Who doesn’t love to treat their cats? It’s a great way to encourage good behavior or get a sick cat to eat. Unfortunately, many cat treats and snacks available in the market contain high amounts of fillers and other ingredients that are not beneficial to their health. It’s helpful to know that the order of ingredients is as important as the kind of ingredients. Here are some key ingredients to look for in healthy cat treats.

Animal proteins
Proteins are the number one ingredients that you must look for in healthy treats for your cat. Prefer snacks and treats that contain at least 25 percent protein. One crucial tip here is to look for treat brands that mention specific protein sources and not just “meat” in the ingredient list. This is because not all types of meats are beneficial for your cat. Pick the treats that list protein sources like chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon, tuna, or even specific organs like chicken liver or chicken heart.

For any cat treat or food to be called healthy, it must be high in proteins as well as fats. Your feline friends need 20 to 24 percent of fats in their food. They are naturally attracted to treats that are packed with a desirable amount of fats and proteins. Some pet owners tend to think that high-fat foods will make their cats fat. But they need to understand that a cat’s body demands that much fat content. If owners do not provide them enough healthy fats, they will tend to overeat to fulfill their body’s nutritional needs. While shopping for cat treats, look for specific fat sources, such as chicken fat, sunflower oil, or other oils containing healthy fats. Ignore the products that do not mention the source of fat.

Vitamins and minerals
Just as humans, cats need certain vitamins and minerals to keep their immune system strong and support their body’s natural growth. Healthy cat treats are those which are packed with the right amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins to look for include vitamin A, vitamin D, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine. On the other hand, key minerals include iron, magnesium, sodium and calcium.

Taurine is an amino acid that occurs naturally within the human body. However, a cat’s body cannot produce taurine naturally, and they need to acquire it from an external source for optimal health. Deficiency of taurine can lead to blindness and heart disease, so it’s vital that you look for this ingredient in healthy cat treats. Some foods high in taurine are turkey, chicken, chicken liver, beef liver, beef heart, and tuna.

Specific carbohydrates
Cats are true carnivores, meaning they thrive on meat, and have zero biological need for carbohydrates. In fact, their body cannot digest some carbohydrates present in some grains, and they can even trigger allergic reactions. Grains like corn can cause stomach cramps, vomiting, and runny stools. However, carbs are necessary to hold the different ingredients of food together. Look for carbohydrates like green peas, sweet potatoes, or potato starch to avoid such problems.