What to look for in a training treat and a list of ideas.
CAT TRAININGHEALTHPRODUCT SPOTLIGHTHAPPINESS
I need to preface this with my stance on treats, because some people get upset about this. Treats should not make up the majority of your pet’s diet. That said, when I want a treat I don’t reach for a carrot stick. Luckily there are a lot of healthy options for treats on the market, but not everything I recommend will be super healthy. That said, I do try to steer away from fish flavors in general for health reasons.
This is my opinion when choosing treats, so keep that in mind when selecting something for your own pet. When we’re giving treats with a purpose (training in this case) sometimes we do have to make sacrifices in one area. If you need these treats for training your cat must want the cookies.
Training treats need to be eaten quickly so the learning can continue. Cats especially can get caught up in grooming if food gets around their face and mouth. Portions should be small and swallowed in one or two bites.
This list is only meant to inspire ideas on different textures and brands. It’s certainly not comprehensive and many of these brands have treats in other flavors than what I have listed here. For anything like single ingredient freeze dried treats, try shopping in dog sections! The treats are often cheaper even if you have to break them up a little bit yourself.
Cat Crack...otherwise known as squeezie tubes
There are so many varieties of these things by so many brands; Churu is probably the most popular. In my experience they're all cat crack.
I have taken to emptying these tubes into a capped syringe so that I can feed from there. It's easy to open and feed right from the tube, but I've found that occasionally the edges left by tearing are a bit sharp.
If your kitty is less outgoing and more shy they may initially misjudge sniffing the treat and touch the rough edge, which can deter them from trying the treats.
Any type of Chicken/meat filet
Inaba and other companies sell these individual filets that can work great to tear pieces off during sessions. Your cat may be enticed with the flavored broths that these are sometimes soaked in.
Alternatively, if you make some boiled chicken or have rotisserie chicken for dinner you can tear chunks of that off, too. Just be mindful that cats can't have onion and garlic.
Back with the Inaba. These are a good option to put in the rotation when you need kitty crack but in a more portable/bite size form. The center is the cat crack squeezie tube and it's surrounded by a semi-moist treat.
They make several different flavors of these.
Vital Cat makes a ton of healthy options for cat cookies! Organs in general are wonderful, tasty options.
We don't want to load our cats up on rich organs like livers and hearts, but these make for great treats in a rotation. You can get freeze dried bits like these from many brands, this is just one of my favorites.
Fancy Feast Savory Cravings
These things make my list again because of portability. They sell in small one-bar packages or these bigger three-bar packs. Claude isn't a big semi-moist fan, but he does love crab so that's why I initially tried these. What I fell in love with was that they are broken up like a little kitty chocolate bar. It makes them bite size and perfect for training. Again, several flavors including this beef and crab.
The entire Orijen line of freeze dried
This entire line of treats tends to drive cats crazy! This is another healthier option for treats that's really high value. Lots and lots of different flavors in this line. I usually keep a bag of the red meat flavor on hand, so if you've gotten a sample of this from me it was probably that one.
Inaba Juicy Bites
Back with one last Inaba treat here. Again, these initially gained my attention for being one of the few crab flavored treats out there. When I tell you that cats go insane over these things I mean it!!
They come in little packets that are perfect for training sessions and I break each treat up into two or three pieces to make them the perfect size.
The entire PureBites lineup
PureBites makes a bunch of different freeze dried, single ingredient treats, including those little shrimps that my cats always hate. If your cat likes them they're really easy to break in half for the perfect size. Lots of beef and chicken variety here.
Tiki Cat is a great brand, and I want to highlight some different textures and brands of crunchy and chewy treats
There are many great quality brands of treats on the market these days. Cats are very picky to texture, so in addition to knowing what flavors your cat likes you should also be aware of textures. I like keeping several of the squeezie tubes on hand and then my bait pouch is filled with a variety of these types of treats.
Red Barn Protein Puffs
What a hit!! These things are great and the perfect size for training. There are several flavors available.
Any type of nasty, smelly tripe treats
I'm putting these on the list just because the smellier treats that we hate are typically higher value. Tripe is very nutritious and healthy, it'll just smell like hot garbage to us. To our pets it's usually amazing.