Cats are truly unique, wonderful, and magical creatures. They are capable of climbing trees, leaping through the air from high places, and propelling medication six feet across the room.
It is a good thing that cats have nine lives because clearly they are not interested in their health and safety. That is where you come in!
Since treating cats with medications can be a challenge, prevention of issues is the key to good health. One easy way for you to aid in the prevention of some health issues is providing your cat with treats that have benefits.
Any time you are adding anything new to your cat’s diet, especially if they have underlying medical issues, speak to your veterinarian to be sure it is ok. Additionally, your veterinarian will be able to guide you on the best options to use for your special feline.
Cat Treats for Calming & Anxiety
Stress can have a major impact on your cat’s health. Stressed cats can suffer from medical issues, such as with their urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract. It weakens their immune system which means they are more susceptible to other illnesses. It can also create behavioral problems.
While we can’t always control or completely eliminate the stress in our cat’s environment, we can provide them with treats that help them manage stress. Controlled stress means an improved immune system. When a cat's immune systems are functioning optimally, they suffer from less medical issues.
When looking for calming treats for cats, try to find ones that contain pheromones, tryptophan, rosemary, chamomile, L-theanine, colostrum and/or alpha-casozepine (hydrolyzed milk protein).
Use calming treats when you have company, your cat is boarding, they have repeated issues with cystitis, or any time there are any changes occurring in the environment. Our top three recommended treats include:
- Bach Rescue Remedy Natural Stress Relief for Pets
- Vetoquinol Zylkene Behavior Support Calming Capsules for Dogs & Cats
- VetriScience Composure Pro Bite Size Chews for Dogs and Cats - Pet Relaxants & Anti-Anxiety
Cat Treats for Dental Health
Good dental hygiene is essential to overall health. Periodontal disease can cause cats to develop swollen and painful gums, loose teeth, and damage to the jawbone. Additionally, it can cause disease in other parts of the body such as the heart and kidneys.
While we definitely encourage you to learn how to brush your cat's teeth, many of our feline friends are, unfortunately, not really agreeable to holding still for us to get pet-safe toothpaste in their mouths.
But the good news is that there are treats and food supplements that do most of the work for you. Here are a few favorites:
- Feline Greenies Dental Treats
- Wysong Dentatreat Canine/Feline Food Supplement
- Purina Dentalife Dental Treats for Cat
- WholeHearted Smart Smiles Catnip Flavor Cat Dental Treats
- VetriScience Laboratories – Perio Plus Feline Bites, Dental Crunchy Bites for Cats
- VetriScience Laboratories – Perio Support, Dental Health Powder for Cats and Dogs
If you decide to buy a feline dental treat, aside from the ones listed above, check to be sure it has the VOHC seal on it. The dental treats with that seal have been reviewed and approved by veterinary dentists.
Cat Treats for Fur and Skin Health
The skin is one of the largest organs of the body and is critical to a healthy immune system. Keeping your cat's skin healthy not only improves their health but also helps them have a beautiful coat.
Typically, treats that benefit our cat’s fur and skin also provide additional anti-inflammatory benefits. So these treats really pack a lot of bang for the buck!
- Feline Greenies Smartbites Skin & Fur Treats
- Solid Gold SeaMeal Powder for Skin & Coat
- Zesty Paws Salmon Oil
- Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet
- Vital Essentials Vital Cat Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
Cat Treats for Joint Health and Mobility
Cats are leapers and jumpers. But because they are so agile and good at hiding pain, many cat owners do not realize that all this activity can cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation eventually causes arthritis in cats.
Cat treats designed to help with joint health and mobility help to control inflammation, ease pain and protect the cartilage of the joints. All in all, they allow for your cat to live a longer, more mobile, and pain-free life.
Most joint supplements should contain glucosamine and chondroitin. But the addition of other ingredients, such as avocado, soybean extract, Boswellia, probiotics, etc, are great for added support.
