a 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment by the manufacturer.
  • Available in a 2 oz. re-sealable bag that keeps the contents fresh for a long time.
  • Also available in semi-moist treats variety pack.

Details:

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Crunchy Cat Treats are an excellent cat treat options for cats who have a specific liking to crunchy treats. Competitively priced and not too costly when compared to the popular budget cat treats – Temptations MixUps Cat Treats and Purina Friskies Party Mix Cat Snacks (these options contain fillers and by-product meat)

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Cat Treats are made in the US with real meat as the first ingredient. The meat is produced and sources within the US only. The treats are free from any by-product meals or fillers such as corns, wheat, soy or artificial flavors and preservatives. The treats are oven-baked to make them extra crunchy, while keeping all the natural flavor and aroma intact. With a nutritional value of 1.5 – 1.6 kcal/treat, these treats are pretty light on your pet’s stomach.

These cat treats are available in two popular flavors – Chicken and Salmon and in package size of 2 oz. You can also check out some additional multi-flavor options and semi-moist treats from the same manufacturer.

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Cat Treats are a “purr-fect” crunchy treat option for all adult cats on limited ingredient diets.

Wellness Kittles Crunchy Cat TreatsWellness Kittles Cat Treat Variety Pack - 3 Flavors (Chicken & Cranberries, Salmon & Cranberries, and Tuna & Cranberries Flavors) - 2 oz Each (3 Total Pouches)

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Type: Crunchy cylindrical treat pieces.
Nutritional Value: 1.5 – 1.6 kcal/treat.
Features:

  • Another popular bite-sized crunchy cat snacks that help in maintaining dental health.
  • Grain-free, all-natural with no by-products, artificial colors or flavors. Ingredients are globally sourced. Made in the US.
  • Available in 6 multi-flavors with the meat being the primary ingredient.
  • Backed by a 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment by the manufacturer.
  • Come in a 2 oz. re-sealable bag and its multiples.

Details:

The Wellness Kittles Crunchy Cat Treats are perfectly-sized cat treats that provide excellent nutrition while helping in maintaining dental health by scraping tartar and freshening breath during chewing.

The Wellness Kittles Crunchy Cat Treats are 100% all-natural with the raw meat as the primary ingredient. Additional nutritious ingredients include cranberries, blueberries, peas and flaxseed. The treats contain only natural ingredients with no corn, soy or artificial colors and flavors. The raw ingredients are sourced globally under strict quality control and made in USDA-approved facilities in the US.

These treats are available in six flavors – Chicken and Cranberries, Salmon and Cranberries, Tuna and Cranberries, Whitefish and Cranberries, Duck and Cranberries, and Turkey and Cranberries. The natural aroma of the treats is quite tempting even to the fussiest eaters.

At only 1.1 – 1.2 kcal/treat, these treats are perfect for kittens and young cats as well. They are available in a 2 oz. re-sealable package and backed by a 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment by the manufacturer.

The Wellness Kittles Crunchy Cat Treats are another excellent crunchy cat treat option to consider for your kitty.

Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Raw Cat TreatsVital Essentials Ultimate Freeze Dried Raw Cat Treats Ultimate Bundle with (Ahi Tuna, Minnows, Alaskan Salmon & Duck Liver) 4 Bags Total. Fast Delivery!!!

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Type: Irregular shapes vary by flavor. Single-Ingredient and Freeze-dried.
Nutritional Value: 1.3 – 1.5 kcal/treat.
Features:

  • Freeze-dried, single-ingredient cat treats made of whole, single-sourced meat with no added hormones, antibiotics, fillers or flavorings.
  • Made and packaged in USDA-approved manufacturing units with produce sourced within the US only.
  • Naturally aromatic to the cats, but light on aroma for owners.
  • Come in seven great flavors with the minnows being the most popular.
  • Available in small 0.5-1.5 oz. re-sealable packs. Also available in variety combinations.

Details:

The Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Raw Cat Treats are as natural as you can get for cat treats. These all-natural single-ingredient cat treats are an excellent low-calorie, protein-rich cat treats for training and snacks.

While the cats may love the single-ingredient PureBites Cat Treats a little more, for some cat owners these treats are the best – they are less smelly and cheaper than PureBites.

