The best cat treats are absolutely delicious. Here’s why the irresistibility factor is essential.
Cats are highly food motivated. When you offer them an irresistible treat, they’ll be willing to work to get it. If you’re interested in clicker training and dream of a day when your cat will jump through hoops and shake paws on command, it’s essential to choose a scrumptious treat your cat is willing to work for.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks For Best Cat Treats
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
Cat-Man-Doo Bonito Flakes
Orijen Tundra Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
Purina DentaLife Dental Cat Treats
Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Minnows Cat Treats
PureBites Limited Ingredient Freeze-Dried Chicken Breast Treats
Nom Nom Chicken Jerky Treats
Top Picks Explained
Even if training isn’t your goal, delicious treats make your cat’s life more exciting – and who wants a treat that doesn’t make their cat’s pupils dilate?
The Best Cat Treats Are Also Healthy
Some people dismiss the low nutritional value of certain treats by saying, “It’s a treat. It’s not supposed to be healthy. Don’t worry about it.”
But why shouldn’t cat treats be just as nutritious as they are delicious? Cats love eating the things that are best for their health. As natural carnivores, fresh meat, organs, and bones are some of their favorite things to eat.
If your cat is currently obsessed with a less-than-nutritious treat like Temptations, remember that they’re probably not thrilled by the unsavory parts of the ingredient list. They don’t want corn. They don’t want rice. They don’t want Yellow 5 or Blue 2.
The thing making your cat meow and claw at the bag is a vaguely-labeled additive called “natural flavor”.
In cat food, natural flavor typically refers to hydrolyzed animal tissue. This is a highly concentrated animal flavor additive. It’s intensely flavorful and most cats absolutely love it. Other crazy-delicious treats contain animal liver, which is also a concentrated source of the rich, meaty flavor cats long for.
So, knowing that your cat craves meat, skip the sugars, artificial colors, and carbohydrates.
Look for treats that are made from high-quality, simple ingredients, like chicken liver, beef meat, and perhaps a little salmon. Avoid treats that contain corn, wheat, soy, added sugar, and other unnecessary additives like artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
What About Cat Treats For Dental Health?
Most treats marketed for dental health capitalize on the premise that crunchy food can scrape plaque off your cat’s teeth, preventing continued dental decay. Current veterinary knowledge suggests, however, that dry food and wet cat food are equally incapable of cleaning your cat’s teeth, so most of these special treats are useless.
Also Read: Best Dental Cat Treats
If you’re passionate about promoting good dental health, give your cat raw meaty bones like raw chicken wings and necks. Alternatively, you may give your cat treats infused with bacteria-consuming enzymatic cleaners.
Top 6 Best Cat Treats On The Market
To help you pick the best treats for your cat, we tested dozens of different brands and recipes to bring you our top picks. Read on to see what we think are the best cat treats on the market.
#1 Overall Best: Cat-Man-Doo Bonito Flakes Review
Also known as skipjack, bonitos are medium-sized ocean fish related to tuna. Bonito flakes are simply dehydrated pieces of this fish’s flesh – but don’t let their unassuming appearance fool you. These straightforward treats are absurdly appetizing.
Bonito flakes are well-known in the cat community as an appetite stimulant and ideal food topper, especially for cats who need an extra nudge to eat.
These ultra-appetizing flakes are high in protein and offer omega-3 fatty acids to support your cat’s skin and coat health.
Problematically, bonito flakes are paper-thin and it’s difficult to give a single piece as a traditional treat. Also, beware that the treats are likely to crumble to dust at the bottom of the bag. Many reviewers recommend transferring the bonito flakes to a jar to prevent crumbling.
100% Dried Bonito.
|Crude Protein||76.0% Min|
|Crude Fat||3.0% Min|
|Crude Fiber||1.0% Max|
- Cats go wild over these fish flakes
- Just one ingredient – perfect for sensitive cats
- Doubles as a food topper and appetite stimulant
- These flakes are easily crumbled
#2 Runner Up: Orijen Tundra Freeze-Dried Cat Treats Review
Business Insider names these meat-heavy treats from Orijen the “best freeze-dried cat treats” and they were selected as the overall best cat treat of 2018 on Reviews.com.
