Cat treats for clicker training - Update with video!

Looking for recommendations for low calorie cat treats for clicker training my cat. He’s very food motivated so it’s been pretty easy to start, but I haven’t found the right treats yet. There are a few that he likes but they all have downsides. Here’s what I’ve tried:

Fancy Feast savory cravings aka the “chocolate bar” treats. He LOVES these, but they’re about 3 calories a square (probably why he likes them so much, ha!). The recommended serving size for him is 8 treats a day. I’d estimate I typically click/reward 10-15 times per session, so I need to cut them in half. They kind of splinter into crumbs if I don’t do it just right

Hartz Lickable treats
He also loves these tubes of lickable treat, but they unleashed digestion issues like I’ve never seen. Liquid coming out both ends for a couple days :flushed:

Luvsome lickable treats
He liked these ones as well, but they’re more meaty bits in sauce than a paste, so the liquid is kinda messy. Definitely the best option so far, but it would be nice to have something that’s a little more of a paste consistency.

Bonus, other treats he’s not interested in:
Navus Sardine Treats
Emerald Dental Treats
Baby Blue Kitten Crunchies

I know this is a lot of detail for a post about cat treats, but I figured if anyone would have good ideas, it would be y’all!

Have you tried Churu? It’s what I use to clicker train mine. They go nuts for it. One tube is 6 calories total, but I find one tube is enough contentwise that it can split between three sessions… or three cats. :wink:

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I haven’t! I’ll give it a try and hope it doesn’t cause the same issues as the Hartz. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m wondering if the ingredients to make it pasty is what made him react so poorly… Only one way to find out I suppose.

You must either do shorter session than me or give them a lot less, because I typically use about 3/4 of a tube per session. I only have one cat and don’t want to deal with storing an open tube so I just give him the rest as a treat.

Side note, I’m curious to hear what you’re teaching your cats. I’ve been working on getting mine to touch a post-it note with his paw. The eventual goal is to teach him to do a small agility course, as well as sit, lay down, high five, play dead, and be more comfortable in a harness.

I do keep it pretty short, and also only squeeze out a little bit. My cats are food motivated but two of them lose interest quickly, so I’m not training for more than a few minutes.

For the old lady, it’s sit, paw, high five, and claw clipping. For the kittens it’s coming to a whistle, target sitting (come where I point — I have a lot of vertical shelving for the cats so I make them jump from place to place for exercise), and high five. It’s nothing fancy but I think they really enjoy the individual attention.


We love the dehydrated salmon “bites”. Costco has had some very nice ones, and they have been recently on sale there, so I don’t know if they are going to no longer carrying them. But there are other sources too, much the same. The Costco ones do well for both dogs and cats, but for cats, I crush them before delivery because they are a bit large and crispy. I have a cat on medication, and just squirt the contents of the syringe onto the dehydrated salmon crushed kibble, and it’s gone in a moment. The cat licks the plate, and always reports for service at the appointed time.


Mine goes for Greenies Smart Bites. They are 1.3 kcal per treat. I also have some freeze dried chicken (Bravo Pet Foods) which she likes but the pieces are irregular but you can break them into smaller pieces. It is 95 kcal per oz and the whole package is 1.5oz so at 10-12 crunchies per session, the bag should last quite awhile.



I used tiny pieces of cut up cooked chicken to train Maude to shake hands, high 5, sit, sit up, dance on her hind legs in a circle, jump through a hoop, and make a bridge from one chair to the other. Wanted to train her to ride on my shoulders (or head) but she wouldn’t keep her claws in.

FYI --as you said, cats are food motivated. I found Maude learned more quickly when she was a bit hungry–we did our 5-10 min of cat training first thing in the AM before she had breakfast.

And because I have nothing else to do, I make my cats wear hats when they eat. No hat, no food. They look forward to wearing their hats!


Thanks all for the advice! I’ll try some freeze dried treats and see how he likes them.

@Foxglove I love the hats!! Are they crocheted? Maybe I should make my kitty a hat too :thinking:

Thanks for the advice on training right before a meal. That’s what I’ve been doing and it seems to work really well.

And of course here’s a photo for cat tax. This is how he lays when he wants something (usually dinner). Was on my computer when I posted the main post and didn’t have any pics handy…


My sis knitted each cat a hat --I have three --there is “pumpkin” “sweetheart” and “dragon.” Can’t find a pix of dragon, but will take one today. I sent sis this book for Christmas a few years ago. She sent each of my cats a hat.


@Foxglove that book shows you are wasting a valuable resource: cathair!
Just yesterday I brushed enough hair off my Fatso to make at the very least, a beanie.
If only I’d known… :roll_eyes:

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The Carrot Kitties would like to suggest using Cheerios, of all things.

But they are shocked and appalled at the idea of wearing hats. And do not appreciate me looking at them appraisingly, with a creative twinkle in my eye…


Have you tried the Sheba Meaty sticks?
I have one cat that thinks they are the best thing ever. I should think with a sharp knife you can cut them into easy to eat bites.

(My other cat will not eat them, just a FYI.)

Sheba Meaty Sticks

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Probably too high calorie, but I use Blue Buffalo Bursts treats. My cat has a chicken allergy and it’s hard to find chicken free treats that aren’t just freeze-dried fish.

We do target stick training, high fives, jump ups, ect. Makes for some fun pictures!


My Aunt sent a container of those for my 4 barn cats for Christmas. I couldn’t believe how much they loved the stuff… It would be easy to just take a dab and feed off your finger as a reward.

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Update: I tried the meat sticks (not Sheba, but house brand of the grocery store), and he loves them! I cut them into about 30 pieces. A stick is 17 calories, so less than suggested serving of the “chocolate bar” (around 24 calories). Even if I cut the bar into smaller squares, I would only have 16 treats. So this method gives me 2x as many treats for the same amount of calories. And he seems to like them as much as the other treats. The only problem is that I need to remind myself not to use all the treats in one session. Hard to keep it short and sweet when I have more treats, and want to keep going!

I also like how I can thrown them in front of something and get him to follow. He now knows how to go through a tunnel and over jumps! Will upload a video the next time we do a training session :slight_smile:

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Please do.


Ok here it is! Today was the first day I’ve stood at the end of the “course” instead of walking along with him, leaning down, and luring him with a treat. He’s still wanting to run under the jump so I have a pillow as filler. He tried to go over the pillow but under the yardstick a couple times. I need another yardstick so I can make a cross bar. :smiley: