Pumpkin Push-Up Cat Treats: A Recipe for Fall


Thanks to Rover sitter Janelle Leeson for this guest post, originally published on her blog, Paws PDX Travels, which chronicles her adventures with her cats, Lyra and Atlas.

We love fall. From crispy leaves under our paws, to cool afternoon hikes, it is truly the best season to be an adventure cat!

Like many of our cat adventure friends, we take puree push-up treats on every hike. They are a high-reward treat and provide vital hydration. But store-bought treats can be filled with preservatives, so while I sip on my 600-calorie pumpkin spiced latte, I want to make sure my cats eat the best foods.

So, I put on my cozy sweater and I got to work making my own fall-inspired DIY cat push-up treat.

Courtesy Janelle Leeson

Cats can eat pumpkin in the correct form and quantity. And it’s still healthier than my PSL.

Let’s start by discussing the diet cats are born to eat. They are obligate carnivores, which means they were born to eat animal proteins. Their bodies aren’t really meant to break down and digest plant proteins—like pumpkin, corn, potato, or some of the other ingredients typically found in commercial pet foods. You can learn more about Atlas and Lyra’s diet here.

However, a small amount of pure pureed pumpkin is okay as a treat every now and again. In fact, pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber, filling your cat up without wrecking their weight management goals. And, if your cat is experiencing digestive upset (diarrhea or constipation), the soluble and insoluble fiber found in pumpkin can help get things back on track. But too much pumpkin and your cat could develop digestive upset.

Remember, pumpkin should be use as an occasional treat and any long-term digestive issues, as well as your cat’s diet in general, should be discussed with your vet.

As for pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie filling? Keep the pie all to yourself! Spices such as allspice and cloves are toxic to our feline friends. Not to mention the upset stomach they may experience from sugar, milk, and other ingredients.


Pumpkin Push-Up Cat Treats

For these limited-ingredient treats, I chose three ingredients: chicken, pumpkin, and water. It’s that simple.

The fun thing about this recipe (other than sharing a safe Thanksgiving treat with your cat!) is that it can easily be altered. Feel free to switch up the protein and add other ingredients that are delicious and beneficial to your cat—raw goat’s milk, fish oil, and nutritional yeast are just a few great options! Or, you can sprinkle a little catnip on top and you have yourself a pawty treat!

  • Author: Janelle Leeson
  • Yield: 6 3-oz treats 1x



  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup pure pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup water or cooking liquid (such as the water used to boil the chicken)


Cook the chicken: In a medium-sized saucepan, place two boneless and skinless breasts in just enough water to cover. Bring the water to a simmer, cover, and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blend the ingredients: Remove the chicken from the pan to cool, reserving the liquid for later. Roughly chop the chicken and place it in a high-powered blender or food processor along with the pure pumpkin puree. Add 1/2 water or reserved cooking liquid and blend, adding more water as needed until the mixture is smooth.

Fill your molds: Transfer your blended puree to a freezer-safe, single-serving container, leaving a half-inch gap between puree and the top for expansion in the freezer. You can serve immediately, or freeze for up to four months. Optionally, sprinkle the top of the treat with catnip.


To serve and store my homemade treats, I bought silicone molds. Although my cats are raw-fed, I chose to use cooked protein for safe serving. Altas and Lyra loved the treat fresh, or pop them in the freezer for up to four months for a cold treat!

Using these molds, my treats were about 3 ounces each, which is large. If you have two or more cats sharing the treat, this serving size is acceptable. For one cat I would recommend filling the molds only halfway.


  • Calories: 48

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @roverdotcom on Instagram and hashtag it #cookingwithrover.

About the author
: Janelle Leeson is a Rover sitter, a cat mum to two resident adventure kitties, and a cat mum to numerous cat and kitten fosters! Janelle and her furry family enjoy filling their days with hiking, kayaking, and seeking out the best cat-friendly destinations.
Janelle is also one of the recipients of the 2021 Rover Above and Beyond award. You can follow Janelle, her adventure kitties, and her adoptable fosters at @paws_pdx and Paws PDX Travels.

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