The Vital Essentials Raw Cat Treats are made of single-ingredient fish or animal meat. The products are sourced within the US and made and packaged in USDA approved facilities. The treats are freeze-dried using the Nitrogen-tunnel process and packaged into small 0.5 oz.-1.5 oz. re-sealable bags to retain the freshness. The treats are naturally-shaped (the minnow treats were standard 1-inch dried minnows with eyes and all) or made into small nuggets. They do have a natural aroma but are somewhat less stinky when compared to the PureBites treats.

These treats are available in seven delectable flavors – Minnows, Rabbit, Chicken, Chicken Hearts, Chicken Giblets, Duck, Tuna and Salmon. The fish treats tend to flake a little more, so if you are looking for something to carry with you, you can look at Chicken or Rabbit treats.

Like other Vital Essentials products, the Vital Essentials Raw Cat Treats are backed by a 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment from the manufacturer. These cat treats are one of the best high-quality treat options to consider for allergic, limited diet cats who can get a hang of the taste and texture.

CatManDoo Life Essentials Chicken Littles Cat TreatsLife Essentials Freeze Dried Chicken Littles by Cat-Man-Doo 5 oz 2pk

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Type: Soft, dry treat cubes. Single-Ingredient and Freeze-dried.
Nutritional Value: 1.2 – 1.3 kcal/treat.
Features:

  • Soft and tender freeze-dried cat training treats that work well for all cats and small dogs. Can be re-hydrated with warm water.
  • Made in the US with high-quality, single-ingredient – USDA-approved white breast chicken meat with no artificial flavors or fillers.
  • Available in standard packs from 1 oz. to 5 oz. size. The contents need to be stored separately in air-tight containers or packets once opened.
  • Also available in large chicken pieces and small chicken sprinklers and Salmon
  • Another popular fish meat option – CatManDoo Bonito Flakes are also available from the same manufacturer.

Details:

CatManDoo Life Essentials Chicken Littles Cat Treats, along with the flakey CatManDoo Bonito Flakes, is another high-quality single-ingredient cat snack options to consider for your kitty.

The Life Essentials Chicken Littles Cat Treats are made of high-quality white-breast chicken meat with no grain fillers such as soy, wheat and corn. The treats are also free from any artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

These treats have a mild smell which is pretty enticing to the cats and dogs alike. The treats nuggets are high can be crumbled and broken into smaller pieces and do not leave any residue on hand during feeding – an indication of the high-grade freeze-drying process. The treats can even be rehydrated with warm water to be given to the pets as regular food.

The CatManDoo Chicken Treats are available in three sizes – Standard Pieces, Littles and Sprinklers. A salmon-flavored treat option is also available from the same manufacturer. These treats are available in different packages of size ranging from 1 oz. to 5 oz. The only drawback is that the packing is not re-sealable, and you would need to transfer the contents to airtight containers or packets once opened.

If you have a cat or a small breed dog who loves chicken, then you should definitely check out the CatManDoo Life Essentials Chicken Littles Cat Treats as one of the options.

Pet Greens Cat Craves TreatsPet Greens Semi-Moist Cat Craves Treats

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Type: Soft, semi-moist heart-shaped treats.
Nutritional Value: 2 kcal/treat.
Features:

  • High-value, semi-moist cat treats made of high-quality ingredients including certified, organic wheatgrass.
  • Made in the US with meat and wheatgrass as the main ingredients and wholesome veggies and fish oil as additional items.
  • Rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins with no gluten artificial colors or filler additives.
  • Available in four meaty flavors – chicken, salmon, tuna and turkey + duck.
  • Backed by a 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment from the manufacturer.

Details:

The Pet Greens Semi-Moist Cat Craves Treats are one of the first cat treats to have organic wheatgrass as an active ingredient. So, if your cat loves greenies and is attracted to chewing through houseplants or outside grass, then the Pet Greens Treats are one to look at.

The Pet Greens Semi-Moist Cat Craves Treats are made of high-quality ingredients with meat and wheatgrass as the primary ingredients, along with wholesome veggies and fish oil as additional source of minerals, Omega fatty acids and vitamins. At 2 kcal/treat, they are one of the highest value cat treats that we have listed, so you must adjust the regular cat meals accordingly. With 37% moisture content, these treats are fairly light on the feline’s stomach.

The Pet Greens Semi-Moist Cat Craves Treats are available in 3 oz. bags and four sumptuous flavors – chicken, salmon, tuna and turkey & duck.

