Homemade Cat Treats

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Homemade Healthy Cat Treats Recipe
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To my children, pets truly are part of the family. It was their idea to make homemade dog treats for our dog, and they wanted to make homemade cat treats for our cats, Penelope and Tiger, too (“to be fair”).

Like the dog treats we made for Daisy, these homemade treats contain coconut oil and other healthy ingredients that cats love. They are simple to make and store really well in the fridge. Our cats don’t even seem to mind if we don’t heat them up before giving them one. 🙂

These treats are part of our Natural Cat Care & Holistic Alternatives we use to keep our furry friends healthy.

Homemade Cat Treats: What You Need

How to make healthy homemade cat treatsThere are really endless ways you could make this recipe and I’d love to hear how you adapt it for your pets in the comments. we used:

I baked these on a baking sheet with natural parchment paper to avoid sticking and stored them in a glass jar in the fridge.

Cat Treat Ingredients

  • 2 medium size sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup gelatin powder
  • 1 can (drained) tuna or sardines

Cat Treat Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredient in a medium size bowl.
  3. Use a fork to mash everything together until evenly mixed and until all large pieces of fish and sweet potato are mashed up.
  4. Add a little extra coconut flour if needed to get a dough that is roughly the consistency of play dough.
  5. Roll into 1 inch balls and mash down with a fork to form little “cookies”
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  8. Store in the refrigerator for several weeks or in the freezer for several months.

Quality Cat Food

Since writing this post many have asked what cat food we use. I’ve tried different brands over the years and even experimented with making our own. Ultimately, I prefer to leave this in the hands of the experts so we now alternate between a variety of grain-free cat foods (wet, never dry). For the cream of the crop for Fluffy (and convenience for you), check out this awesome cat food delivery service that actually uses real food ingredients.

Ever made homemade treats for your pets? How did they turn out? How will you customize this recipe?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


44 responses to “Homemade Cat Treats”

  1. Jen Petrus Avatar
    Jen Petrus

    I used beef liver instead of tuna, and gave them to my pet rats. They love it! Plus, with rats being omnivorous (unlike cats), no worries over giving them sweet potato or coconut 🙂

  2. Savanna Steffens Avatar
    Savanna Steffens

    I love this recipe! So glad i found one without corn starch or flour! How many treats does this make? and could i make a bigger batch so they would last a while? I would like to give one to my cat regularly but I dont want to have to make a batch too often. Let me know!

      1. GILLIAN Avatar

        I thought tuna gave cats kidney disease and that turkey was the way to go?

  3. Melissa French Avatar
    Melissa French

    I have included this in my Offbeat Holidays – June Bucket List post. Hug Your Cat Day is June 4, and June is Adopt a Cat Month. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wilhelmina Avatar

    I see a few wondering about how truly healthy this is and I have to agree, I wonder as well. How paleo is this? Why not, if you want to make cat treats, make mini jerkies? Just small pieces of poultry, meat, fish or small shrimps drying in either a dehydrator or oven on the lowest. I do this for my cats and they love it. No high carbs, no tin cans, just pure meat and fish and nothing else. My cats love it!

  5. Tina Avatar

    Hi All,
    We buy clean, grass fed beef and ground poultry carcass/meats for pet food from US Wellness..our cat does very well on that, and shipping is reasonable, especially if you are ordering other products as well…
    we feed that primarily, with some supplements and a few veggies, mainly cat grass and broccoli etc.

    However, there have been a few times where we have been in a situation where we have needed to leave a more self stable food out for kitty just in case and this treat recipe has worked well. It isn’t a diet staple, it is a cat treat, so once in a while isn’t a problem, and there some supporting theory that coconut oil and flour are good for felines. Cats are carnivores, but they do eat whatever is in the belly of the animal they are eating, so will get some grain and other foods that way.

  6. Lisa Avatar

    These are not healthy for a cat at all. You’re talking about an obligate carnivore. Cats have no need for carbohydrates and carbohydrates introduce sugar to a system that is not made to process it- it can lead to inflammation and digestive upset.

    If you want to give your cats a treat give it -more meat- or eggs, or insects, or anything, I don’t know, *species appropriate*

  7. Kali Maya Avatar
    Kali Maya

    Animals should not eat canned tuna and fish, as they are very high in mercury. I have personally known of several cats, and a dog that have died from eating canned tuna. For an occasional treat, this recipe would be fine, if using other meats. My animals have been on a raw meat diet for years, with no health issues, perfect weight, etc.

    1. Lisa Avatar

      Not being at all argumentative, but I’ve tried giving my cats raw meat and they look at me like I’ve lost my mind

      1. Rosie Avatar

        I’ve read that cats learn what to eat at a young age, and if the food you provide them with is changed dramatically they might not understand that what you’re giving them is safe to eat. Animal nutritionist Pat McKay writes:
        “Cats live singly in the wild and they check out their food each time they are presented with something different.
        It is important to understand that when they are kittens instinctively know how to kill their prey; however, they are taught what to eat. Some prey animals in the wild are poison to felines, so what they eat has to be taught by their parents
        When domestic kittens are put on commercial pet foods after weaning, they are being “taught” that pet food is okay. So later on when you change to raw, they are just doing what is natural for them and that is to be cautious, because they have already been imprinted with canned/dry foods as kittens
        It is relatively easy to put a kitten on raw food because they are not already imprinted with commercial pet food; not necessarily so with adults. They are more difficult to convert to any new food because their instincts are more defined. If it is not one of the imprinted foods, they are very skeptical…and rightly so. Be patient with your cat and help him/her to understand that it is safe to eat this food.”

