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Feature May 2013 Issue

Cat Treat Math: The 10% Calorie Solution

You may be asking: What exactly does it mean to keep treats to 10 percent or less of your cat’s daily calories?

A little math: If your cat weighs eight to 10 pounds, for example, she will require about 200 to 250 calories per day, depending on how active she is, according to Dr. Heinze. That means treats should be no more than 20 to 25 calories.

“However, even small commercial treats may be three or four calories a piece,”says Dr. Heinze. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, below are some common calorie counts for cat treats. “Owners often underestimate, or ignore, calories that come from treats,” says Dr. Heinze.

And what if you think making homemade treats for your cat is a healthier alternative? Any way you slice it, you still need to calculate the calories you’re adding to your cat’s daily menu. Let’s say you bake a small three-ounce piece of chicken breast, don’t add fat and remove the skin*. That’s about 140 calories. So if you cut it up into 70 tiny pieces, each one is about two calories.

(*Chicken, breast, roasted, grilled, or baked, with skin, skin not eaten — at www.supertracker.usda.gov)

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