Made with fresh regional wild boar, goat, venison, and arctic char, these treats rely solely on freeze-dried muscle meat and organs to deliver protein, fat, and deliciousness. Although crunchy extruded treats usually beat freeze-dried treats in taste tests, these treats do surprisingly well. Cats seem to love them. Maybe it’s because three different types of fresh liver feature prominently on the ingredient list.
The freeze-drying process makes these treats safe to handle and store, but it doesn’t destroy the delicate nutrient profile of raw meat, making these treats as nourishing as chunks of raw flesh. Unlike other freeze-dried treats, Orijen’s Tundra treats are quite cohesive and don’t disintegrate in the bag, meaning that you don’t have to worry about buying a bag of meat powder.
While some treats, especially those marketed for both cats and dogs, are ever-so-slightly too large to use as a training tool, these treats are small and low in calories.
Wild Boar Liver, Wild Boar, Goat Liver, Venison Liver, Goat, Venison, Arctic Char, Mixed Tocopherols (Natural Preservative).
|Crude Protein||45.0% Min|
|Crude Fat||35.0% Min|
|Crude Fiber||1.0% Max|
- Made with exotic proteins, meaning that these treats are likely appropriate for allergic cats
- Manufactured by a trusted leader in the pet food industry
- Made without any artificial ingredients or added sugars
- Not crumbly
- Considerably more expensive than the average treat
#3 Best Dental Treat: Purina DentaLife Dental Cat Treats Review
Available in chicken and salmon flavor, these dental cat treats feature a porous, crunchy texture that allows your cat’s teeth to penetrate the teeth for an all-around clean. These treats are scientifically tested by Purina and shown to help reduce tartar buildup.
Though these crunchy cat treats are accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for controlling tartar, we’re not in love with all of the ingredients. Though these treats are made with chicken meal and fish meal, there are a few corn-based ingredients as well as non-specific ingredients like animal digest.
If you’re working with a very limited budget for cat treats, however, and want something your cat will enjoy that also benefits his oral health, these DentaLife treats may do the trick.
In addition to being good for preventing tartar buildup, these treats contain supplemental calcium and taurine. Calcium is a mineral that supports strong bones and healthy teeth while taurine is an essential amino acid necessary for healthy vision, immunity, and heart health.
These crunchy treats are sold in 1.8-ounce bags and 19-ounce cannisters and they are very low in calories – under 1.5 calories apiece.
Ground Yellow Corn, Chicken Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Digest, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Powdered Cellulose, Fish Meal, Glycerin, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Flavor, Salt, Brewers Dried Yeast, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, Tricalcium Phosphate.
|Crude Protein||32.0% Min|
|Crude Fat||10.0% Min|
|Crude Fiber||7.0% Max|
- Unique porous texture helps reduce tartar buildup
- Tasty salmon and chicken flavors cats love
- Fortified with added calcium and taurine
- Contains corn-based ingredients
- Made with unspecified ingredients (animal digest)
#4 Best Novelty Treat: Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Minnows Cat Treats Review
Isn’t there something fun about handing your cat an entire freeze-dried minnow as a treat?
These treats have definite novelty appeal, but they’re not just about looking cool. These single-ingredient minnow treats are rich in protein and free from all of the nasty ingredients common among standard crunchy treats.
Thanks to low-heat processing, these treats contain all the nutrients found in a raw minnow. Every part of the small fish is intact – eyes, internal organs, and tiny bones.
They’re easy to feed and, if your cat likes fish, these treats are insanely appetizing. One reviewer on Amazon said that “I had to call the company to see if he could overdose on them, lol, he ate the whole bag in one day.”
Finely Ground Turkey With Bone, Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Turkey Gizzard, Raw Goat’s Milk, Turkey Egg, Water, Egg Shell Membrane, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, D-Alpha Tocopherol.
|Crude Protein||49.0% Min|
|Crude Fat||17.0% Min|
|Crude Fiber||3.0% Max|
- Single-ingredient treats
- Wild-caught minnows from natural bodies of water
- Free from high-carbohydrate additives
- No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- Highly appetizing for cats who like fish
- If your cat doesn’t like fish, they probably won’t care for this treat
- Relatively expensive
#5 Best Limited Ingredient Treat: PureBites Chicken Breast Review
You could feed your cat pieces of unseasoned chicken breast from dinner, or you could give them these freeze-dried pieces of chicken packed into a convenient bag.