        Very interesting I thought.

  8. Rachel Avatar

    This is very sweet but I agree with previous posters that none of these ingredients are good for cats at all. I would highly recommend checking out catinfo.org to learn more about feline health. (Not my website, just a great resource.)

    Cats should stick to their natural diets as much as possible, which means since the type of meat cats eat in the wild is not available commercially, chicken and rabbit are the closest we can get. The cats version of Paleo is eating raw chicken or rabbit, or at the very least grain free wet food. My cat had terrible, terrible urinary problems until we switched him off dry food, and I know a lot of cats in shelters are there because of urinary issues and other health problems linked to diet.

    Feeding cats additives (especially grains) and especially in the form of dry food, causes most feline health problems–most notably, as I mentioned obesity and urinary issues. I’m sure these treats on occasion probably wouldn’t be detrimental and cats certainly might eat them because they love salty fish, (and probably appreciate the thought and effort!) but it would not behoove them in any way.

    My cats love freeze dried chicken as an occasional treat, for what it’s worth!

  9. Stephanie Avatar

    As other posters have pointed out, cats systems are designed to only process animal product (along with a few bites of grass). Carbs are really very hard on them–especially in their main food, but also with treats. It’s just filler that spikes their blood sugar, taxes their pancreas and makes their poop stinky!
    My father-in-law LOVES to “treat” our cat too. I wish he wouldn’t, but he’s not old to argue with. =P So I plan for the extra calories from her treats & give her slightly less raw food. It’s not perfect, but then again, it’s so sweet to watch how loved our pets are by the entire family and how much our kids (and parents lol) want to view them as identical to us. But, honestly cats would be happier and healthier with simple raw meat as a treat. Growing up (before supermarket treats), my mom would drain the tuna water into their bowls and that would be the way we treated our cats–they LOVED it!
    After my last two cats passed from diabetes, we started researching pet nutrition. Now, we buy raw coarse-ground meat (whole carcass, organs, bones, fur & all) and that is the only staple food our cat eats. No canned, no dry. She immediately slimmed down after transitioning, her fur is shiny, she’s more calm, less thirsty, she never has gas and her litter box never smells. All wins in my opinion!

    1. Barbara cara Avatar
      Barbara cara

      Hi Stephanie,
      Can I ask you were you buy the raw meat mix? I will be adopting a cat next week and want to give her the best food possible.

      1. Maria Avatar

        Feeding just raw meat to cats is NOT a balanced diet. Ask your vet, breeder or animal shelter. Or consult one of the specialist web site for information. This is why prepared commercial if of very good quality is OK. To prepare from scratch yourself is possible but not easy. Cats really do have very special dietary requirements if ignored your cats will not be well. Hope this helps. What appeals to humans is not necessarily what is best for felines. Cheers

        1. Grace Miller Avatar
          Grace Miller

          Well, Maria, when I was growing up, there was ‘Fido’ for dogs, and ‘Jellimeat’ for cats, and Tux dog biscuits. Both canned, and the biscuits were big, dry triangles. The end.

          Marketers have dreamed up a gazillion ways for us to be parted from our money, and all in the name of ‘what’s best for your cat/child/self/insert target audience here’. I know I sound cynical, but really? I am talking two generations ago (40 years) and none of the neighbourhood cats or dogs died from the two choices of canned food available to them.

          Just a thought.

      2. Stephanie Avatar

        Hi Barbara,

        Google “species specific diet” and really read up about the dietary needs of cats. It’s true what Maria says, raw muscle meat is not balanced. Cats need organ meat, skin, bone, cartilage, etc, in proper amounts. To be safe, you can add supplements to the raw meat. That is all discussed, especially at feline-nutrition.org which is a great resource (hope you don’t mind the link, Katie. It is a very good site).
        We purchase from Hare Today Gone Tomorrow (hare-today.com). They are in PA & we are in CA, so shipping 12lbs of frozen meat, plus ice across the country before it thaws is NOT cheap (we actually split the cost between ourselves & my brother-in-law). We are actively looking for alternatives, but I use them because they have whole animals and I prefer that to muscle meat with supplements.
        Please do your own research so you are fully aware of the pros & cons of what you choose to feed your cats–then whatever choice you make is yours. We all have different budgets, concerns, living situations that make certain methods preferable over others. Plus, you’ll definitely want to read about how to transition your cat from her current diet to a new one. That can take time & requires patience.

        Good luck!

