The Top Cat Treats for Your Pet

Written by Joan W.
Updated: January 27, 2023
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Key Points:

  • The #1 Overall Best cat treat for your pet is the Life Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat & Dog Treats.
  • Cat treats can bring added joy to your pet’s day and give them some delicious, healthy snacks. However, you should always make sure you choose a high-quality treat for your kitty and check with your veterinarian before introducing new snacks. Look for treats that have simple, clean protein, are free of meat by-products, and are free or have low amounts of nutritionless fillers.
  • There are various kinds of cat treats available on the market today. Some of the most popular types include freeze-dried (cooked or raw) cat treats that are made with real pieces of food such as chicken or salmon; crunchy, low-calorie cat biscuits; flavored dental chews that can help keep teeth clean; and soft moist treats packed with flavor.

Cats purr and cuddle in your lap, and they are incredibly loyal to the people they consider family. But there is a little hunter inside them and given a chance, most cats will hunt (or at least try). That’s why meat is the best possible treat you can get for your cat. There are many different types of cat treats available, but meat (and maybe some catnip) satisfies the natural cravings of your cuddly little hunter.

Dogs are famous for how much they love meat, but even dogs are designed to be more omnivorous than cats. A cat’s ideal protein intake is much higher than dogs or humans. We collected a list of high-quality and high-protein treats that are good for your cats and will make them love you even more — or at least line up when you take out the treat bag.

  1. Life Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat & Dog Treats
    • A wholesome, simple formula
    • Contain freeze-dried cooked chicken breast
    • USDA-approved ingredients
    • High-protein and low-calorie
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Meat Mates Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats
    • Made from 100% sustainably sourced grass-fed beef
    • No artificial additives
    • High-protein and high-nutrient snacks
    • Suitable for cats with allergies
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes
    • Contain nothing but dried bonito fish
    • Cats love the umami flavor
    • Naturally contains taurine
    • High in protein and low in fat
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  4. Feline Greenies Adult Dental Cat Treats, Over Roasted Chicken Flavor
    • Crunchy texture
    • Added vitamins, minerals
    • Nutritionally balanced snack
    • No artificial flavors and preservatives
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Whole Life Just One Ingredient Pure Turkey Breast Freeze-Dried Treats
    • Made with freeze-dried real turkey
    • Gluten- and grain-free
    • No chemicals, additives, or preservatives
    • Naturally includes vitamins and minerals
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  6. Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Wild Salmon Freeze-Dried Treats
    • Made from whole wild salmon
    • Rich in vitamins and minerals
    • Lidded container to keep treats fresh
    • No additives
    Check Chewy

Top Picks: The Best Cat Treats Today

#1 Overall Best: Life Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat & Dog Treats

In our review, the overall best cat treats for your pet are Life Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat & Dog Treats for their wholesome, simple formula and tasty result.

Unlike many freeze-dried treats, these chicken treats are not raw. Raw food is healthy for cats and part of their natural diet, but raw chicken has to be very carefully sourced and handled. Having cooked chicken breast in freeze-dried treats avoids the pitfalls and dangers of raw chicken.

Life Essentials Chicken Treats are made with USDA-approved white breast chicken meat. With only one ingredient, there are no chemicals, additives, or preservatives. You can feed these treats to your cat dry, or break them into small pieces and soak them in warm water. Many customers reported that this is a great way to help keep their cats hydrated.

These treats are an enticing, high-protein, low-calorie reward that can also be crumbled as a food topper for picky eaters. Since they are pure protein with no fillers, they won’t contribute to weight gain (unless your cat never stops eating). The natural, simple formula supports your cat’s health. The only downside to these treats is that they are a bit more expensive.

Pros and Cons of the Life Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat & Dog Treats

ProsCons
These treats are simple and taste great.These treats are more expensive than many of the other options available.
They are made of only one ingredient, USDA-approved white breast chicken meat. So, you don’t have to worry about other ingredients, chemicals, additives, or preservatives.
You can give them to your cat as is (dry), soak them in water for some extra hydration, or crumble them on top of your cat’s food (especially if your cat is a picky eater).
They are high-protein and low-calorie.
They won’t contribute to weight gain.
These treats have lots of protein packed in them.
They are natural and healthy for your cat.
Overall Best
Life Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat & Dog Treats
  • A wholesome, simple formula
  • Contain freeze-dried cooked chicken breast
  • USDA-approved ingredients
  • High-protein and low-calorie
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Beef Treat: Meat Mates Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats

Meat Mates Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats are made from 100% sustainably sourced grass-fed beef from New Zealand. Nothing unnecessary or artificial is added. The treats have four simple ingredients: beef, beef heart, beef kidney, and beef liver. They are perfect for the innate hunter in your cat.

With no grains or fillers, these treats are high-protein and high-nutrient snacks for your cat. They are wholesome and suitable for cats with allergies or sensitivities. However, these treats do not appear to be quite as tasty as our #1 choice; many customers said that their picky cats did not seem to like them. However, they do come in three different flavors (beef, chicken, lamb), so you can try different flavors for your cat.

