Aside from presents, if there’s one thing we all associate with Christmas, it’s food. We humans love to tuck into a festive treat while we play board games with the family or enjoy a cosy night in front of the TV, and there’s no reason why your cat should miss out on enjoying some goodies, either.
However, don’t get too carried away: ‘When feeding treats, remember to reduce your cat’s main meals to help them maintain a healthy weight,’ cautions animal nutritionist Emma Passman.
These homemade cat treats are perfect for sharing with your feline friend as you enjoy your Christmas dinner, or popping into their stocking for a festive present.
Unlike many humans, cats don’t have much of a sweet tooth – but these savoury cookies are a great way to let them enjoy this festive classic! ‘Cats just love chicken,’ says Emma. ‘And eggs also supply a great source of complete protein.’
Makes 12 cookies (1 per serving)
Small chicken breast
300g oat flour, plus extra for dusting (you can make this by whizzing up a few handfuls of oats in a blender until fine and powdery)
1 tbsp catnip (you can buy this from most pet shops)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, then cook the chicken for 25 mins until cooked through. Remove, but keep the oven on. When the chicken has cooked, finely shred the meat into thin strips.
2. Meanwhile, heat a pan on the hob. Peel and cut the apple and slice into small pieces, ensuring the core and all the seeds are discarded. Place the apple in the pan and add water until the apple is just covered. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 mins, or until the apple has softened. Remove from heat and drain.
3. Add the chicken, apple, egg, flour and catnip into a blender, and whizz until well combined.
4. On a flat surface dusted lightly with oat flour, roll out the dough until it’s about 1cm thick. Use a small Christmas snowman-shaped cutter to cut out the biscuits.
5. Place these on a lined baking tray and bake for 15 mins, or until golden.
6. Remove and leave to cool before serving one to your feline friend! Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
Christmas dinner muffins
These eggy cups are a great way to use up some festive leftovers and create a perfect little cat treat. ‘Your feline friend will really appreciate the tasty roast turkey or beef in these treats,’ Emma reveals. ‘Both are also packed with essential trace elements to help keep your cat in tip top condition.’
Makes 12 muffins (1 per serving)
170g plain turkey or beef, cooked
1 large carrot
20g frozen peas, defrosted
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Meanwhile, cut or shred the pre-cooked meat into small pieces and set aside.
2. Boil some water in a pan, as you peel the carrot and cut it into small pieces. Then cook for a few minutes until tender. Remove from heat.
3. Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add in the meat and vegetables. Stir thoroughly to ensure the ingredients are well mixed.
4. Using a muffin tray, carefully spoon the mix into each section until about three-quarters full. For an extra festive feel, put your mix into a Christmas-shaped mould, like a snowman or tree!
5. Place the muffins in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through, and a skewer poked into their centre comes out clean. Leave to cool, then let your cat tuck into one. The rest will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.
Cats love playing with baubles – fortunately, these ones are far less treacherous and contain plenty more nutrients! ‘A novel Christmas treat for your feline friend,’ explains Emma, ‘these treats are rich in eggy goodness that cats love.’
Makes 14 baubles (1-2 per serving)
1 small carrot
1 small parsnip
1/2 cup broccoli florets
75g oat flour (you can make this by whizzing up a few handfuls of oats in a blender until fine and powdery)
1. Heat a pan of water on the hob, whilst peeling and slicing the carrot and parsnips. Along with the broccoli, add to the pan and cook until tender. Then drain.
2. Put the vegetables into a blender with the oat flour and egg. Whizz until well combined.
3. Use your hands to mould the mix into small balls. If the mixture is too wet, add a tiny bit more oat flour to thicken.
4. Place these on a lined baking tray and cook for around 10 mins. Remove, then leave to cool before giving your cat her very own edible bauble to enjoy. Place any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for a couple of days.
We’d love to see how they turn out! Post a picture of your finished treats on Instagram or Twitter, tagging @Petplan_UK with the hashtag #PethoodStories.