Cat Treats

I feel like recently I have been inundated with people asking me if I will make CAT treats. I shouldn’t really be surprised that “crazy cat people” want to pamper their pets as much as we “crazy dog people” but, being a true crazy dog person, I guess I hadn’t really thought much about cat treats before. So, by popular demand, here is my first cat treat recipe.

These treats only have three ingredients but are packed with fishy flavor. Since this is my first attempt I wanted to stick to a flavor that is fairly universally loved by cats, but I don’t relish the messiness of working with raw seafood, so I decided to use freeze-dried ocean whitefish. I really like PureBites brand, and I have found it to be readily available in my local pet stores. Whatever brand you choose to use, just be sure that the only ingredient listed on the package is fish. You could also easily substitute an equal amount of a different freeze-dried seafood or meat (like shrimp, chicken, or turkey) in this recipe without a problem.

The kitty taste-testers that I sent my treats to may disagree, but I suspect that the cookie cutter that I used was a little too large for cat-sized mouths. It is about 1 inch long and 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. You will probably want to use a smaller sized cutter, but remember that that will increase the yield that is listed below.

 Cat Treats

Cat Treats

Makes about 100 (1-inch) treats

 

About 1/2 oz freeze-dried whitefish, or as needed

3 cups brown rice flour

1 1/2 cups water

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Place the freeze-dried whitefish in a blender or food processor, and process it into a fine powder. Transfer 1/2 cup of the powder in a mixing bowl. Store the remainder of the powder in an airtight container for later use.

3. Add the rice flour to the whitefish powder, and stir to combine.

4. Add the water to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine, and then continue kneading the mixture by hand until it forms a smooth dough.

5. Lightly dust the countertop with rice flour, and roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough into pieces. Arrange the pieces on a baking sheet.

6. Bake until the treats are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. If desired, flip the treats over halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning.

 

Note:

I used two small (0.28 oz) bags of PureBites Ocean Whitefish Cat Treats in order to grind the necessary 1/2 cup of powder.

Cranberry-Oat Granola Bars

To be honest, I was shocked at how successful this dog treat recipe was. Dried cranberries were a new flavor for my dog Pacey, and I wasn’t exactly sure if he would like them. He went totally nuts for these! Seriously. I actually had to chastise him to get him to stop jumping up and begging for more! I would say without a doubt that these are his new favorite treats.

The recipe couldn’t be simpler. Your main concern will be using the right ingredients. The coconut flakes and dried cranberries must be UNSWEETENED. You will probably need to head to the natural or health food section of your grocery store to find these, and the labels will be marked “unsweetened.” (You don’t ever want to use “Craisins” or any other sugary ingredients in dog treats.) Likewise, the peanut butter should be natural with no sugar added. And, as always, it’s best to choose good quality oats and honey/molasses.

 Cranberry-Oat Granola Bars

Cranberry-Oat Granola Bars

Makes about 40 treats (1 1/2-inch squares)

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup natural, unsweetened crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup honey or molasses

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the oats, coconut, and cranberries in a large bowl.

3. Add the peanut butter and honey (or molasses) to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir until all of the dry ingredients are well-coated and the mixture is holding together.

4. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper that are the size of your baking sheet. Place one piece of parchment on the countertop, pour the granola bar mixture onto it, and cover the mixture with the second piece of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll on the granola bar mixture out into an even, rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. The mixture will be very sticky, so rolling it out between the 2 sheets of parchment paper will keep it from sticking to the rolling pin/countertop/your hands/etc.

5. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and discard it. With the sheet of granola mixture still on top of the bottom layer of parchment paper, transfer it to the baking sheet—keeping the parchment paper on the bottom to line the baking sheet.

6. Bake until the granola is firm and light golden brown, about 14 minutes.

7. Allow the sheet of granola to cool completely, then use a sharp slicing knife to cut the rectangular sheet into pieces. (I cut 1 1/2-inch squares, but you could cut traditional rectangular bars, or another desired shape.)

 

These treats should be stored in the refrigerator.

Fresh Peach Biscuits

Just in the last two weeks or so, fresh, ripe, local peaches have started popping up in our markets here in southern Pennsylvania. Like many fruits, peaches have a delicious natural sweetness that makes them perfect for baking for people and dogs alike.

You will find that peaches are sometimes listed as a no-no fruit for dogs, but that is all dependent on how they are prepared. It is true that dogs should NEVER, EVER be given a peach, or even a part of a peach, with the skin and/or pit still on it; however, the flesh of the peach is fine if it has been thoroughly cleaned of the skin and pit. Just be sure to dispose of the waste in a secure trash container that your dog is unable to get into, because peach pits pose a major choking hazard.

That said, the peach flesh makes a natural, sweet summer treat for dogs, and the fresh peach puree in this recipe definitely had our four taste-testers begging for more.

Peach Biscuits

Peach Biscuits

Makes about 18 large treats (2 1/2 in diameter)

1 medium peach

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup water

2 1/4 cups oat flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Take care to completely remove every bit of skin and pit from the peach. Discard the skin and pit in a secure place. Cut the peach flesh into chunks.

3. Place the peach, honey, and water in a blender, and process into a puree. Transfer the peach puree to a bowl.

4. Add the flour in two additions, stirring well after each addition to combine. Knead the mixture by hand to form a smooth dough.

5. On a clean countertop, roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough into biscuits. (Since it contains no gluten, this dough is a bit more delicate when it’s rolled out. Take care when transferring the biscuits from the cutter to the baking sheet so that they don’t break.)

6. Arrange the biscuits on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each of the biscuits over, and return to the oven. Continue baking for an additional 6 minutes. Allow the biscuits to cool completely before serving.

These treats may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature but are best stored in the refrigerator.