Pros and Cons of the Meat Mates Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats

ProsCons
They are made with 100% sustainably sourced grass-fed beef from New Zealand.Customers reported that some cats were not as impressed by the flavors.
There are no artificial additives or ingredients.
There are found main ingredients: beef, beef heart, beef kidney, and beef liver.
There are no grains or fillers.
They are high-protein and a great high-nutrient snack for your cat.
They come in three different flavors (beef, chicken, lamb).
Best Beef Treat
Meat Mates Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats
  • Made from 100% sustainably sourced grass-fed beef
  • No artificial additives
  • High-protein and high-nutrient snacks
  • Suitable for cats with allergies
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Finicky and Sensitive Cats: Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes

The Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes contain nothing but dried bonito fish. Bonito is a fish in the same family as mackerel and tuna. It is a cornerstone of Japanese cuisine — basically, cats aren’t the only ones who love it. Bonito has an umami flavor that is part of what makes Japanese curries taste so good, and cats go mad for it. In addition, bonito fish naturally contains taurine, which is an essential nutrient for your cat’s health.

This natural fish treat is high in protein, low in fat, and includes nothing artificial. It is also a source of fish oils, which are often sourced as a supplement to keep your cat’s skin and fur healthy and shiny. These are simple, natural, nutritious treats your cat will crave. You can give them as a treat or add them as a food topping. The only downside to these treats is that they can have a pretty strong fishy smell.

Pros and Cons of the Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes

ProsCons
The only ingredient in these treats is bonito fish.They tend to have a pretty strong fishy smell.
Most cats love the flavor.
Bonito fish contain taurine (an important nutrient for your cat’s health).
These treats are high in protein and low in calories and fat.
They are a good source of fish oils for healthy and shiny fur.
You can use them as a food topper or as a treat.
Best for Finicky and Sensitive Cats
Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes
  • Contain nothing but dried bonito fish
  • Cats love the umami flavor
  • Naturally contains taurine
  • High in protein and low in fat
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best for Tartar Control: Feline Greenies Adult Dental Cat Treats

Feline Greenies Adult Dental Cat Treats are wildly popular with both pet owners and cats. They are not as simple and pure as the other treats that made our top treats list, but they do not use animal by-products like some of Greenies’ competitors do.

The crunchy texture of Greenie’s Dental Cat Treats helps keep your cat’s breath fresher and avoid tartar build-up. In fact, they are one of the few feline products that are VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) approved. However, some customers reported that their cats tend to gobble up their Greenies treats whole and don’t bother to chew them.

Greenies are made with chicken meal plus added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to create a nutritionally balanced snack for your cat. These treats are a bit larger than some, but they are free of artificial flavors and preservatives and are a light treat with less than two calories per treat.

These treats come in several different sizes, each with a nice over roasted chicken flavor. However, Greenies also offers other flavors as well, such as savory salmon, tempting tuna, and catnip flavor. In addition, these treats are less expensive than many of the other options on this list.

Pros and Cons of the Feline Greenies Adult Dental Cat Treats

ProsCons
These treats do not use animal-by products.They are not as simple and pure as the other treats on this list.
They have a crunchy texture to help with tartar build-up and bad breath in cats.Some customers reported that their cats gobbled up the treats without chewing.
They are VOHC approved.
Greenies are made with chicken meal, plus added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
These treats are free of artificial flavors and preservatives.
They are a light treat, with only two calories in each treat.
They come in different sized packages, and the company also offers other flavors.
These treats tend to be much less expensive than some of the other options on this list.
Best for Tartar Control
Feline Greenies Adult Dental Cat Treats, Over Roasted Chicken Flavor
  • Crunchy texture
  • Added vitamins, minerals
  • Nutritionally balanced snack
  • No artificial flavors and preservatives
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best Turkey Treat: Whole Life Just One Ingredient Pure Turkey Breast Freeze-Dried Treats

The Whole Life Just One Ingredient Pure Turkey Breast Freeze-Dried Treats are made with real turkey freeze-dried in small fresh batches for tasty, nutrient-rich treats. Turkey is an excellent source of lean-low-fat protein and naturally includes vitamins and minerals.

This gluten-free and grain-free recipe made from just one single ingredient (turkey) makes this treat ideal for cats with allergies, limited ingredient diets, or sensitivities. It’s also free of chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial ingredients, and salt.

The turkey used in these treats is human-grade and raised in the USA. Whole Life guarantees traceable and verified ingredients. Each batch of free-dried turkey is rigorously tested internally for freshness and quality, as well as being rigorously examined by an independent lab for any potentially harmful bacteria.

Pure quality protein is an ideal reward for your purry, furry buddy. You can serve it dry or moistened with some water. It also can be crumbled into a topper for food. However, a few customers did report that sometimes the package comes with many of the free-dried turkey pieces having been crumbed into powder. Your cat can still eat this (particularly if you mix it with water), but it certainly can be inconvienent.

