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Pet food manufacturers offer many cat treat choices with different health benefits at various price points. Use our guide to find the best cat treat brand for your cat. We explain how to evaluate the available choices to help you find a healthy treat that your cat or kitten will love. More than 40 million American households include cats, and most cat owners have more than one. Cat owners spend billions of dollars on their pets each year, and about 16% of the money they spend on food products is spent on treats.

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What features matter in cat treats?


Before selecting a treat, consider whether you want to limit or eliminate any types of ingredients from your cat’s diet. If you’re not sure whether or not a certain product or ingredient is right for your pet, consult your veterinarian.

  • Limited ingredients: Cats with food allergies, sensitive digestive systems or other health problems may need to be on restricted diets. Limited ingredient treats make it easier to determine whether or not a product is safe for your pet.
  • Grain-free: Treats made without grains are thought to be more natural because domestic cats’ ancestors didn’t eat grains. These treats may be good for very active cats that need more protein.
  • Source: If you’re concerned about the safety of pet food, consider where the ingredients in your pets’ food were sourced. Many pet food recalls have been associated with food and treats manufactured in China, and many U.S. customers prefer treats with ingredients sourced in North America.

Special benefits

Treats are a chance for you to give your pet extra nutrients, and many treats are designed to provide special health benefits. If you’re concerned about a health problem, talk to your vet and don’t just rely on a treat to cure the problem.

  • Dental health: The Veterinary Oral Health Council lists products that it approves to prevent tarter buildup. If you’re concerned about dental health, look for dental treats approved by that organization.
  • Hairball control: Treats with vitamins and oils to improve digestive health may also help with hairballs. Look for products that list which ingredients help prevent hairballs.
  • Vitamin enriched: Picky eaters and elderly cats may need additional vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. Ask your vet about what might be missing from your cat’s diet, and then use treats to fill the gap.


Consider how you plan to use treats before you buy them. Treats used for training may need to be different than ones you use for special occasions.

  • Training: Research suggests that rewarding cats for good behavior can be an effective training technique. If you plan to use food to reward your cat, make sure to select low-calorie treats to prevent unintended weight gain.
  • Health benefit: If you want a treat to address a specific health problem or dietary deficiency, ask your vet which products are best for your cat. Veterinarians may try to sell you treats in their office, but you can often find the same items elsewhere for a lower price. Ask if the item they’re recommending is only available with a prescription.
  • Special treat: If you like to occasionally spoil your cats by giving them food they enjoy, but which may not be that healthy, make sure to limit the number of treats you give them. Try buying sample packs to find a treat they really love.

Cat preference

To save money, you want to make sure your cat likes treats before purchasing a large quantity.

  • Samples: Some companies give out free samples of their products. If you’re interested in a specific brand, visit their website to see if they have any promos for samples.
  • Trial-sizes: Purchase trial-sized products when you can to see if your cat likes them. These sizes may be more expensive per item, but you’ll save money if your cat doesn’t like the treat.
  • Returns: If trial-sizes or samples aren’t available, ask the store about its return policy. When you’re shopping directly from a brand’s website, look at their FAQ page or contact customer service to determine whether or not you can return a product your pet doesn’t like.

Wet or dry

Like cat food, cat treats are available in different consistencies. Consider how often your cats eat treats, what type of food they eat and how you’ll store treats when choosing between semi-moist, wet or dry treats.

  • Dry: You can store dry treats on the counter or in the cabinet, and they will stay fresh for a long time. If you frequently give your cat treats, these may be more convenient than wet treats.
  • Wet: Wet treats are usually available to add to your pet’s existing food. These may either come in single serving containers or need to be stored in the refrigerator. Wet treats will help ensure your cat gets enough water in their diet.
  • Semi-moist: Semi-moist treats may either need to be stored in the refrigerator or may be safely kept in the cabinet. The treats offer some of the moisture benefits of wet food with the convenience of dry food.


You’ll be less likely to buy treats your cats like and that are good for them if it isn’t convenient to do so. Consider where you can buy treats.

  • Mass market retailers: Major brands' treats will likely be available at most mass market retailers and grocery stores. If you tend to forget treats unless you see them at the store, consider choosing a widely available brand.
  • Pet stores: Smaller brands and treats with more specialized health benefits may only be available at pet stores. If you want treats with or without specific ingredients, you’ll likely find more options at pet stores.
  • Online: If you can’t find treats with the ingredients, quality or special benefits you want for your cat in a local store, consider ordering treats online. Most pet stores offer a wider selection on their online retail sites, and many brands sell directly to consumers from their websites.

What are different types of cat treats?

Limited ingredient

Many treats contain a limited number of ingredients. These treats are good for cats with sensitive digestive systems because owners can make sure the item doesn’t include something that will upset their stomach.

Grain free

Grain free foods and treats are more similar to what a wild cat might eat and what domestic cats’ ancestors ate than standard cat foods and treats. Consumers looking for a more natural or paleo diet for the cat will like grain free treats.


Cat treats made from human-grade ingredients use the same ingredients people find in their own food. Customers with concerns about quality or safety may prefer these products.

Hairball control

Many cats suffer from hairballs, and treats exist to help prevent that problem. These treats usually have special ingredients to help hairballs pass through the digestive system.


Brushing a cat’s teeth can be very difficult. Treats with ingredients that prevent tarter can help keep cats’ teeth healthy. Consumers should look for treats that are recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

Who should buy cat treats?

Cat owners

Cat owners who want to train their pet or give them something special can buy treats designed for cats’ digestive systems and palettes.


Veterinary offices often need to coax cats out of crates and make them feel comfortable in strange surroundings. Having cat treats readily available may make these tasks easier. It could also make owners feel more comfortable about medical providers’ bedside manner.


Pet boarders can make cats and owners feel more comfortable by having treats on hand to welcome them when the owner drops them off.


Individuals who work to rescue stray cats and those who are part of trap-neuter-return projects can keep treats on hand to get closer to strays or build trust with feral cats.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Cat treat author reviews

    PureBites Cat Treats

    PureBites manufactures treats for cats and dogs. The company’s products are limited ingredient and grain-free. Treats are available at major pet stores in the United States and Canada and at major online retailers. The company is headquartered in Quebec.

    Read more about PureBites Cat Treats

    Cat-Man-Doo Inc. has been in the cat treat industry since 2004 and is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. The company was established when the founder began packaging and selling bonito fish flakes to local pet shops. Cat-Man-Doo now makes bonito, chicken and salmon treats for cats and dogs. Products are available at select pet stores and online.

    Read more about Cat-Man-Doo
    Pet Greens Treats

    Pet Greens is owned by Bell Rock Growers, a family owned and operated farm in southern California. The farm grows only certified organic plants and sells live grass, grass growing kits and prepackaged treats at major pet supply stores and online. The company has been in business for more than 20 years.

    Read more about Pet Greens Treats

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