Consider getting some Pet Greens Semi-Moist Cat Craves Treats as one of the greenie treat options for your beloved kitty, especially if your cat likes to chew over the houseplants or backyard grass.

Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks for CatsSheba Meaty Tender Sticks with Chicken Cat Treats (5 Treats), 0.7 oz, Box of 10

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Type: Soft, tender meaty sticks.
Nutritional Value: 6.0 kcal/gram.
Features:

  • Tender, chewy cat treat sticks with real meat as the No.1 ingredient. Made in Austria and marketed by Mars Petcare, USA.
  • High-quality ingredients with no corn, wheat or soy fillers and artificial colors and flavors.
  • The sticks can be broken into smaller pieces without crumbling. One stick can be fed per day.
  • Available in 6 delectable flavors with animal and fish meat.
  • Available in a 60 oz. packet with 5 individually-packed sticks.

Details:

Though treat sticks would not automatically fall into the category of cat training treats, Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks for Cats are a perfect snack to add a little variety to your cat’s daily meal. These premium treat sticks are tender and tasty enough to be a perfect choice for even the most un-motivated feline.

The Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks are made of high-quality, animal (Beef, Chicken or Turkey) or fish (Tuna, Salmon or Whitefish) meat with no artificial additives or fillers. These treats are made in Austria and marketed by Mars Petcare, USA. Each jerky stick is about 5-inches long and can be cut into smaller bits of appropriate size.

These sticks have a natural aromatic smell that is pretty tempting to the cats of all ages. Available in six delectable flavors, these treats are soft and chewy and can be easily swallowed and digested by the feline.

One of the major advantages of these cat treats is that they are wrapped individually while packing so they can stay fresh for a long time. Moreover, these sticks do not leave a stinky, smelly residue on hands, making it more convenient for the pet owner.

If you are looking to add a little variety to your cat’s daily treats, then consider getting a pack of Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks for your beloved fur-ball. Your kitty will find these tender treat sticks a lot more tempting and tasty than its regular meal.

Greenies Feline SmartBites Cat TreatsGreenies FELINE SMARTBITES Healthy Skin and Fur Treats for Cats Chicken Flavor 2.1 oz

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Type: Dual-textured treats – crunchy on outside and soft, tender on the inside.
Nutritional Value: 1.3 – 1.5 kcal/treat.
Features:

  • Unique dual-textured treats made in the US with a combination of meat and proprietary plant-based fibers. Made in Canada.
  • Made of natural ingredients with the locally sourced meat being the major ingredient and fish oil, flaxseed and whole veggies as additional ingredients.
  • Fortified with healthy minerals and vitamins. No artificial colors or filler additives.
  • Available in two preparations – hairball control and healthy skin and four flavors, including a unique tasteless blend flavor.
  • Come in packaging size of 2.1 oz. or 4.6 oz. re-sealable bags.

Details:

The Greenies Feline SmartBites Cat Treats are another popular cat treats that blend meat with plant-based ingredients. Globally sourced and made in Canada, these unique dual-textured bite-sized treats provide a delicious and healthy snack to your kitty. These treats are crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

The Greenies Feline SmartBites Cat Treats are made with real meat as the primary ingredient and a proprietary Fiberblend combination of wholesome veggies, fish oil and flaxseeds that provide additional minerals, vitamins and Omega Fatty acid nutrients to the feline. The treats are free from any filler or meat by-product ingredients.

These treats are available in two special formulations – hairball control and healthy skin. The treats come in four flavors – Flavorless, Tuna, Chicken and Salmon. The treats are available in package size of 2.1 oz or 4.6 oz and their multiples.

Just like the tender sticks, the Greenies Feline SmartBites Cat Treats are a unique cat snack to add some variety to your feline’s daily diet.

Fruitables Wildly Natural Cat TreatsFruitables Variety 3 Pack of Wildly Natural Cat Treats 2.5 Ounces each. 7.5 Ounces Total

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Type: Dual-texture, flower-shaped bites.
Nutritional Value: 1.9 kcal/treat.
Features:

  • Newly-introduced, dual-textured cat treats with flower-shaped bites having a crunchy exterior and a flaky interior. Suitable for all adult cats.
  • Made with the best protein meat sourced and manufactured in the US with no corn, wheat or soy fillers or artificial colors and preservatives.
  • Tempting natural aroma and real meat flavor are extremely motivating to the feline.
  • Backed by a 100% satisfaction guaranteed commitment by the manufacturer.
  • Comes in three sumptuous flavors – Chicken, Salmon and Tuna.
  • Available in multiples of 2.5 oz. re-sealable pouches. A variety set is also available.

Details:

The newly-introduced, Fruitables Wildly Natural Cat Treats are another dual-textured cat treat option to consider. These flower-shaped treat bites are crunchy on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside and work well with all adult cats, even the ones with a sensitive stomach.

The Fruitables Wildly Natural Cat Treats are made in the US from globally sourced meat and additional wholesome veggie ingredients. The treats do not contain any artificial preservatives or flavors and are free from soy, corn and other fillers. The treats have a natural aroma and are available in three delectable flavors – chicken, salmon and tuna.

The only drawback of the Fruitables treat is their high-calorie value 1.9 kcal/treat and added salt which means that they are slightly dehydrating to the pet. Moreover, because of their dual-texture, they cannot be broken down into smaller pieces. Still, these treats offer a tempting option to even the fussy eater. Just remember to provide proper hydration to the pet.

How to pick the best cat treats for training and snacks?

With so many options available in the market, picking the best cat treats for training and snacks can often be a challenging and time-consuming task. Worry not! In our list, we have recommended only the best cat treats which are low-calorie, nutrient-rich and free from artificial contents and grain fillers.

To further zero-in on the best cat treats for your kitty, you can keep the following factors in mind in addition to the price considerations:

  • Type of treat
  • Ingredients
  • Nutritional Value
  • Flavor and Texture
  • Additional Considerations

To reiterate, you would most probably have to switch between a few different brands and flavors before picking the right combination. And it is always a good idea to maintain variety in your feline’s daily snacks to keep it engaged and motivated.

Type of treat

The first factor you have to consider is the type of treat you should opt for – dry crunchy treats, soft semi-moist treats or lickable moist treats.

The selection of the type of treats depends upon the type of diet your cat is on. If your cat is on primarily dry food diet, then you should consider getting semi-moist or lickable moist treats with 20% or more moisture contents to prevent dehydration.

On the other hand, if your cat has enough wet food, chances are that it would prefer the crunchy, freeze-dried treats. And if you are using them from training, dry and semi-moist treats are hard enough to retain their shape in the treat bag and soft enough for cats to swallow quickly.

So, depending upon your cat’s primary diets, pick the right type of cat treats to start with. And when in doubt, pick small, soft, semi-moist treats and improvise based on your feline’s preferences.

Ingredients

The ingredients of the treats are one of the most important factors to consider.  Why else, do you think there are so many cat food recalls?

When compared to dogs, cats are much more sensitive towards the food they intake. And if your cat is overweight or suffering from food allergies or stomach ailments, then it becomes even more important to pick the treats with the right ingredients. So, you have to be careful about the primary ingredients.

Some of the major ingredient/content-related factors to look for in treats are:

  • The treats should be low on calorie-content. Though they both start with a “C”, cats and carbs do not go well together.
  • The treats should be rich in additional nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals.
  • The treats should have premium sourced primary ingredient (meat or veggie) with no by-product ingredients. Popular budget options such as the Temptations MixUps Cat Treats and Purina Friskies Party Mix Cat Snacks CONTAIN fillers and by-product meat as ingredients.
  • The treats should be rich in natural content with no grain fillers such as soy, wheat and corn.
  • The treats should not have high sodium-content or sweeteners. Studies have shown that cats cannot even experience sweet taste.
  • The treats should not have artificial flavors or preservatives – BHA and BHT.

In addition, cat treats that are made from ingredients sourced in US or Canada and also packaged in US/Canada are generally most suitable because of the USDA restrictions and quality control measures. In our list, we have tried to stick to such cat treats only. Avoid treats which are made in or contain ingredients sourced from other countries.

To summarize, check the ingredients of the treats before the best cat treats for training and snacks. You can generally find this information in the product details and Q&A section on Amazon. You can also check the manufacturer’s site for more details.

Nutritional Value

Closely related to the ingredients of the treats is its nutritional value. Obesity is a major problem for cats, especially in the North Americas and unhealthy, a high-calorie diet is one of the primary reasons.

A general rule of thumb is that cat treats should not make up more than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie requirement. Therefore, treats which are light on calorie content (technically the ME or Metabolic Energy) and rich in other nutrients are a perfect choice.

