Some cats would live on treats if they had their way, but while treats can make their day and yours, moderation is important. Read on to learn about portion control and factoring treats into your cat’s diet.

There’s no denying it, most cats love a treat! Treats are also great for training your cat or rewarding good behaviour. So it’s easy to get carried away and dish out treats without thinking about how many you’re giving your furry companion. But it’s important you don’t feed them too many, as the number of calories your cat is consuming can quickly hike up.

If you’re not sure how many treats you should give your cat, carry on reading for tips on recommended treat allowances and treat safety advice, such as if cat treats are bad for cats and what cat treats kittens can have.

Recommended treat allowance

There’s no harm in giving your cat a tasty treat from time to time. They’ll thank you for it, and there are loads of other reasons why you should treat them too - which you can read about in our article on [when and why to give your cat treats]. But portion control and a healthy balanced diet are super important.

If you give your cat too many treats, they could put on weight and increase their risk of other health issues. Too many treats can also spoil your cat’s appetite or make them a picky eater when it comes to their regular meals. And a lot of cats are picky at the best of times!

How many treats should I give my cat?

The recommended treat allowance for your average cat is around 10% of their daily calorie intake. This includes any human foods you give them as scraps (which should be kept to a minimum and restricted to foods that are safe for cats). Check out our article on [what treats are right for your cat] to find out what human foods to avoid and how to find the best treats for your furry friend. To account for these treats, make sure you reduce the amount of main meal you are feeding the by 10%. You can also check with your vet if you’re not sure how much to feed them or if they have special dietary needs.

Most packets of high-quality cat treats will include a feeding guide and some say how many calories are in each treat. For example, DREAMIES™ crunchy and soft treats are low calorie, containing just 2 calories per tasty bite. Adult cats can have up to 20 DREAMIES™ treats per day and the recommendation for kittens is up to 6 treats a day .For DREAMIES(™) Creamy treats, it’s recommended to feed up to 1 sachet per day, which applies to adult cats and kittens. For DREAMIES(™) Meaty Sticks, the guideline is 1 stick per day for adult cats and as they’re not suitable for kittens under 12 months old, it’s suggested to make them a great first birthday present!

If you’re feeding several different types treats in one day, consider the feeding guides for each need to be combined, rather than feeding to the max of each feeding guide, as this will help to keep your cat in shape.

How often can I give my cat treats?

You can give your cat treats every day if you factor them into their daily diet. If you accidentally give them too many treats one day, simply reduce the number you give them the next day. They may be a little grumpy with you, but it’s for their own good!

Are cat treats bad for cats?

No, you can’t categorise all cat treats as bad for cats. But you do need to remember that they’re intended to be given as treats in small amounts, just as we would treat ourselves to a tasty snack. It’s important that your cat is getting the majority of the nutrition they need from their main meals, with treats as a tasty added extra. Cat treats don’t need to be nutritionally completeif your cat receives a complete and balanced diet in their bowl.

This said, many treats do offer your cat nutritional benefits. For example, DREAMIES™ crunchy and soft treats contain vitamins & minerals and DREAMIES(™) Creamy treats are sugar free with added taurine.

What age can I start giving my cat treats?

Your kitty is ready for treats when their teeth have grown in and they've been weaned onto solid foods. This will generally be at around 8 weeks old.

The best cat treats for kittens are often ones that are quite soft on their teeth, as their little mouths are still developing. DREAMIES™ original treats are among the cat treats kittens can have, as beyond the light, crunchy exterior is a delicious soft centre. We recommend feeding kittens up to 6 pieces a day and reducing their main meal accordingly. You can also give them some delicious DREAMIES™ Creamy treats, a sachet of which can be fed daily, by hand or squeezed into a bowl to be licked up!

Treat safety tips

Portion control is important, but so is avoiding upset tummies! If you’re giving your cat a new variety of treats, start with just a small amount and keep an eye on how they react. Any signs of a stomach upset or diarrhoea could indicate they have an intolerance to something in the treats. Cats can also have allergies, so look out for signs such as sneezing, wheezing, coughing, a rash and red itchy eyes. If you spot any of these, it’s unlikely to be connected to something they’ve eaten but worth getting them to the vets to be checked out.

If your furry companion is happy as can be after their new treat, and they don’t show any signs of being unwell, their new treat is officially on the menu! Like with any food, remember to provide your cat with fresh water whenever you feed them any treats.

Hopefully you’ve gained an idea of how many treats you should give a cat and a few insights into treat safety that will help when caring for your furry friend. Check out the full range of [DREAMIES™ treats] for an irresistible variety of flavours, ranging from cheese to chicken to catnip.