The Jackpot Cat Treat - Best Cat Treats for Training and Bonding

The Jackpot Cat Treat - Best Cat Treats for Training and Bonding - OutdoorBengal

Why Do Cats Go Crazy for Cat Treats?

The objective of a cat treat is to offer your cat a little edible reward, something tasty that they don't usually get. There are lots of different cat treats and not all of them have the same flavor, nutritional value, or addictive qualities.

This is not veterinary advice. It is a recollection of studies and articles I read.

2 components will make your cat go crazy for a treat:

  1. On one hand there's scarcity and variety: The same thing happens with branded products for humans. The more exclusive a product is, the more we want it. Also, even if we love pasta, we would not want to eat pasta every day. Treats possess both qualities, they are scarce and they add variety to their menus.
  2. On the other hand, there's flavor: Most generic treats contain a lot of broken-down protein (amino acids). Those short strings of amino acids are called "Animal Digest" and they are very common in cat food to make it more attractive to cats and dogs, which are extremely sensitive to the smell and flavor of foods with high amino acid concentrations.

Animal digest is a common ingredient used in pet food. It's a chemically engineered additive made by enzymatic hydrolysis.

I Choose to Give my Cat Freeze Dried Chicken

I love Feastfuls Cat Treats because Mia loves them and I have the reassurance that they are good for her.

A few reasons why I love this type of treat:

  • Preservation of Nutrients and Flavor: The freeze-drying process preserves the natural nutrients found in chicken, such as taurine, an essential amino acid for cats. This process also retains the natural flavor and aroma, making it more appealing to cats.
  • High Protein Content: Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their diet requires a high amount of protein. Chicken is an excellent source of high-quality protein which is essential for their muscle development and energy levels.
  • Low in Carbohydrates: Freeze-dried chicken contains very low levels of carbohydrates. Cats have limited ability to digest carbs, so a low-carb treat is beneficial for their health.
  • No Additives: Freeze-dried chicken is a safe way to preserve food. It usually contains no added preservatives, colors, or artificial flavors, which makes it a safer and healthier option compared to many commercial cat treats.
Feastfuls Freeze-Dried Chicken Cat Treats
Best treats for cat training
Feastfuls Freeze-Dried Chicken Cat Treats by Albert & Mia ★★★★★
  • Free'dried raw to keep flavor and nutrients
  • Extra Tasty! Single-ingredient, high in protein
  • Comes in 1.5oz, 3oz, and 6oz
  • Sized for cats. Great for training.
The ULTIMATE Guide to Cat Treats

Treats as nature intended 

Ready to impress your cat?

Why Some Cats Don't Like Cat Treats?

Despite there might be some exceptions, your cat is most likely not one of them.

There are a few reasons that explain why a cat might not like treats:

  • They are free-fed: When cats have always food available at their disposal, the value they give to food diminishes. It sometimes diminishes to the point that they won't move/work for a treat, particularly when they are full.
  • They are fed with dry kibble: Kibble is made of almost the same ingredients as treats. This causes the cat to be used to the intense flavor of the treats and they don't value them as much. 

Read this article if you believe your cat does not like treats.

Types of Cat Treats

In the past, cats were used for rodent control, as mousers. They kept the food safe by hunting down rats, mice, and other intruders. They were in control of feeding themselves although they would get house scraps as well. But the bulk of their diet was hunted and natural.

It has only been around 70 years since cats started living entirely indoors. This has created a set of problems like a lack of enrichment and access to rodents to feed themselves. Canned cat food was created around the 1930s to help cat parents feed their pets (as they no longer had access to the outdoor rodent population). In the 1960s dry food was created, making cat parents' lives easier because the food would last longer.

Not all cat food is equally healthy nor comes in the same format and the same goes for treats. Some treats are massive and very caloric, others are made of single ingredients and some are liquid.

Only recently cat parents have started to understand and invest in food that it's more nutritionally rich and healthy.

While cat parents in the '60s and the '70s started to accept the existence of pets’ nutritional needs (at the time it was considered that feeding a cat something more than scraps was spoiling the cat). It was only recently that they began to educate themselves on the topic of the most beneficial foods and harmful pet food ingredients.