Depending upon your feline’s breed, age, size and metabolism you can pick a low-calorie training treat. We have only listed treats which are low on calorie content, ranging from 0.9 kcal/treat to about 2.0 kcal/treat. Anything more than 2.5-3 kcal/treat should be avoided.

Most dog training treats can be broken into smaller pieces without crumbling and treats such as Jerky sticks can always be cut into smaller sizes. The Orijen Tundra Freeze-Dried Cat Treats  is one of our favorites, low-calorie cat treat with a calorie content of only 1.0 kcal per treat. (Note: When you read calories/treat in daily language or product description it is actually referring to kilo-calories/treat).

All pet food manufacturers are required to publish the nutritional breakdown on the box and most manufacturers also share this information on their websites. So, make sure that you check the nutritional details of the treats before picking the best one for your kitty.

Ingredient and Nutritional Details of Treats (Source PureBites, Amazon.com)
Ingredient and Nutritional Details of Treats (Source PureBites, Amazon.com)

Flavor and Texture

Cats are fussy eaters, and the flavor, texture and smell (read stinky-ness) of the treat is also something to consider, especially if you have a reclusive cat which does not get motivated easily.

Cats are omnivores which a special love for meats and different cats have different flavor preferences. Some cats love the seafood treats such as those made of bonito, tuna or salmon, while others loathe them and prefer chicken or other land animal-meat.

Since cats are much more sensitive towards the smell than humans, a smellier treat would get its attention quicker than a less smelly treat. So, do not mind picking a stinky, smelly treat for your feline if it works well for the pet and you are not cringed with the pungent smell of the cat snack.

The texture of the treats is probably the least important of the three, but still more significant than it is for dogs. We have listed some dual-textured options as well which are crunchy on the outside and flakey on the inside.  Greenies Feline SmartBites Cat Treats is one such option.

Thankfully, most cat treats and snacks that we have listed are available in multiple flavors and many of them offer small-sized variety packs to try out multiple flavors before picking the best combination for your kitty.

Additional considerations

In addition to the four major factors discussed above, there are a few miscellaneous additional considerations to keep in mind before picking the best cat treats for training and snacks.

The packaging of the treats is one such factor. Cat treats can go stale quickly and a re-sealable package that is easy to open and seal back is the best option as it keeps the treats fresh for a long time.

Another consideration is the different package sizes a specific cat treat is available in. Purchasing these cat snacks in bulk is generally cheaper and works especially well if you have multiple cats at home. Most of the options that we listed are available in multiple packages with plastic containers or small re-sealable bags, so you can select the right ordering volume depending upon your needs.

The shelf life of treats is also something to check out. Make sure you make your purchases directly from manufacturers or authorized resellers so that you can be sure of a long shelf life and return the item without any hassles in case of any problems.

Finally, if a manufacturer offers Amazon Dash Buttons or Amazon Subscribe & Save purchases, then you can save some additional money by opting for these services.

Keep these small considerations in mind as well before picking the best cat treats for training and snacks for your kitty.

Cat Treat Bags and Pouches

Chuckit! Treat Tote Dog Treat Pouch Assorted Colors

Considering the fact that most pet cats stay indoors or in the backyards, you do not need to spend a lot in a treat bag or pouch. A simple 1-cup tote or disposable treat bag should be sufficient. You can check out the following pet treat pouches to carry your feline’s treats:

  • Canine Hardware ChuckIt! Treat Tote: A simple, drawstring-type treat tote available in two sizes – 1 cup or 2 cups. Features a simple clip-on attachment to carry the tote on the belt if desired.
  • PetSafe Treat Mini Treat Pouch: Premium pet treat pouch, with two treat pockets. Available in two sizes and three colors. Comes with a carabiner and a detachable waist strap. Also has a flap to store your phone or other accessories.
  • K9Cakery Pet Treat Bags: Disposable pet treat bags made of food-grade cellophane material. Comes in a pack of 100 bags.

Homemade cat treats and snacks

If you are looking for some homemade options to use as cat snacks or simply add some diversity to your pet’s daily food, then you can look at the following popular homemade recommendations. Because of their limited daily diet and inability to taste the sweet flavor, cats can develop digestive issues if you feed them raw items or sweets such as chocolates. Also, avoid anything with onion or garlic.

