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How to Clicker Train Your Cat?

  • 12 min read

Training using a controller (a small plastic device with a small metal tab. When pressed, the controller makes a rattling noise) is generally used more in dog training, but cats can be just as quickly trained this wayClicker training for cats relies on the association of a click creating a sound, treat, or other reward, which is given as part of positive behavior. Go through this training process consistently and patiently, and you’ll teach your cat new tricks quickly.

Prepare to train your cat

  • Take a clicker. 

A clicker is a small plastic box with a small metal tab inside. When you press on it, it creates a sound. You can get it online or in pet stores for a perfect price (around one euro). They are often used in dog and kitten training.

  • The best is to use a clicker specially adapted for dressage. If you don’t have one, make a distinct clicking noise with your mouth or use a pen that creates a particular noise.
  •  If your cat is deaf, use a pen with a lamp to achieve the same result.
  • Take some treats in hand.

During dressage training, you will have to give rewards. Give your feline kibble or special rewards (tuna, turkey); it must be given quickly to reward his good behavior. If the reward is food, you must cut it to kibble size.  

  • Some cats may react positively to displays of affection or their toy.
  • Choose a central object.

Use an object like a pen or a spoon. This object must be easy to recognize and be used only to clicker train your cat. Your cat will eventually follow this object like a target, but you don’t want your cat jumping on the table and grabbing his training spoon.

  • You can put a target, like a ping pong ball, on the end of your pen or chopstick.
  •  Don’t use the reward as a target. This will teach your cat to obey only when there is a reward. Eventually, you’ll want to get your cat to exercise without having to reward it (although you can reward it from time to time).
  • Pick a good time to practice. 

Take 5 minutes for each training session; repeat this a few times daily. Wait until your cat is active and wants to eat (at least 20-30 minutes before meals). He will be more interested in the reward and respond better to training.

  • Start in a quiet place. 

Start training in a quiet place without the possibility of distraction. If you have other animals, try putting them outside or in a different room while you guide your cat.

Associate clicker training cats with the reward 

  • Sit on the floor with your cat.

Put yourself at the same level as him to engage in the training using your controller. This will allow you to be as responsive as possible to manage the cat’s behavior by clicking and giving it kibble.

  • Use the clicker and then reward him. 

Toss a kibble to your cat by clicking at the same time. This will allow him to associate the sound of the click with a reward.

  • Do not click at other times. You want your cat to associate the click with the reward, so don’t click when your cat is eating, looking at you, or going somewhere; only when you reward him.
  • Repeat the click and use it several times. 

Wait until your cat has finished eating and looks at you again before repeating the process. Click again and throw a kibble. Let your cat eat this one before trying again. Repeat several times. Stop after 5 minutes and give your cat a break.

  • The reward may not be good enough if your cat loses interest in exercise. Find a better one.
  • Throw the treat a little further and click at the same time. 

Continue to associate the click sound with the reward. Use your cat’s attention to form new, stronger associations. Your cat will continue to want its reward, but it will have to work harder to get it (here, it is making slow progress, but soon it will try harder to get its reward).

  • Do not talk to your cat during this time. 

Please do not talk to him or use any means of language whatsoever during this first stage. You want your controller to be a robust and accurate signal.

  • The click is also much easier for an animal to understand than a voice, such as saying, “Good cat.” Your speaking speed might differ, and your cat might understand it differently each time. One-click is straightforward.

Present a goal to clicker train a cat.

  • Reinforce the relationship between the click and the reward more briefly. 

At the beginning and each time you start a new workout, reinforce the click-reward relationship by clicking your controller and giving the reward. Your cat will remember this association.

  • Associate the click with the objective. 

Bring the lens to your cat. Be ready to click when your cat moves towards the lens or shows interest. For example, he could look at it, lie down next to it, approach it, or smell it. Click at the same time he smells it or moves around and gives him his treat.

  • Hide the target between each click so your cat sees it only when you’re ready to reward it appropriately.
  •  The click lets your cat know the exact moment it does something right. In this case, the correct action to perform is to move toward the target. Use the controller as a signal for the reward. Make sure your cat understands this. If you toss a treat to your cat when it looks at the target, it will immediately distract itself and focus on the treat. Instead, the controller tells the cat the treat is coming, and it has a little time to figure out why it has a reward.
  • Try a few more times. 

Once he’s finished eating, bring the target back and click when he makes the slightest move towards it. Reward him immediately. It will begin associating the target with the reward and try different moves to catch the target.

  • If the cat is focused only on the target, bring it closer. Most cats will bend down to sniff the object. As soon as he does this, click and reward him.
  • Wait for the cat to hit the target. 

After the cat associates the click (and the reward) with the target, push it further to go even further. Please wait for the cat to rub its head on the object, for example, before clicking and rewarding it.

  • Move the target around him. 

Now, you can move the target, and your cat will do the same. Encourage your cat to go to the target. Once your cat looks at the target, as soon as you introduce it, try to get your cat to go in its direction. As soon as he succeeds in this step, click and reward him.

  • Try to move the target aside. When your cat follows the target, click and reward it. Use a step-by-step approach. It’ll be more productive because cats don’t do whole actions right the first time. Please give it a reward when your cat does part of the move in the right direction. Keep practicing, rewarding him to get closer and closer to the goal.
  • Repeat this exercise several times. 

