Cat-friendly picnic tips

You can't beat a spot of bonding with your cat. During the summer months, when we tend to be out more often, we might see less of our feline friends than we'd like, so finding ways to spend quality time with them is all the more important.

Cats and humans both love to eat, but doing so together can be tricky, especially as cats have certain dietary needs and limitations to consider. However, with a little know-how it can be really easy and fun to put together a special, cat-friendly picnic: perfect for celebrating National Picnic Month! Here, Catit share a few top tips for doing just that!


Bake some treats

Getting busy in the kitchen and baking some treats for you and your cat to enjoy can be a really fun way to make your picnic extra special.

The good news is that there are plenty of cat-friendly recipes you can try, as many baking ingredients such as flour and eggs are safe for cats to eat occasionally. Cats as a species are lactose intolerant, but even a very small amount of cheese or milk can be a tasty treat for a special occasion. So, a savoury scone or selection of cat-friendly sandwiches (tuna and cucumber, for example) could be safely enjoyed in moderation.

If you want to whip up some sweets, be aware that while sugar isn't toxic to cats,  it is very bad for them. Many fruits, however, are toxic to cats, especially grapes and raisins. Chocolate is also completely off-limits due to being toxic to moggies. Traditional cakes and pastries therefore won't be suitable for an afternoon tea for your cat. Instead, look to include sweet potato and pumpkin in your bakes and avoid adding sugar altogether to create a safer sweet treat for them to enjoy. You could even try making meat versions of your favourite desserts out of tuna, chicken, ham, or parfait!


Recipe idea: Tuna cake

To make this "dessert" for your cat, follow the steps below:

  • Boil and thoroughly mash around 50g of potato and leave it to cool. Keep it plain and avoid using any seasoning to prevent your pet from developing an upset stomach.

  • Mix the potato well with half a tin of drained tuna and a teaspoon of plain flour.

  • Spoon the mixture into a round cookie-cutter and allow it to set in the fridge for about a quarter of an hour before giving it to your cat.

Plain boiled potato is completely safe for a cat to eat, but only in small portions at a time. For this reason, it's best to split up this dessert in three portions to be enjoyed by your cat over the course of three days. If you'd rather, simply amend the quantities to make a smaller portion without leftovers.

When cooking or baking savouries for your cat, be careful to avoid too much salt and fat. For example, choose tuna tinned with water rather than brine or sunflower oil, and unseasoned chicken breast with the skin removed. Be sure to avoid onions and garlic in your recipes, as these can cause uncomfortable or even dangerous digestive issues.


Include different textures and tastes

Putting on a spread of different flavours and textures for your cat could be key to keeping them entertained throughout your meal. When shopping for treats, look for a few kinds with different qualities such as chewy, soft, crunchy, and runny, so your cat has a variety on their plate. 

Some pastes and patés in the pet food aisle can even be frozen into cat-friendly ice lollies, so look for moulds that will allow you to create interesting shapes to serve. Not only will this add a new dynamic element to your picnic, but it's ideal for helping to keep your cats cool on hot days!

Remember that cats aren't very good at recognising when they are thirsty, so you may want to take extra care to encourage them to drink more water. Adding a tiny bit of chicken broth or tuna juice (though ensure that this is from tuna packed in water, not oil or brine) to their water can help make drinking more exciting!


Lay out the feast!

Think carefully about how you will present your spread to create a visual feast as well as a tasty one. Small ceramic plates are easy for cats to eat off, but angled dishes are best as this is a more natural position for them to eat from. To ensure everything stays where you have put it, consider using non-slip rubber or silicone mats in a similar way to placemats. Not only will these help plates and dishes stay in place, but they'll also gather crumbs and spills for easy cleaning afterwards. 


"Though a cat's diet is mostly carnivorous, that doesn't mean you can't put on a varied spread for them to enjoy as their own afternoon tea. Textured foods can be very stimulating, so look for different kinds of cat treats like chewy jerky, creamy pate, crunchy biscuits, and soft grilled meats. For something really exciting, a frozen creamy treat can capture their attention and even cool them down.

"If you're feeding your cats human food or even baking some treats yourself, remember to thoroughly research each ingredient you intend to use. Many foods common in our kitchens can be unhealthy, dangerous, or even lethal for cats, so take care when preparing your afternoon tea to ensure it's as feline-friendly as possible."

- Paul Trott, UK Marketing Manager at Catit

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