  • Cooked corn, whole wheat breadcrumbs or millet: Many cats love corn and millet, so you can use corn or corn-flour items or whole wheat breadcrumbs as treats. Though cats are essentially carnivores, but things like corn and millet are more of nibbles for cats to snack upon. Just make sure you keep a tab on the amount you are feeding as the corn and millet carbs can add up quickly.
  • Leftover chicken or turkey meat: Cats are carnivores. You can use the leftover lean meat such as chicken or turkey from your meal, cut them to small pieces and refrigerate or freeze them to use as a variant for commercial cat treats.
  • Eggs: Eggs are a rich source of proteins, and some cat behaviorists recommend them as excellent homemade snacks. You can hard-boil them or carry them as scrambled pieces. Just remember to use a washable training pouch. Also, avoid raw eggs.
  • String Cheese: If your kitty is not allergic to dairy products (irrespective of what the movies and television show many cats are lactose-intolerant), then you can give it small amounts of hard cheese. Swiss, Cheddar and Gouda cheese are the most popular types of treats to be fed raw. You can also add them to the baked cat food.
  • Baked Homemade Treats: If you love baking, then check out some of our favorite recipes shared by OneCrazyHouse – homemade cat treats.

Tips and Things to remember

As discussed above, cat treats are a “purr-fect” way to add some diversity to your cat’s meals. If you are training your kitty, these treats can act as an excellent stimulus to speed up your feline’s training. And just like other treats, when you feed your pet by your hand, it helps in strengthening the bond between you and your beloved pet.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind while adding cat treats to your feline’s daily diet. These major things to remember are summarized below:

For some more information and tips and tricks, you can check out some additional resources in our article on the best cat training guides.

  • Not all treats are created equal and each feline would have its own favorite treat (remember cats are more finicky about their food than dogs and other pets). So, you may have to experiment with a bunch of cat treats before settling in on the best combination. You can first get some small sampler packs and then move to larger packs. Some manufacturers even offer variety packs that contain multiple types of treats in a single purchase.
  • Make sure that you check the ingredients of the treats to ensure they do not have something that your cat might be allergic to. Dairy products are a common example (many cats are lactose-intolerant). Prefer treats that are sourced from US, Canadian or other major producer countries (New Zealand, Australia etc.) and are made in the US/Canada.
  • Always pick a treat of the right size as per your cat’s breed, size and age. Unlike dogs which are comfortable with chewy treats, most cats prefer crunchy treats. If you are using treats like jerky sticks you can cut them into small pieces to feed to your pet.
  • Though most of the cat treats that we listed are light on calorie-content, they are still cat food. Make sure that you account for them and adjust the regular pet meals accordingly. More than 50% of cats in the US are considered obese and overfeeding is one of the reasons for that. The general rule of thumb is to ensure that treats do not make more than 10% of the pet’s daily diet.
  • Use a variety of cat treats to keep your feline excited and motivated. This would also prevent the kitty from getting bored of a specific training food and stop responding to the stimulus.
  • Most freeze-dried cat treats last for around 1 month after opening the pack. To prolong the freshness, you can consider storing the treats into a air-tight container.
  • Consider getting a washable treat pouch to carry the treats, especially if you plan to train your cat outdoors. Wash the treat pouch regularly in machine or hand to remove any leftover stickiness.
  • If for some reason your cat is no longer motivated by treats, consult a pet behaviorist or vet as there may be many reasons for this behavior such as digestive issues, dental problems or chronic ailments such as diabetes.

Keeping the above suggestions in mind and using the best cat treats that we listed would help you in turning your fur-ball in a well-trained, well-behaved companion.

Final thoughts on the best cat treats for training and snacks

Cat treats are a perfect way to add some diversity of the feline’s daily diets. These cat snacks are also an effective mechanism for positive reinforcement while teaching basic skills such as litter training, obedience commands and playful tricks.

In this article, we looked at some of the best cat treats for training and snacking. Our primary focus was on the standard cat snacks and not on specialty treats such as dental chews and pill pockets. We discussed the major characteristics of the best cat treats and shared the things to keep in mind before picking the best dog training treats for your kitty. We also listed some homemade options commonly recommended by pet trainers and behaviorists.

We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the best cat treats for your furry friend. Do let us know your feedback and questions by commenting below. Until next time, have a playful time with your beloved pet!

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