Try in sessions of 5 minutes maximum. If you see your cat losing interest and starting to clean after 10-15 clicks, end the training. Eventually, you’ll be able to make it walk across the room to the target.

Introduce verbal signs to teach your cat

  1. Decide on a verbal cue for each of your exercises. 

While you are clicking, it is good to let your cat know that he is doing well. You can use a verbal cue once he has mastered a few exercises; this will help him know which exercise you want him to do. ‘He is doing. The verbal signal must be clear. It could be a word you won’t use with other animals or a word used in everyday conversation.

  • Choose a logical word to make your cat do something. Using “Jump!” would be best when your cat jumps on something. It would help to use “Come!” when your cat comes up to you.
  • Teach your whiskered friend to come. 

Get on the ground and hold the target. If your cat responds to the target by coming towards it, try to hold it in front of you and say, “Come!” simultaneously. When your cat advances to the target (and you), click and reward it.

  • Try this exercise several times in different places in your home. Make sure you click well and reward him.
  •  Return to the previous exercise if your cat doesn’t understand or seems confused. End the workout on a high note and try again later.
  •  Remember, try these exercises for no more than 5 minutes each time.
  • Teach your whiskered friend to sit. 

Hold a kibble above his head with your hand closed. As he sees her, move your hand further back. Most cats will sit naturally, and their heads will continue to stare at the treat. As soon as your cat sits (or even if it just starts to sit), click the controller, say “sit,” and give it its reward.

  • Repeat this exercise several times.
  • Ignore your cat’s behavior without a verbal cue from you. 

The verbal cue signals that your cat will receive a reward when it succeeds in a particular exercise. If your cat does this on its own, don’t praise it. Do not click and reward it. At this stage of training, ignore any behavior he does without a verbal request. Doing this will associate the voice with the click and the reward.

  • Repeat this process with different exercises. 

As you continue to guide your cat, it will learn and recognize different voice commands for different exercises. At some point, you will see that you will no longer need to click or give him any rewards.

Advice for pet parents

  • Having many short workouts rather than one long workout is always better.
  •  Be patient). Don’t skip steps to move on to an exercise your cat isn’t ready for yet.
  •  Encourage good behavior by clicking and giving a reward. You can also use clicker training to get him to claw on a designated area rather than on your furniture or couch, for example. When he scratches in the right place, click and reward him. Never click when your cat does something you don’t want it to do.
  •  Remember, the click is not a reward. If you click, you must reward him.

Warnings while clicker tutoring for cats

  • Do not punish your cat for any reason, especially during training. It would negate any progress. You’re trying to teach your whiskered friend that he’s doing something right when he does what you ask. Punishing or scaring him during exercise will make him confused and terrified.


Q: What is clicker training for cats?

A: Clicker training for kitties is a positive reinforcement training method that uses a small device called a clicker to mark desired behaviors and provide a reward. It can be used to teach cats various tricks and behaviors.

Q: How does clicker tutoring benefit my cat?

A: Clicker tutoring offers mental stimulation for your cat, strengthens the bond between you and your feline friend, and can help modify behavior issues. It is a fun and effective way to engage your cat’s natural curiosity and intelligence.

Q: Can I controller-train multiple cats at the same time?

A: Yes, you can train multiple cats using controller training, but it’s essential to give each cat individual attention to ensure they understand the training and receive their rewards appropriately.

Q: What are the essential tools for clicker training a cat?

A: To start the controller guiding your cat, you will need a controller, small treats that your cat enjoys, and possibly a target stick to guide your cat’s movements during training exercises.

Q: How do I get my cat’s attention during clicker tutoring?

A: You can use various methods to get your cat’s attention during controller tutoring, such as using a target stick, making a distinctive sound with the controller, or using a specific verbal cue to refocus your cat’s attention.

Q: Can all cats learn to respond to the clicker?

A: Most cats can learn to associate the clicker’s sound with a positive reward. However, depending on their temperament and motivation, some cats may be more responsive to this training method than others.

Q: How do I teach my cat to perform specific tricks using clicker training?

A: To teach your cat specific tricks, you can use the controller to mark the desired behavior, then immediately offer a treat as a reward. With consistent repetition and positive reinforcement, your cat can learn to associate the controller with performing a specific action, such as “sit” or “come.”

Q: Do I need to consult a cat behaviorist for clicker training?

A: While it’s not mandatory, consulting a cat behaviorist or a professional trainer can provide valuable guidance and insight into using clicker tutoring effectively, especially if you encounter challenges or specific behavior issues with your cat.

Q: What common behaviors can be taught through controller tutoring?

A: Clicker training can teach cats a wide range of behaviors, including sitting on command, coming when called, targeting specific objects with their nose or paws, and even more complex tricks like jumping through hoops or playing interactive games.

Q: When is the best time to start clicker tutoring with my cat?

A: You can start controller tutoring with your cat at any age, but it is ideal to begin when they are young, as kittens tend to be more adaptable and eager to learn. However, even adult cats can learn new behaviors and tricks through controller tutoring with patience and consistent practice.

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.