So, because available cat treats are very different in shape and essence, I'd like to share with you the different types of cat treats so that we set the basis for what comes next in the article. 

Fast Food Cat Treats

There are treats that we should avoid altogether. They are cheap, come in convenient packaging and you can find them in your local store. 

The worst cat treats are made of corn and other grains, which are unnecessary carbohydrates that our cat doesn't need and contain very low-quality meat ingredients, preservatives, and a lot of flavors from the animal digest, which I explained earlier in this article.

We are now aware of how some human food companies use cheaper ingredients, and preservatives to prolong their products’ shelf-life and then use artificial flavoring (like animal digest) and colorants to give back the taste and the look to products that are no longer natural. The same happens with cat treats.

It is important to read the nutritional value of the treats we give our cats.

I have an article talking about how to keep a cat healthy that you can take a look at to understand how to read product labels and the calories we need to feed our cats. A 10lbs (4.5Kg) cat should eat about 200calories a day. Treats count towards that number, so assessing how many calories the treats we use have it's crucial to keep our cat's diet balanced and healthy.

Liquid Cat Treats

Liquid cat treats tend to be a little healthier than crunchy fast-foody ones, but they can often be filled with carbs and preservatives as well.

Wet cat treats are fast becoming more and more popular. There are many benefits to making them a regular part of your cat’s diet as they add hydration and are easy to serve.

When it comes to clicker training cats, liquid treats are more complicated to use and you will likely make a mess.

Senior cats that have problems chewing will love this type of treats. Feels like the good all days, they'll think...

Raw Cat Treats

Cat treats have become my favorite treat to clicker train cats. They are healthy as they can get (low fat, low carbs and high protein) and they are often single ingredient treats.

Cats (and my cat Mia is not an exception) LOVE them. That makes them extremely good treats to teach complex behaviors like jumping on a shoulder or coming when called outdoors.

I buy my raw treats on Amazon.

Check Price on Amazon

Using Kibble as Cat Treats

Another healthy alternative (a little less enticing to cats) is kibble.

I feed my cat Mia a raw diet, so kibble to her is a novelty. Kibble has (like crunchy treats) animal digest to increase its taste. This creates a similar effect on cats as treats do, they go crazy for it when they are not used to it.

While I don't recommend feeding a cat dry food, using dry food as a treat is a great option:

  • They are small and easy to store
  • They are more balanced than treats
  • Most cats love it
  • It's cheap

When I train my cat, I use Kibble as my regular treat and raw treats when I need her to pay more attention than usual.

Should I Give My Cat Treats?

Yes. You should, totally, give your cat treats. The problem is that not all treats are created equal and not all reasons to feed a cat treats are correct.

Let me explain myself below:

When to Not Give Your Cat Treats

  • Highly Caloric Treats: Some treats are extremely caloric and unhealthy, a little like junk food. Feeding your cat low-quality treats or treats that are very caloric can pose health issues to a cat, more on this below. The problem with this treats is that if we have them, we end un feeding them almost daily, so it's best not to buy them altogether.
  • Give Treats as a Meal Substitute: Treats don't have the nutritional value that a cat needs to thrive. Treats are not considered complete meals and feeding your cat treats as a meal substitute can create health issues in your cat.
  • Give Treats to Make a Cat Shut Up: Some cats are very vocal when it comes to letting us know they need something. Feeding a cat treats so that they are entertained and "stop bothering" can create behavioral problems. Cat treats can be addictive and if your cat learns that being annoying will give them treats, you will shape your cat to become a very annoying cat. This behavior usually ends up in cats that end up rehomed.

When to Give Your Cat Treats

  • To Reward Positive Behavior: Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool to train a cat to do more of the behaviors that we want to see more often. A behavior that is rewarded will likely get repeated and this is the best way to teach obedience to cats.
  • Treats that are healthy and complement their diet: Some treats are extremely healthy, like freeze-dried chicken or other meats. Cats will love it and they are a good addition to their diet because they are very rich in protein.

Are Cat Treats Healthy?