These single-ingredient treats retain the nutritional properties, texture, aroma, and flavor of raw chicken, but a delicate freeze-drying process make them safe to handle and store. Because they’re made from just one ingredient, these treats are perfect for cats with GI sensitivities, allergies, or who are on a restricted diet for any other reason.
Each treat is small enough to use for training and contains approximately 2 calories.
100% Pure USA Sourced & Made Human Grade Chicken Breast
|Crude Protein||74.0% Min|
|Crude Fat||3.0% Min|
|Crude Fiber||1.0% Max|
- 100% pure, human grade chicken
- A single-ingredient treat ideal for sensitive cats
- Rich in nutrients
- The treats tend to crumble in the bag
#6 Best Human-Grade Treat: Nom Nom Chicken Jerky Review
These treats are made from human-grade, USDA-certified chicken and nothing else. Each treat is made from chicken breast that was thinly sliced and dehydrated without any preservatives or additives. The jerky’s texture encourages your cat to gnaw, chomp, and rip at each treat, which may promote dental health and strong jaws.
Though not all cats will like the tough jerky texture, the treats have a strong chicken flavor that cats love. The treats are also available in a beef variety.
At $12 for a 2-ounce bag, these treats are some of the most expensive on the market.
100% USDA Certified Chicken Breast
|Crude Protein||78.0% Min|
|Crude Fat||4.0% Min|
|Crude Fiber||0.5% Max|
- Made from human-grade chicken
- Single-ingredient treats ideal for cats with sensitivities or allergies
- The jerky’s tough consistency may promote oral health
- Some cats don’t like the treats’ consistency
Making Homemade Cat Treats
Many commercial cat treats are packed with carbohydrates and unhealthy additives. They might taste good, but they probably aren’t doing your feline friend any favors in terms of nutrition.
If you want to indulge in your cat’s cravings without taking away from his everyday diet, you might consider making your own cat treats at home.
When it comes to making homemade cat food, you want to stick to a veterinarian-approved recipe to ensure your cat’s needs for balanced nutrition are met. Treats are treats, however. They aren’t intended to make up more than 10% of your cat’s daily diet, so they don’t need to be nutritionally balanced.
That being said, it’s a good idea to choose cat treats that are both good for your cat AND tasty.
Homemade cat treats can be made with a variety of ingredients, but we recommend sticking with meat or fish. These ingredients will be the most flavorful and attractive to your cat and your cat could always use a little extra protein in his diet.
Here’s a quick 5-step recipe for baked tuna treats:
- Empty one drained can of tuna (in water) into your blender.
- Beat one large egg white to stiff peaks then add two tablespoons of the beaten egg whites to the tuna.
- Blend into a smooth paste then drop small mounds of the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Alternatively, spoon the mixture into a freezer bag and snip off the tip so you can pipe it onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350°F until the treats are dry. Let cool before serving.
If you don’t have tuna on hand, you may be able to substitute canned salmon or even canned chicken. Don’t be afraid to add a little dried catnip for flavor as well!
Learn more about homemade diets for cats in our handy guide.
- The Complete Guide to Feline Nutrition
- The Best Dental Cat Treats
- The Truth About Grain-Free Diets for Cats
About the author
Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.
Frequently Asked Questions
What foods are irresistible to cats?
When shopping for cat treats, look for ingredients your cat won’t be able to resist. This typically includes meaty ingredients like beef, poultry, or fish. Avoid cat treats full of carbohydrate additives and questionable ingredients like “natural flavor.”
Is it bad to give my cat treats every day?
There are no hard and fast rules for how often you can give your cat treats other than to say that treats should make up no more than 10% of your cat’s daily diet. If you’re training your cat or just like showering him with extra love, stick to small, low-calorie treats so you can feed a few extra.
What human food can I give my cat?
If you don’t have any healthy cat treats handy, there are certain human foods which can be safe for cats. Stick to carnivore-friendly foods like cooked chicken breast or oily fish like tuna and mackerel. Avoid fried or processed foods as well as dairy products, especially if your cat is lactose intolerant.