There are many joint supplements out there but these are some of our favorites as we've seen positive experiences with many cats:
- Dasuquin Capsules for Cats
- Nutramax Cosequin Chews for Cats
- VetriScience Mobility Flex Canine and Feline Formula
- VetriScience GlycoFlex for Cats
- VetriScience VetriFlex for Dogs and Cats of all Weight Ranges
- VetriScience Feline Senior Vitality Pro Chews
Cat Treats for Eye/Respiratory Health and Immune Support
Having a strong immune system is essential in fighting off infections and disease. Finding easy ways to boost your cat’s immunity, especially if they are a senior, have cancer, or have FeLV/FIV, is simpler when you can do it with treats.
Upper respiratory infections in cats affect not only the respiratory system but often their eyes as well.
Supporting the respiratory system and their eyes helps further support the immune system since you are boosting those areas' own defense mechanisms.
Typically, these types of treats contain lysine, antioxidants, prebiotics, etc.
- Dr. Mercola Eye Support for Pets
- Ocu-Glow for mature cats
- Tomlyn L-Lysine Immune Support Supplement Chews for Cats
- in Clover Spry – Respiratory and Ocular Support Soft Chews for Cats
- Pet Naturals of Vermont L-Lysine for Cats
- VetriScience Laboratories – Vetri DMG Liquid, Endurance and Immune Support for Cats, Dogs, and Birds
- Vetoquinol Viralys L-Lysine Supplement for Cats & Kittens
- VetriScience Laboratories - Vetri Lysine Plus
Cat Treats for Hairball Issues
Hairballs are literally no fun for anyone (unless you have a dog that thinks they are tasty!). Besides the grossness of hairballs, the retching feeling cats experience is unpleasant. Even worse, there is always the potential that these hairballs can make their way down the GI tract and cause an obstruction. Fortunately, there are treats that help lessen or eliminate hairballs.
Look for treats that use Omega Fatty Acids, vitamins, fiber, and other essential enzymes to break down materials that hold the hairball together.
- Pet Greens Cat Craves
- Feline Greenies for Hairball Control
- Pet Naturals of Vermont Hairball for Cats
- Vetoquinol Laxatone for Cats
- Tomlyn Hairball Remedy Laxatone
- VetriScience Feline Furball Pro
- VetriScience Laboratories Hairball Digestive Support
NOTE: Use caution if you feed over-the-counter hairball diets. They can cause high levels of fat in the blood and make some cats very sick.
Cat Treats for Gastrointestinal Health (Tummy Troubles)
Cats, like people, often suffer from tummy troubles. It can be from stress, diet changes, or medical issues. Gastrointestinal (GI) health is critical to your cat’s overall wellbeing. Keeping it in balance is essential.
Probiotics, which are found in most GI support treats, are found to provide benefits to the entire body in addition to the GI tract. Fiber is another important ingredient in GI treats. Fiber helps by acting as a prebiotic, helps bulk stool, and keeps the GI tract functioning.
- Purina Fortiflora Feline Nutritional Probiotic
- Pet Naturals Daily Digest for Cats
- Glandex Dog and Cat Anal Gland Sac Fiber Supplement with Probiotics
- Nutramax Proviable Health Supplement for Cats and Dogs
- VetriScience GI Balance Pro for Canines and Felines
- VetriScience Laboratories – Probiotic Everyday for Cats, Digestive Support Supplement
Cat Treats to Support Urinary Health
Some cats, due to stress or genetics have a tendency to develop sterile cystitis, urinary tract infections, crystals, and stones. All of these issues are painful and can add to stress, especially if medications are needed.
Treats that contain glucosamine benefit the bladder because the mucous layer that lines the bladder is very similar chemically to that of joint fluid. When this lining is protected it helps make the bladder more resistant to inflammation.
A urinary treat that contains D-mannose is also helpful because it helps remove harmful bacteria.
- VetriScience Laboratories UT Strength Feline Urinary Tract Support
- Nutramax Cosequin Soft Chews for Cats
Providing cats with treats they love always gives the warm fuzzies — but when you know they are gaining extra benefits from them, it is even better. Just remember, treats should never comprise more than 5% of your cat’s daily total caloric intake. Maintaining your cat at a healthy weight and preventing them from being overweight is another great way of preventing health issues.