Not all treats are created equal. I've analyzed the main treats available in the market for you to decide which ones to feed your cat.

In the table below I'm going to share the main nutritional values like calories, protein level as well as number of ingredients.


Delectables - Squeeze Up

VitalCat - Minnows

Greenies - Oven Roasted Chicken

Orijen - Six Fish

Temptations Classic - Chicken

Friskies Party Mix - Mixed Grill















Recommended Dose


3 pieces

8 pieces

6 pieces

10 pieces

10 pieces

% Protein







# Ingredients



More than 20


More than 20

More than 20

Animal Digest

Yes, 2


Yes, 2


Yes, 1+

Yes,  3+

You've probably noticed how different single-ingredient treats are vs. dry commercial treats. Most dry cat treats and foods comprise a fairly tasteless and nutritionally poor base that is spruced up with delicious flavourings and smells as well as nutritional additives. I am not a veterinarian so this is not veterinarian advice, but I can share with you what I do:

I buy for my cat treats that are low-calorie, with little or no preservatives and that are made with not many ingredients that I can understand.

Most commercial cat treats recommend to feed up to 10% of your cat's diet in treats. This is the maximum. Do not read as you NEED to feed 10% of your cat's diet on treats because that's simply not true. Imagine we were eating 10% of our diet out of fast food... 

Can I Give Treats to My Cat every day?

It all depends on what treats are you feeding yor cat.

If you like snacking carrots, can you snack carrots every day? Yes. Is it healthy? Definetely not unhealthy.

On the other hand, if you like snacking chicken nuggets and doughnuts... Can you eat chicken nuggets and doughnuts every day? Of course. Should you? Probably not.

Same goes with cat treats. If you are feeding your cat healthy cat treats, there's no problem in feeding your cat those treats on a daily basis. The problem comes when you are feeding your cat treats that are not very healthy as, in the long run, it can end up producing overweight, particularly if you exceed the maximum recommended dose per day.

How Many Treats Can a Cat Have?

The number of treats a cat can have depends on several factors, including the type and size of the treat, the cat's size, age, health status, and its regular diet. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Caloric Intake: Treats should make up no more than 10% of a cat's daily caloric intake. Most adult indoor cats require about 200-250 calories per day, so the treats they consume should be limited to about 20-25 calories daily. Always check the caloric content listed on the treat's packaging.

  2. Size and Type of Treat: Some treats are larger and denser than others. Soft chews will generally have more calories than crunchy treats. Remember to adjust the quantity given based on the size and type of treat.

  3. Activity Level: A more active cat may burn more calories than a sedentary one. Adjust treat intake based on activity level. However, even active cats should not be overfed with treats.

  4. Purpose of Treats: If you're using treats for training purposes, you might give more in a short period, but then you should reduce the number of treats offered later in the day or use smaller, low-calorie treats.

  5. Health Status: Cats with certain health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or gastrointestinal issues might need to have treats limited or modified. Always consult with a veterinarian before making any significant changes to a pet's diet, especially if they have health conditions.

  6. Frequency: It's usually better to give a few small treats throughout the day than a large number at once. This can help with portion control and also make the treat time more engaging for the cat.

Always make sure that treats are given in addition to a well-balanced diet and not as a substitute for regular meals. Ensure that your cat still gets the majority of its nutrition from high-quality cat food

Will my Cat Get Fat Because of Cat Treats?

There's one thing that's clear: Any animal will gain weight because they eat more calories than the ones they burn.

There are several triggers to cat obesity.

  • Eating too much of their regular food
  • Not doing enough exercise
  • Eating too many treats
  • Other health issues

This is such a serious topic that I wrote a full article about taking care of your cat's diet and getting them back on shape. 

Are Cat Treats Addictive?

From animal digest and appealing smelly additives as well as concentrates, pet food companies use some surprising ingredients in the quest to make kibble and treats as appealing as possible to our furry friends. The less natural treats and kibble are, the more "magic ingreadients" food companies need to use to compensate.

Addiction though it's a lot more complicated than the ingredients that cat treats have, it's about the feeling they create on the cat and the occasions in which we feed them.

