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Your cat's nutrition is important for a healthy & happy life. petMD experts help you to know what to feed your cat, how much food to feed, and the differences in cat foods, so your cat gets optimum nutrition.
Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Cat Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of cat nutrition.

How to Make Homemade Treats for Cats

December 25, 2015 / (1) comments

Do you have a little extra time on your hands now that the holidays are over? Do you want to give your cat a special treat to celebrate? I’ve put together a couple of recipes for homemade cat treats that are healthy but distinctive enough that your cat should really enjoy them.


Take note that these recipes are NOT nutritionally complete and balanced and therefore should not be used as a major component of your cat’s diet. Think of them as an indulgence. As long as your cat's “regular” food (which certainly must be nutritionally complete and balanced) makes up around 90% of his or her intake, you don’t have to worry about creating a nutritional imbalance.


Chicken, Egg, and Clam Stew


1/3 pound baked boneless chicken breast

1 large egg, hard-boiled

½ ounce canned clams, drained. Reserve liquid.

½ cup cooked white rice

Canola oil


Mince the chicken, egg, and clams and mix together. Add the rice, reserved clam juice, and canola oil. Mix and mash with a fork until desired consistency.


Sardine Cookies


3.75 ounce can of sardines packed in olive oil

1 egg

½ cup flour of choice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Purée the sardines with the oil in which they were packed. Mix in the egg. Gradually add the flour until you have reached a consistency similar to cookie dough. Take approximately one teaspoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Flatten the ball on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have browned slightly. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for approximately one week.


If you are looking for something simpler, just offer your cat something off this “Human Foods that Are Safe Treats for Cats” list:

  • Strips of cooked chicken, turkey, beef or lamb
  • Cooked egg
  • Canned clam, tuna, sardines or salmon
  • Small pieces of cheese or a saucer of milk, as long as your cat is not lactose intolerant


Always avoid human foods that are potentially toxic to cats, like onions, garlic, leeks, chives, grapes, raisins, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and tea.


Anytime you offer your cat a new food, it is wise to monitor how he or she responds. Dietary intolerances or allergies are always a possibility.



Dr. Jennifer Coates





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How to Safely Feed Your Pet 'People Food'


Comments  1

Leave Comment
  • Ack!
    01/08/2016 08:24pm

    Ack! I can't believe I missed this - and who wudda thunk there would be a post on Christmas Day?

    While I just can't bring myself to think of cookies containing sardines and anything with clams just doesn't do it for me, the small strips of chicken and teensy balls of cheese are a treat staple at my house. All my cats have loved cheese!




Photo of Jennifer

... graduated with honors from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. In the years since, she has practiced veterinary medicine in Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado. She is the author of several books about veterinary medicine and animal care, including the Dictionary of Veterinary Terms, Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian .

Jennifer also writes short stories that focus on the strength and importance of the human-animal bond and freelance articles relating to a variety of animal care and veterinary topics. Dr. Coates lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, daughter, and pets.