        1. Stephanie Avatar

          Just a little add-on: I use a variety of animal (rabbit, chicken, turkey, beef, sardines, and/or other meats on sale) and mix it all together. I buy whole carcass of each to get the different nutritional profiles of the organs and fat. I do this because I want to ensure she has enough of the essential amino acids, fats, Vit B, Vit E, etc. It also lowers the cost (because I can purchase from sales) without switching out her food entirely & causing a protest at mealtimes. 🙂

      3. Zielyah Avatar

        Hi, I have three cats, and have had cats most of my life. I have found a cat food made by Evengers. Its a food that was designed by a vet. I find it at our local pet shop, but it can be ordered from thier website. It is the best nutritionally balanced cat diet I have found. I have a twelve year old tabby who still sprite like he was a kitten! I firmly believe and recommend this cat food to any cat owner! Since switching to this food 5 years ago, the changes in my cats fur, behaviors, attitudes, appetites, and feces has been phenomenal!

  10. Amy Avatar

    I made up some gelatin for my cat the other day hoping he would eat it plain, but no go. Although my roommates kitten did eat it that way. So I blended it with some wet food and he did eat it that way. I’m going to continue doing that until it’s gone, then I think I will try just regular tuna or chicken in a can and see if he will eat it that way. His back legs are stiff when he walks so I’m hoping this helps. I agree with what others are saying about them being obligate carnivore. Especially when you consider the length of the intestines, in carnivores it is very very short so that meat doesn’t putrify in the gut. Ours however, is much much longer, and is meant to allow plenty of time to break down fiberous veggi matter, while meat does tend to sit in our guts too long. With that said, the sweet potatos are vitamin rich, I assume that is why you chose those? Just wondering the choice to go with those? How do your kitties respond? Do they eat the whole treat or just a small bit at a time? I am of the mind that the animal instinctively knows and not to force them to eat anything. My cat will eat the blend I made him, but not a lot at a time.

  11. Donna Avatar

    I am going to try this on my 3 furballs. They love tuna and I’m sure they will love it.

  12. Hazel Avatar

    I have read the same as Emma about cats being obligate carnivores. Plus my cat will not eat any veggies anyway. LOL.

  13. Emma Avatar

    Hi Katie, these treats look great, I’d love to make a treat for my cats. However, I have read a lot about cat nutrition, and since they are obligate carnivores (unlike dogs) they shouldn’t eat vegetables or carbohydrates for that matter, and should only have a very small percentage of fat in their diets. I have noticed, however, that my cats seem to like coconut oil in small amounts occasionally. Just not so sure about the sweet potato or coconut flour, as they would never be a part of their natural diet. What are your thoughts on this?

    1. jen Avatar

      Hi, I agree with you about cats being obligate carnivores and not really eating much starch like sweet potato, but it’s not true about cats not needing quality fat (or a very small amount). They need good quality fat in the diet along with protein, as they would eat the whole animal which is their natural diet. I can’t recall the optimal percentages of protein, fat for cats, but it’s 30 – 50% for fat.

      I think that lowfat idea for cats might be because dogs can get pancreatitis from excess fat (but my thought is that is due to poor quality, processed fat inflaming the pancreas), and also related to the low fat mindset in general. I would also have some questions about coconut flour for cats. The treats look good with the gelatin and egg, just some concern about coconut flour and too much starch/carb. Best wishes…

    1. Sue M Avatar

      Marlene, try using turkey for your cat. Turkey has amino acids that cats need and aren’t found in chicken. And most cats like turkey.

  14. mary Avatar

    I will share this recipe. This seems excellent. I rub coconut oil into their fur for licking. Tuna oil might be a good sub if no coconut oil on hand (the oil from tuna in oil). Another treat is just drying flaked tuna in the oven until desiccated. Give a few flakes as treats. I agree with the above commenter that buying treats in the grocery store is depressing, not real food.

    1. Francie Avatar

      Please be careful about the oil in the tuna. It is often very unhealthy vegetable oil that you wouldn’t want you cat to have. Better to buy the water packed, strain well, then add your own oil.

  15. Ashley Avatar

    What a great idea! I’m tired of grabbing the treats at the stores full of all yucky ingredients. I’m gonna go out tomorrow and pick up a few of these ingredients and make them for my fur babies. They deserve the best too!

    1. Liane Avatar

      Ashley – I would definitely get your cat spayed, if for no other reason than she will drive you crazy while she’s in heat. She will also try very hard to get outside while in heat. All of my cats are indoor, but a couple of them have managed to slip outside at some point. Four of my cats were spayed/neutered before 5 months old (some shelters spay as early as 2 months). I mistakenly waited too late to get my last cat spayed, and had to go through a heat cycle. Never again. 🙂
      As for vaccinations, I understand how you feel. My cats got their first couple of sets of vaccinations when they were little, but I have refused to vaccinate yearly. Distemper and other shots like feline leukemia might be a good idea, again in case your cat accidentally gets outside. Some vets/boarding places will require a rabies shot at the very least before they will see them. A lot of cities also require that pets have a rabies shot. If you’re really concerned about the vaccinations, you may want to consult with a holistic veterinarian to see what they recommend. Good luck!

  16. Maria Avatar

    What a great idea. All my cats have always loved coconut milk/ cream but not dairy produces as they are an oriental breed, Burmese. The furred one, George says Purrs and Thanks….

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