Dogs will do just about anything for a treat. Cats? Not so much. Even still, it’s nice to have cat treats in your arsenal for birthdays, special occasions (hello, Hug Your Cat Day) or for those moments when your stubborn kitty needs a little extra motivation.
But before you whip up any old homemade cat treats, take a minute to think about your cat’s favorite eats, as well as what’s healthy for them to nibble.
“Homemade cat treats are fairly tricky, in that every cat has their own individual preferences when it comes to food,” says Alana Stevenson, an animal behaviorist and pet trainer. “It’s important that cats have a lot of moisture, so too many grain- or cereal-based foods aren’t particularly good for them.”
“Many store-bought cat treats are heavily processed with a lot of cheap fillers and artificial colors or flavorings,” Stevenson says.
Just remember that some common human foods — including grapes, raisins, onion, salt and chocolate — are toxic to felines if ingested. Before you take on any homemade cat treats recipe, take some time to read up on all the foods that are dangerous to pets on the ASPCA website.
We rounded up 10 cat treat recipes you can easily make yourself, as your cat sits back and quietly judges you. From catnip croutons to tuna treats, these DIY cat snacks call for a variety of wholesome ingredients, like salmon, cheese, tuna and even catnip. Now, hit the kitchen and don’t be surprised if a certain kitty tries to counter surf.
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1. Carrot and catnip kitty treats
These nutritious carrot and catnip treats from Epicuricloud will make your cat feel extra loved. Mix shredded carrot and catnip with egg, oil and flour, and then flatten the dough for easy cutting with a knife or pizza wheel. Bake for 12 minutes or until they are slightly golden on top, and prepare to be your cat’s favorite human.
2. Fresh-baked flour treats
Sammy’s Sweets and Treats made these baked cat treats by mixing tuna with a packaged baking mix and cutting with a fish-shaped cookie cutter. If you want to make them at home, try this easy cat treat recipe from The Nest. Start by mashing tuna really well with a fork, then mix in whole wheat flour, milk, vegetable oil and egg. Roll the dough into balls or flatten and cut into shapes and bake for 10 minutes. If tuna isn’t kitty’s thing, substitute salmon or strained meat baby food in ham, beef or chicken flavors.
3. Tuna cat treats
If cats could use Instagram, they’d definitely “heart” these easy tuna treats by From Under A Palm Tree. To make them, mix canned tuna with olive oil, egg, flour and mashed banana. Flatten onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, and then cut into kitty-bite sized pieces.
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4. Hairball control homemade cat treats
DIY cat treats that also help with hairballs? It’s a cat parent’s dream. These hairball control cat treats from Broomstick Pet Treats combine brown rice flour with canned pumpkin, egg, oil and ground flax to make a healthy and yummy snack for kitties. For an extra treat, you also have the option of adding some catnip before cutting into pieces and baking in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
5. Chewy treats
You’ll find variations of this chewy cat treat recipe from Joy the Baker all over the Internet — it’s that good. This tried and true recipe uses baby food or canned wet cat food as a base and includes parsley, rice and flour, baked for about 10 minutes. Clearly, cats have been passing this one down for generations.
6. Kitty delights
These kitty delights from Serendipity and Spice are like little thumbprint cookies for kitties. This four-ingredient recipe whips up fast and easy. The hardest part is cooking the treats for five minutes on each side. But your cat doesn’t know that, so just tell them you worked on them all day.
7. Grain-free cat treats
These grain-free cat treats from Salt In My Coffee are crunchy, nutritious and gentle enough for young cats to chomp on. Combine tuna and pumpkin with coconut flour, mineral powder or parsley and egg, then drop by the quarter teaspoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, and don’t be surprised if these are gone before you know it.
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8. 3-ingredient Salmon cat treats
These homemade salmon cat treats from Cookie Rookie are fast, so easy to make and include only healthy ingredients for your best fur friend. All you need to make them is canned salmon, one egg and whole wheat flour. Combine ingredients in a stand mixer, then roll out and slice or cut with a 3/4-inch cookie cutter of your choosing. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if your cats pace excitedly around the kitchen the entire time.
9. Cheesy cat treats
Feline taste-testers approved of these gooey, cheesy cat treats from Cowboy Way. They’re made from a combination of cheese, yogurt, flour, cornmeal and water. Flatten the mixture out with a rolling pin and bake like a pizza for 25 minutes, then cut into tiny, cat-friendly squares. If the finished product is firm on the outside and chewy on the inside, you’ve baked yourself some serious bargaining power.
10. Holy mackerel cat treats
Canned mackerel is the main ingredient in this holy mackerel cat treat recipe from CDKitchen, which also calls for breadcrumbs, egg, vegetable oil or bacon grease and Brewer’s yeast (said to be packed with vitamins). Mix the ingredients well, place treats one inch apart on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. You’ll get soft, tasty morsels that your cat will want right meow.