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In the Kitchen With: Joy the Baker’s Crunchy Cat Treats

by Kristina Gill

Usually we only do human food on the column, but in honor of this month’s pets and family theme, we are bringing you a cat treat recipe by Joy the Baker. I am pretty sure humans can eat this, too. Hey, they’re gluten-free! Though maybe without the catnip . . . but I’ll leave that to your discretion! These homemade treats for cats are healthy and a crowd pleaser, as you can tell from the photo. If you don’t have a cat, they would make a great gift for any friends with cats and probably dogs because I’m pretty sure my dog would eat these! — Kristina

About Joy: Joy Wilson is the voice behind the popular blog, JoytheBaker.com. She is a baker, food photographer, writer and curator of all things sweet. Since beginning her website five years ago, JoytheBaker.com has been named one of the 50 Best Food Blogs by the London Times, Eight of the Very Best Food Blogs by Forbes and the Best Baking Blog by Saveur. Joy’s first cookbook, the Joy the Baker Cookbook, is an unabashed celebration of butter and sugar. Joy is also co-creator of Homefries.com, a growing site dedicated to lifestyle audio and video podcasts. Joy lives in Venice, California, with her monstrous cat, Jules, an admirable collection of nail polish and a refrigerator full of butter.

See how to make your own cat treats after the jump . . .

Crunchy Tuna Cat Treats
Makes about 3 dozen treats

  • 1 (5 ounce) can tuna, no salt added and packed in water, drained
  • 1 cup oat flour*
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried catnip


*It’s easy to make your own oat flour. Simply grind old-fashioned oats in a spice grinder (or a super clean coffee grinder) until it is transformed into a light powder. There you have it — oat flour!

1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, combine drained tuna, oat flour, egg, olive oil and catnip. Blend until mixture is smooth. It will be thick but pliable and not terribly sticky.

3. Roll dough into 1/2 teaspoon balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. Use a skewer to press an X-shape into each cookie ball.

4. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes until they are dried on top and slightly browned. Allow to cool completely before offering to your kitty.

5. Place treats in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

Photos and Recipe: Joy Wilson
Styling Assistance: Paola Parsons
Cat Credit: His name is Jules, but I call him TRON because TRON is a more appropriate name for the monster that he is.

Why Joy Loves Making These Treats for Jules, aka Tron

As much as my cat begs for a bite of my burrito, I know that my cat shouldn’t eat like I do. Their systems don’t know what to do with black beans and flour tortillas. These crunchy cat treats honor the simple, meat-driven diet that helps my cat thrive. Tuna is a simple, salt-free protein, and oat flour is easier on the system than corn or wheat-based thickeners. My cat looses his mind for catnip, and just a sprinkling in each treat seals the deal. Really though, I had my cat’s attention as soon as I opened the can of tuna.

Suggested For You


  • My cat was taking the raw treats right off the cookie sheet while we were waiting for the oven to heat up. This are fantastic! My cat is not very picky… if it is food she eats it. But she LOVES these! Thank you for sharing them!

  • Thank you so much for this recipe!

    I can’t wait to try these and maybe even try them with a few different types of meats like fresh boiled chicken, etc. The thought is that I can just prepare an extra serving of plain meat when I go to prepare meat for my husband and I. The extra meat would be for the cat treats. It would be so much healthier and less expensive than purchasing treats from the store! :)

  • 2 of our 3 kitties liked these, but they were too soft for them to keep in their mouth and actually get them down. I even made them smaller and baked them for the max time (and our oven always overcooks). So then I cut them into quarters and broiled them, then let them dry out for about an hour. That seemed to help a lot.

  • my pussy was asleep when I baked these, but man did she perk up when she smelled them come out of the oven. I couldn’t see the tray for pussy mayhem. Thanks

  • Hello,

    We have two egyptian maus and they are very picky about their treats. The only ones that they will eat is the greenies, with the soft center, and when I run out, they beg me for them at night time, and when I don’t have them, the male kitty will get destructive and start tearing things up around the house or take his anger out on his small sister, my question is can you fill these with a soft center like a tuna paste or some other fish paste.

  • These worked very well! I added some fish stock aswell as tuna (no catnip though) and my cats loved them! But they were a bit on the big side and were soft centred so the cats found it hard to eat a whole one but quartered and then baked for another 7 mins sorted out the problem! Since they were so successful I made another batch of chicken ones, substituting the fish stock with a chicken one and aswell as off cuts of chicken in the mixture I cubed the pieces and left a chunk in the middle of each cookie! They looked great but I used freezerbags to store so not quite as cute as your jars^^ thanks!

  • One of my cats has to be grain free, so I used coconut flour instead and since they love tuna with pumpkin, I added pumpkin to it instead of catnip + a bit of homemade stock. They just love it! They were stealing the raw dough from the tray :)

  • Hello! I was wondering what the shelf life of these treats are? Do they need to be refrigerated or can they stay out? Any other information about the storage process of these treats would be very helpful! I like to make large batches so I don’t have to keep making treats :) Thanks so much, Alyssa

    • Oat flour is easy to make. Just grind oats in a coffee/spice grinder. I found one for cheap at a thrift store and just cleaned the coffee odor out well./\

  • Made your treats. They were nice after baking. When stored in airtight container in fridge they were no longer crispy. Do I have to store in fridge. Other recipe ‘ s with similar ingredients do not require refrigeration.

  • Just made a batch for my ibd cat. Added pumpkin and used coconut flour and egg yolk. He’s in heaven, thanks! And I used canned salmon because he doesnt tolerate tuna well.

  • Little LuLu as well as giant Periwinkle-Muffins McGhee (that’s what happens when you let three kids name a cat!) are going to love these tasty nibbles! Thank you for sharing ?

  • I just finished making these up and then are in the oven. It was very easy to make and my bangel cat is curious and so are my other two cats. I can’t wait till they are done baking :-D

  • I have just found your recipe which sounds great, I am a true baker, and I just got a rescue cat, My last cat was my baby fo 17 years. I love my new cat but he’ll never be my Mr. Quigely. My new cat’s name is Flash, I give hiim the Friskies Temptations, he loves them,but he swallows the whole. I try holding them so he at least get some of the soft filling. When I read your recipe I was really thrilled. I’m gonna go for it on Monday. Does anyone eles have the problem of them just swallowing them down. I mean he loves to chase them,
    but there they go right down his throat square sharp edges and all. If there is someone out there that has the same problem, Please email me,baker.deb444@gmail.com Thank you Megan!

    • Cats are obligate carnivores= (only designed to eat meat) as such, their teeth are not designed for chewing.

  • I’d really like to know where u bought or how u made those mason jars w the kitty on top the lids? lol thank you & THX for recipe, my Taz Mania Devil can’t wait to try um Lari & Taz

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