Your cat might not understand the meaning behind Valentine’s Day, but you do, and you know you want to spoil her. Can you spoil her with cat treats that won’t make her feel sick?
Traditional human treats – like chocolate and candy – are dangerous for cats, and therefore out of the question. Certain properties in chocolate can be highly toxic to a cat and it doesn’t take much for them to be poisoned. Candy and chocolate when consumed could result in:
- Increased body temperature
- Increased reflex response
- Muscle rigidity
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Cardiac failure
Varieties especially toxic to cats include milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and baking chocolate.
So, what do you give your cat this Valentine’s Day instead? Why not try some of these delicious homemade and healthy treats!
For the simple…
Baked Tuna Hearts
It doesn’t get any easier than this – simply mold some tuna into little heart-shaped molds and then warm in the oven to serve. You can even add a little catnip, egg or oat flour for extra oomph.
Frozen Banana Hearts
Simply blend banana in a food processor and fill a heart-shaped ice cube tray. Being the middle of February it’s bound to be a hot day, and your cat will love licking this yummy chilled treat.
Frozen Liver Hearts
Just like the frozen banana hearts, your cat will love chowing down on some chilled liver when it’s hot outside. To make frozen liver hearts, simply blend together fresh chicken or beef liver with plain yoghurt in a food processor, fill a heart-shaped ice cube tray (available at IKEA if you’re looking) and then freeze.
Heart-Shaped Melon Slices
Watermelon and rockmelon can be a wonderful, healthy treat for your cat and it’s made all the more special when cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter. Cucumber is another one to cut.
Making yourself a delicious Valentine’s dinner? Then why not make it a pink salmon dinner and set aside some fresh salmon for your furry companion. Don’t forget to leave the skin on – the fatty fish skin is the best part for your cat – and stay away from any garlic or onion when baking.
Cheese is a high protein snack that’s fine for your cat in small amounts (providing it’s not lactose intolerant), but it’s less ‘complete’ compared to the protein found in meat, fish and eggs. That said, your cat will love a little heart-shaped cheese come Valentine’s Day.
For the little more complicated…
For the cat that likes to chew, these little bites are great. Stored in an airtight container in the fridge they keep really well, making them not just a treat for Valentine’s Day.
1 large egg
½ cup wet cat food
¼ cup parsley
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbs water
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup cooked brown rice
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, cat food, parsley, olive oil and water. Stir through rice flour and cooked rice.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread mixture onto sheet to about ⅓ of an inch thick.
- Bake in oven at 160c for 12-15 minutes.
- Place on a wire rack to cool then slice into bite-size pieces.
Tuna and Catnip Croutons
These tuna and catnip croutons look so good that you’ll be wanting to put them on your salads too. You’ve been warned!
1 425g can of tuna, drained
1 cup coconut flour
1 tbs extra light olive oil
1 tbs dried catnip
1-2 tbs water
- Preheat oven to 170c and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine drained tuna, egg, coconut flour, water, olive oil and catnip. (The mixture should be quite powdery)
- Pinch pieces of the dough into croutons and place on baking sheet.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until browned.
- Allow to cool completely then store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
Spinach and Chicken Treats
These tasty little treats can be made with salmon or tuna, so if your cat’s not a fan of chicken, simply swap the main ingredient for something she does love.
250g boneless chicken thighs, steamed and cooled
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 cup quick oats
1 tbs catnip
¼ cup flour
- Preheat oven to 170c.
- In a food processor, place chicken, oats, spinach, egg and catnip and pulse to blend (the texture should be similar to wet sand).
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the flour. Stir to combine then using your hands, knead on a floured surface until no longer sticky.
- Roll out dough to ½ inch thick. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, shape your treats.
- Line treats on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
Keeping your cat healthy this Valentine’s Day
As obligate carnivores, cats need to eat a variety of foods that include protein from meat or fish, amino acids like taurine and arginine (found in meat and fish), fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and of course water. Carbohydrates like rice and corn in small amounts are fine, but they aren’t necessary for a cat’s diet. As with any human treats, limit the number of treats given to your cat and ensure they are as nutritiously sound as possible.
A healthy cat is a happy cat!