How many of you have been woken up by your furry 5 am alarm clock demanding breakfast—which you feed as quickly as possible so you can get back to sleep? Or slipped a treat quietly under the table to make your cat stop crying and begging at the table when you have guests over?
Even though giving in will quiet your cat for the moment, you are creating a vicious cycle of begging and bad behavior by giving food and treats at these times.
Give treats as rewards for good behavior!
Use food and treats to positively reinforce good behavior or to motivate a cat during training. Treats are a very effective reward when combined with a good training method and cats can be trained to sit, stay, come, roll over, wave or shake paws, retrieve toys, and even walk on a leash. Many owners train their cats to stay off the countertops or how to ride uneventfully in a cat carrier.
Another great time to offer treats is during or after activity or play sessions. This reinforces the positive aspects of exercise and helps your cat look forward to his daily activity. Exercise boosts the metabolism and this is a great time to give a nutritious protein snack!
Pick the right treats—Go natural!
Choose natural treats—like Halo’s Liv-a-Littles Protein Treats or Healthsome Baked Treats—that are meat-based and contain no artificial ingredients, dyes or sugars. Skip the treats that have carbohydrates or sugars such as corn syrup, molasses, fructose, etc. If you want to use human food as a treat, select bits of lean meat or small pieces of fresh fish to really show your love…and not from the dinner table.
Always give treats in moderation.
Treats are not complete and balanced nutrition and too many treats (and not enough high quality cat food) can lead to dietary imbalances that could promote degeneration or disease. No more than about 10% of your cat’s daily calories—or approximately 20 calories—should come from treats each day. Beware—some commercial treats contain over 100 calories each and some table scraps are loaded with calories. Halo labels the Healthsome Baked Treats with calories per treat information and the recommended total number of treats each day to help make Smart Treating easy!