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Thinking of training your cat? Did you book a clicker training package with Class Act Cats and want to get some supplies to make training easier? It can be helpful to have a variety of tools assembled to help ensure the greatest chances of success in your cat's training! Below are what I usually suggest to people as common supplies and a few links to easily order them. There are many other styles and choices out there besides these so if you find something else that works you're not limited to these choices!
Keep in mind that this post is focused on the tools of training and doesn't go into detail about how to train. That requires much, much more than a single blog post and is best done with the assistance of someone who knows what they're doing!
These are used to produce The Click which your cat will quickly learn to love during training. You will want at least one clicker, but you may want or need additional clickers! These are a good place to start:
I suggest having a few clickers in different places and so members of your household can each have their own clickers for training or reinforcing behaviors you want your cat to keep doing. It's a good idea to make sure the clickers make the same (or extremely close to the same) sound so your cat understands what the click means more easily and for consistency across training sessions!
For training a variety of different behaviors, it's helpful to have a visual target. Plus I think it's adorable to to train your cat to boop the target!
I love this one (I've bought it twice now because I lost my first one...) because it's compact when not extended. The target can also be sprayed with catnip to entice your cat if needed, especially when you're first teaching your cat to go after the target.
You can also find targets sticks that have a built in clicker like the one below. These are great for ease of training, but I don't suggest having this be your only clicker as it is a bit bulkier and less convenient to carry around.
This one is more for ease for your when you're doing training sessions with your cat. A treat bag you can wear or attach to yourself makes it easier to get rewards for your cat when training. Plus you can keep other tools such as your clicker in the bag as well for easy storage and transport!
If you want a bit smaller one that doesn't have as much storage, something like this one will suit your needs:
Depending on what motivates your cat, treats are a great option! Pick ones that your cat likes a lot and reserve them exclusively for training sessions. This preserves some of the excitement for your cat and helps make the treats extra exciting! If you have two kinds of treats your cat really likes, you can also alternate between different types of treats at different sessions. Small pieces of meat or tuna can also be used as well. Many cats also like Churu treats which are tubes of meat flavored goop. I personally don't see the appeal, but I'm also not a cat...
This could be a variety of vessels depending on what your space allows or you have on hand. You could get a dedicated container with a lid to keep your supplies in. A drawer in a dresser, your kitchen, or somewhere else easily accessible is also an option. You want to make sure it is something that can be closed and you cat can't easily get into on their own. Ideally, it should not be used for other things so your cat associates you opening it with training beginning and closing it with your session ending.
A client found this container for her training kit. It is the perfect size for most training kits for cats. Plus, it has cats on it!
If your cat is motivated by play, you'll want to have some toys in your cat training toolbox. Not just any toys, however. You want to have some toys that your cat LOVES and are reserved only for training sessions. This makes the toy extra special for the cat so it helps make the training more effective! During your intake session with Class Act Cats, we'll help figure out if this may be an effective method to choose and what type of toy may be best to keep in your toolbox.
Other Helpful Things
At the end of the day, there are tons of tools out there that may be used for training. It depends on your goals and what your cat needs. These suggestions are a good starting place and your toolbox can always be added to as you and your cat figure out what works for the two of you.
About the author: Joey Lusvardi is a feline behavior consultant and cat trainer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He runs a behavior consultation service, Class Act Cats, where he helps cat parents address a variety of unwanted behaviors. He is available for consultation in the Twin Cities or virtually wherever you are located.