Pros and Cons of the Whole Life Just One Ingredient Pure Turkey Breast Freeze-Dried Treats

ProsCons
The only ingredient in these treats is human-grade, freeze-dried turkey raised in the USA.A few customers reported that several of treats were crumbled up when they opened the package.
Turkey is a great source of lean-low-fat protein. It also naturally includes vitamins and minerals.
They are also free of chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial ingredients, and salt.
Each batch is tested for freshness and quality. They are also examined for potentially harmful bacteria.
You can use these as treats or food-toppers for picky eaters.
These treats are gluten- and grain-free.
Best Turkey Treat
Whole Life Just One Ingredient Pure Turkey Breast Freeze-Dried Treats
  • Made with freeze-dried real turkey
  • Gluten- and grain-free
  • No chemicals, additives, or preservatives
  • Naturally includes vitamins and minerals
Check Chewy Check Amazon

6. Best for Fish Lovers: Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Wild Salmon Treats

Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Wild Salmon Treats are made-in-the-USA treat from whole wild salmon and nothing from factory farms. Many cats love fish, and there are a number of salmon cat treats on the market but most are not from wild salmon.

This freeze-dried salmon treat can be served as-is or crumbled as a topper. The pouch is resealable to help keep the treats fresh. The treats are large, however, and may need to be broken into smaller pieces.

You can feel good about giving your cat delicious, pure protein and no additives with this single-ingredient treat. There are no ingredients like grain, corn, wheat, soy, fillers, artificial flavors or colors in these treats — only wholesome and natural ingredients. Salmon is high-protein and has healthy fat. Wild salmon is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Pros and Cons of the Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Wild Salmon Treats

ProsCons
These treats are made in the USA from nothing but whole, wild salmon.These treats are on the large side, so you may need to break them down into smaller pieces.
There are no additives, filler, or artificial flavors and colors.
These treats are high-protein, with healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals.
You can give these as treats to your cat or crumble them as a food topper.
The resealable pouch helps to keep the treats fresh.
Best for Fish Lovers
Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Wild Salmon Freeze-Dried Treats
  • Made from whole wild salmon
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Lidded container to keep treats fresh
  • No additives
Check Chewy

Choosing the Best Cat Treats for Your Pet: What to Look For

When choosing the best cat treats for your pet, there are three factors you will want to consider. The three factors include: simple, clean protein, free of meat by-products, and free or low amounts of nutritionless fillers.

Simple, Clean Protein

Cats are carnivores. In the wild, most of the fruit, grains, and vegetables they would eat would be partially digested in the stomachs of their prey. Especially if your cat doesn’t get much exercise, you don’t want to weigh them down with nutritionless treats. Simple, clean protein is the ideal cat treat.

Avoid Meat By-Products

Organ meat is good for cats. In the wild, they would eat the whole prey. Meat by-products aren’t necessarily harmful because they contain the organs and parts of the animals that a cat might eat. However, store-bought foods and treats can be too concentrated in specific vitamins and minerals because they have so much organ meat. Generally, you want to avoid food and treats that list meat by-product as the first ingredient.

Avoid Nutritionless Fillers

Most cats won’t overeat when offered healthy, balanced nutrition. Sometimes foods with lots of extra fillers that aren’t part of a natural feline diet can inspire overeating and weight gain. They are empty calories that don’t deliver the same concentrated nutrients as pure protein.

The Different Types of Cat Treats for Your Pet: Pros and Cons Compared

There are thousands of cat treats available, which is why we sorted through them to find you some of the best. There are four basic types of cat treats — you can choose between freeze-dried raw, freeze-dried cooked, soft treats, or crunchy treats.

Here are some pros and cons of each type.

Freeze-Dried Raw

ProsCons
These treats are simple with minimal ingredients.Raw foods have to be handled very carefully.
They match a cat’s natural diet.Poor quality raw ingredients can result in worms or stomach upset in your cat.
They are healthy for your cat (if they are high quality).

Freeze-Dried Cooked

ProsCons
These treats are simple with minimal ingredients.Freeze-dried treats may be crumbly.
They are an excellent source of pure protein.Many types of freeze-dried treats need to be rehydrated.
They are healthy for your cat (if they are high quality).

Soft Treats

ProsCons
Soft treats can be good for cats with chewing problems.Some soft treats have chemicals, preservatives, additives, or fillers.
Some soft treats can make a good pill pocket for administering medication.Some cats may over-eat soft treats if given the chance.
Soft treats are often easy to digest.

Crunchy Treats

ProsCons
Crunchy treats can be good for your cat’s dental health.Some crunchy treats have chemicals, preservatives, additives, or fillers.
Some cats like the crunchy texture.
These treats are often less expensive.

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About the Author

Joan Weisman is an experienced freelance marketing strategist and copywriter who helps small businesses expand their audience and stay top of mind with customers. She loves animals and dotes on her cat and dog.

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