Should Your Cat Eat Treats?
This might seem like a silly question to some. After all, people who have pets want to show them that they matter and find treats an effective way of doing that. However, are all treats that your cat may end up getting a good idea, in the long run?
Many people use homemade treats according to cat writer Amy Jamieson to give their kitty a little reward from time to time.
Are Temptations cat treats bad? Although it is a bit of a stretch to say these or any commercial treats are lethal poisons, there are some legitimate concerns that may make choosing an alternative a better option.
Do Most Cats Need Treats?
There are many treats to choose from in the cat food department at your local store. Although many of these treats are wholesome, not all provide the best level of nutrition for your pet.
According to the Catster website, nearly half the American cat population is obese. The types of ingredients in the treats can have an impact on your cat’s overall health.
Treats and other food items with poor nutritional value can affect your cat’s organs, leading to chronic health conditions. A good balance of nutrition will keep your cat healthy.
Remembering that treats are not meant to make up a large part of your kitty’s diet will help you use the treats that you feed responsibly. You will need to avoid the temptation to give in to begging for treats on your cat’s part.
What Caused the Controversy Over Temptations?
The belief that Temptations cat treats are bad for cats goes back to a 2016 Facebook post, according to Snopes.
This alarm-causing post referenced an unsubstantiated claim about 12 cats getting poisoned after consuming Temptations treats, with two going into acute renal failure. There are no vet-reported cases, despite a lot of the concern that exists.
Without medical documentation for these cases, it is difficult to conclude that treats were responsible for the cats’ health issues. Even if there is little, if any, evidence supporting a connection, there is still a lot of discussions just the same.
Why Do You Hear About So Many Cases of Poisoning?
Pet foods commonly receive the blame for acute illnesses that might have their origins elsewhere. One possible explanation may be an underlying health condition that the owner was not aware of the existence of. However, speculation doesn’t stop here.
A single antidotal story can easily end up getting shared on multiple message boards, social media sites, and other forms of media. The biggest problem associated with this type of story is that, if it goes viral, it can appear more widespread than it is.
Most of the public, including pet owners, put a lot of faith in social media information that friends share, regardless of its accuracy. For many people, anything heard from a friend takes precedence over more accurate information received elsewhere.
With misinformation spreading very rapidly online, it is important for cat owners to stay informed. The conflicting information that is available online might make this task seem somewhat daunting.
Are There Genuine Concerns Over the Ingredients?
Even though the cases involving renal failure were unsubstantiated, the cat owners’ community has concerns over some of the ingredients that make up most commercial treats.
Ingredients in Temptations and many other cat treats include meat by-products, grains, and corn gluten. Each of these ingredients is possibly an issue for your kitty’s health. Informing yourself about these products and their ingredients is wise.
Understanding what these ingredients are and how they can negatively affect your cat is important in deciding whether you want to feed these types of treats or not. The choice is yours but is best made with the knowledge of these ingredients.
Many pet owners prefer to feed their cats natural or at least minimally processed foods whenever possible. Although you would still need to restrict your cat’s intake to 10 percent, natural or minimally-processed treats may be a healthier alternative.
Meat by-products are in many pet treats, including products fed to cats. These include meat from animals that died by causes other than slaughter. The FDA has found euthanasia drug residue in over 30 pet food samples that contained by-products.
According to Dana Scott, by-products may contain meat originating from euthanized cats and dogs, causing exposure to the lethal Pentobarbital.
Although Pentobarbital exposure can kill cats, there is another possible threat. When cats consume foods that have Pentobarbital in them, they can develop a tolerance to the drug, which is also used as an anesthetic.
When a pet develops a tolerance to Pentobarbital, veterinarians may need to use more of the drug to put the cat under for a procedure. Using a greater amount of the drug during anesthesia increases the risk of complications.
Cat owners are likely to help prevent their cat from exposure by choosing treats without by-products, and should also carefully consider how much of these treats they feed, regardless of what variety the cat consumes.
Because cats are carnivorous by nature, foods, including treats, should not contain grains like ground corn, rice, wheat, or corn gluten. These ingredients are not only unnatural for cats but may contain dangerous mold.
Mold should be of special concern, according to Dr. Neely of The Cat Doctor. Many varieties of mold are toxic to cats.
One of the signs of mold exposure is lethargy, which should always be treated seriously. However, mold exposure is one of several possible issues of concern. Knowing what health problems grains could trigger is always wise.
According to Meredith Allen, many cats have sensitivities or allergies to certain grains. These ingredients may be good to avoid for that reason as well.
Grain allergies in cats can include a host of symptoms ranging from stomach upsets to skin issues and hair loss. Although treatable, cats usually have a recovery period of several weeks after a dietary change. Keeping grains out is vital for a full recovery.
The symptoms of food intolerance are similar to those of allergies. Because a serious intolerance can impact your cat’s appetite, he or she is at risk of not getting proper nutrition from their food. Intolerances can be tricky to pinpoint sometimes.
An elimination process will help you get to the root of your kitty’s intolerances. Once you’ve determined which ingredients are to blame, you can go about choosing new treats that are much healthier.
The Special Case of Corn Gluten
According to Kathy Fatheree, corn gluten is added as a protein source. However, it is not the type of protein that benefits cats the most. As a grain-based ingredient, it may cause difficulties.
One reason corn gluten is commonly used as a protein source is its low cost. However, it is low in other nutrients necessary for good health, such as amino acids. Ingredients with low nutritional value serve more like fillers than nutrients.
Corn gluten can be rightfully described as a type of filler. Any possible merits as a protein source pale in comparison to meat-based proteins, which are far more beneficial to cats.
Creating Homemade Treats for Your Cat
This video shows how to make minimally processed treats for your cat. Although it includes grain products, it is free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, making it a healthy alternative.
Your cat will enjoy new treats from time to time, so you have nothing to lose if you decide to take advantage of this recipe.
Remember Moderation is Everything
If your cat eats commercial treats, moderation is important. Any treat, regardless of the type, should never account for more than 10 percent of the pet’s diet. Being knowledgeable about the ingredients also makes a difference.
If you are careful about checking out the ingredients in your pet’s treats, you can help take more proactive steps to protect their health. Using treats as a reward rather than as part of a regular meal will help your kitty stay healthier.
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