5 Essential Cat Training Tools [To Get Started Fast]

Cat Clicker Training Supplies

Want to clicker train your cat but don’t know what you need to start? These following cat training tools are the bare necessities that you’ll need to get going.

Clicker training is not only good at strengthening you and your cat’s relationship positively, it has a low barrier to entry that anyone can learn. It doesn’t use expensive equipment, unlike fear-based methods that use devices that can hurt your pet.

Below I’ll go through the essential cat training tools that every new clicker trainer should have.

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1. Clicker

A clicker is a small handheld device with a button. When you press the button, it makes a click sound. In clicker training, your cat is trained to understand that this sound means they did the right behavior and are about to get a treat.

These clickers are the ones I use. They’re small, relatively quiet so they don’t frighten your cat, and they have a wrist strap so you don’t drop it.

Even though they come in a pack of 10, having more than one clicker is helpful. You can stash one in every room of the house and keep them in your pockets so you’re never without one.

It’s nice to have backups for when one breaks or you lose one. You can even gift them to friends after they see the cool things you’re teaching your cat.

2. High-Value Treats

Treats are how you’ll reward your cat. While using your cat’s regular kibble sounds like a good idea, your cat will likely think otherwise. They want something they don’t get all the time.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when picking out cat training treats. You want your treats to be:

  • High-Value
  • Small in size
  • Low in calories

For training, you want to have special treats your cat loves, or else your cat may decide the reward isn’t worth what you’re asking of them.

The treats should be small, about the size of a pea, so that it doesn’t take long to eat. You want your training sessions to go fast and not get bogged down with chewing.

Lastly, the treats should be low in calories. Treats should account for no more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories. If you’re training for 5 minutes, you’ll use around 15-25 treats. That’s a lot of treats!

I like these freeze-dried raw treats because they’re easily broken into a small size, are high protein, and have low calories.

3. Target Stick

Training your cat to touch their nose or paw to a ball at the end of a stick is one of the first things you’ll train. This ball is called a target and is easy to move around when it’s on the end of a stick.

For cats, I recommend an extendable target stick like this one. The target at the end is small which is perfect for cats.

You can extend it out to have your cat farther away from you but it can store compactly. Even better is that this version has a clicker built into the handle so you don’t have to fumble around trying to hold two things in one hand while training.

There are other versions of target sticks that don’t have built-in clickers. These are good if you like holding the target in the opposite hand that you hold the clicker in.

4. Food Pouch

Food pouches are where you’ll hold your cats treats during the training session. You want it to be easy for you to quickly stick your hand in but not easy for your cat to get into.

Some cats are especially persistent about trying to get treats out for themselves. If this sounds like your cat, a treat pouch is a must.

Some things to think about when choosing a training food pouch:

  • Easy to clean
  • Clips to your body easily
  • Cat can’t get into it
  • Easy to reach in and get treats

Everyone’s needs will be different depending on your cat and you. Some cats are fine with an open bowl of treats on the trainer’s lap but likely you’ll want something that conceals the treats so your cat will stay focused on what you’re asking instead of the treats.

Another thing to consider is how large your hands are. Small training pouches are great for the small amount of treats a cat uses but if your hands are larger, it might be difficult to reach into those small pouches.

Some treat pouches have a magnetic closure that snaps shut as soon as your hand is out. This is a great feature if your cat is a treat thief.

An easy-to-clean food pouch is a must. Even when you’re using dry treats, they have oils and leave treat dust in the pouch.

Something that can quickly be rinsed out and left to dry will make you want to train more over something that requires a lot of upkeep.

I use this food pouch. It has a magnetic closure that snaps closed and it easily clips onto a waistband. The silicone makes it easy to clean and since it comes in a pack of 2, you’ll have a backup while the other is drying.

5. Mat

A mat can be a your cat’s bed, a fabric floor mat, placemat, or even a trivet. You’ll use the mat to teach your cat to go to “their spot.”

You can move the mat to different locations and work on training “stay.” Or you can have your cat wait in their spot quietly to be fed instead of running around meowing.

If you have multiple cats at home, having each cat trained to go to a different felt shape is helpful so that they don’t interrupt one another’s training. Keep in mind that cats don’t see color like we do so different shapes rather than different colors is the way to go.

Other Helpful Cat Training Tools

What you want to train your cat to do will largely affect what other tools you’ll need. Here are some of the most common extra supplies needed for training:

What Can I Use Instead Of A Clicker?

If your cat is afraid of the sound of a clicker, try muffling the sound of the clicker by clicking it in your pocket. If your cat is afraid of all clicker sounds, your next best option will be a training whistle.

For noise-sensitive cats, I recommend using this training whistle. It’s highly adjustable so you can adjust the pitch to something your cat doesn’t mind.

The downside is that it will be hard to add verbal cues in your training since there will be a whistle in your mouth. It is possible to speak but does take some practice.

Most of the other dog training whistles aren’t adjustable. And just because something says its for dog training, doesn’t mean you can’t use it for cats.

Dog clicker training is simply more well-known so it’s a marketing tactic. I used these whistles to train cougars and tigers since my hands were covered in meat.

I’ll also mention that the few bad reviews of that whistle are mainly from people who thought it somehow had magical training powers to make their dog stop barking (but you know better).

Does Clicker Training Work For Cats?

Clicker training works well for all animals but especially for cats. Cat’s are often seen as aloof and have minds of their own.

If your cat doesn’t want to do something, you can’t force them. They’ll run away and hide. This makes clicker training perfect for cats.

You’re working with your cat together in a fun clicker game. When your cat does something you want, you click, and your cat gets a delicious treat.

If your cat does the wrong thing, nothing bad happens. Instead, you ask them for something else and they get to keep having fun.

Now that you know what tools you need to get started, go here to learn the steps for clicker training.

Conclusion

Clicker training your cat is very economical and only takes a handful of items to get started. If your budget is tight, all you really need is a clicker and treats.

You can use a spoon you already have at home as a target and your cat’s bed as their mat. The other supplies like a crate and cat toothpaste can be bought when you are ready to train those behaviors.

Once you have all your cat training supplies, jump right in and start training.

Stephanie Mantilla curiosity trained header logo holding black cat
Stephanie Mantilla

Positive Reinforcement Trainer & Enrichment Specialist

Stephanie has over 12 years of experience training and enriching exotic animals as a Zookeeper. During this time, she received a certificate in Behavioral Husbandry from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and is an expert in animal behavior.
In her free time, she uses positive reinforcement to train her numerous pets at home and is always thinking up creative ways to prevent her pets from getting bored. On Curiosity Trained, Stephanie now helps people make their pets’ lives better by giving them easy to follow tips and science-backed information.

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