Cat's brain as well as ours tend to seek behaviors which trigger responses that are positive and pleasurable. Over time, the brain adapts and those substances or responses become with time less pleasurable.

In nature, rewards usually come only with time and effort. Treats without work provide a shortcut, flooding the brain with dopamine and other neurotransmitters. Because it takes no effort to seek that type of pleasure, our cat's brains don't have an easy way to withstand the pleasure seeking subconscious.

Treats, particularly those with artificial flavor enhancers release more dopamine than natural rewards do, and they do it more quickly and more reliably. In a cat who becomes addicted, brain receptors become overwhelmed. The brain responds by producing less dopamine so more treats are needed to find that pleasure in the future.

The quality of the treats and making our cat work for them are key to prevent our cat to become addicted to treats.

What Cat Treats are Healthy?

Meat or fish single ingredient cat treats are the the best:

  • Do not include ingredients that cats are not prepared to digest
  • Are low calories and part of the cat's diet
  • Very tasty and loved by cats without the need of artificial flavorings

One cons of these type of cat treats is that they are more expensive than conventional crunchy treats.

What Are the Worst Cat Treats?

The worst cat treat is the one that your cat does not work for. If you are making your cat work for treats using clicker training, dry treats are the worst, then liquid treats and finally raw treats.

Can All Cats Eat Treats?

When writing this article I did not find any resource talking about how certain cats can't eat treats. Even kittens can eat treats but the point is to not overdo it.

Treats are a big cause of nutritional imbalances and they should never be more than 5-10% of the cats' diet.

Geriatric cats as well as kittens can have problems chewing dry treats and might not have an immune system ready to handle raw treats. In those cases, liquid treats are advised.

What Cat Treats are Good For Kittens?

Kittens can eat treats. Once they are able to chew kibble, they can start eating treats aswell. In the same way as with adult cats, even when kittens are old enough to enjoy treats, they should not make up to more than 10% of their daily calorie needs or else they can lead to nutritional imbalances.

When you decide to include treats in their diet, make sure to reduce their main meal by the same amount. Otherwise, they risk consuming too many calories and becoming overweight.

The remaining 90% of your cat’s calories should come from high-quality, nutritionally complete cat food. In our case, I chose to feed my cat raw.

Can Cats Eat Dog Treats?

Cats should not eat dog food often, and certainly not as a substitute for specially designed cat food. Cats are obligate carnibors while dogs are omnibors. This means that cats don't need and should not eat any non-meat/fish ingredients.

Technically, cats can eat a small amount of dog food as a one-off, so don’t worry if your cat swipes a mouthful from your dog’s bowl but we should not allow this consistently.

What is the Best Cat Treat?

There's not one treat that is the best for everything, because different activities could benefit from different treats.

Below, find my choices for different activities.

Best Treats for Clicker Training

Clicker training cats is not only possible, it's extremely rewarding.

Because we are going to use many treats throughout the session, the smaller the treat the better. Also, treats that are balanced are best, because they can end up being more than the recommended 10% of the cat's diet.

My recommendation is to use regular kibble as treats when training our cats.

For the cat to find kibble rewarding, use a different flavor or brand only for training. Even better, if you can feed your cat a wet or raw diet and use kibble solely for training purposes.

Check Price on Amazon

If your cat does not like treats, check out the article.

Best Treats for Outdoors

When outdoors, there are competing stimuli that make training obedience more difficult. If you want to get your cat to listen to you outdoors, try raw treats as they are the the most reinforcing ones.

I buy my raw treats on Amazon.

Check Price on Amazon

Best Treats for Geriatric Cats and Kittens

The best treats for geriatric cats and kittens are liquid treats. Try to choose the healthiest ones amongst the options available in the market looking at:

  • % of Protein - The more the better
  • Calories per serving - The smallest the better
  • Number of Ingredients - The smallest the better

I hope you found value in this article! If so, share it with someone that might find value in it as well!

Stay Wild, Stay Safe, See You Outdoors!

Albert & Mia

1 comment

  • Gail Perry

    Hi there, the raw chicken treats and similar ones you reccomend are no longer available, any other suggestions?
    Thank you

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