Clicker Training 101: Train Your Cat in Just 15 Minutes per Day

Clicker Training 101: Train Your Cat in Just 15 Minutes per Day

A lot of people believe that cats can’t really be trained like dogs. And to a degree—this is true. 

The main difference between cats and dogs (as you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been a cat owner for very long) is that dogs often seem eager to please their human masters. 

Cats, on the other hand, seem to prefer doing what makes them happy. 

And this understanding actually serves as the foundational basis for how to successfully clicker train your kitty. 

In this blog post, you’re going to learn how to clicker train your feline companion in less than 15 minutes per day. 

You’re also going to learn how to make this an enjoyable and fun adventure—not just for you, but also for your cat. 

Let’s dive in and start with the basics. 

Clicker Training Basics: The Objective

The first thing to understand about clicker training is that it’s all about your cat’s happiness

At the end of the day, the goal with clicker training is to get your kitty to enjoy doing the things you want to train them to do. 

Thus, the question bears asking…

How do you get cats to enjoy doing things like coming when called, giving you high-fives, and jumping through hoops?

Easy—with snacks! 

Clicker training is all about using positive reinforcement (delivered through delicious kitty treats) to reward desired behavior, and then training your cat to associate those behaviors (and the tasty rewards that follow) with the unique sound of the clicker. 

And in this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to get you started. 

When Should You Start Clicker Training?

Generally speaking, you’ll want to start clicker training after your kitty has learned to properly socialize, use the litter box (if indoors), and feel comfortable in their living space. 

Clicker training too early can cause stress and insecurity for your kitty. Thus, it’s generally advised to wait until kittens are at least 3 months old and thriving/comfortable in their environment before beginning any kind of clicker training. 

How To Clicker Train Your Cat In 9 Easy Steps

Step 1: Get A Clicker

A cat clicker is basically a little hand-held device with a button that you push to make a ‘clicking’ sound. 

You can easily pick one of these up online or at your local pet store. 

Which clicker you choose isn’t nearly as important as staying consistent with using the same clicker over time. 

Thus, if something were to happen to your original clicker, you’d want to replace it with the exact same make and model so that your cat continues to recognize it easily. 

Step 2: Obtain The Most Delicious Cat Treats

These treats are going to be used solely for clicker training. But they must be available for every training session. So only use them when training, and make sure to keep enough on hand for training every single day. 

Make sure to use small treats (your kitty has a tiny stomach, and you don’t want to overfeed).

If your cat’s favorite treats are large, consider cutting them up into tiny pieces (so that you can train for longer and give out more treats as rewards during training). 

Once you’ve found the perfect treats for your kitty, you’ll be ready to put your furry feline companion on a consistent schedule. 

Step 3: Get Your Kitty On A Consistent Feeding Schedule

This step is important for a few different reasons. 

For best results, feed your cat 2 or 3 times per day on a consistent and reliable schedule. 

The best time to train is right before feeding time (while your kitty is hungry). 

Kitties thrive when they’re on a consistent and predictable schedule. 

Step 4: Bond With Your Pet

As you prepare to begin clicker training with your kitty, make sure that you’re also spending a little bit of time every day playing, cuddling, and just in general spending time with your pet. 

This bonding and socialization will aid in the clicker training process by helping your pet to feel more secure and comfortable in their environment—which helps to reduce stress and anxiety. 

Step 5: ‘Charge’ Your Clicker

At first, you just need your cat to associate the ‘clicking’ sound with a reward. The good news is that cats are super smart, so it won’t take long for your cat to learn to associate the unique sound of your clicker with their favorite treats. 

To get started with this step, you’ll want to spend about 10 minutes per day (before you even begin your official training regimen) just clicking the clicker and delivering treats immediately after. 

This gets your cat used to the sound of the clicker, and helps them to understand that whenever they hear it, a reward won’t be far behind! 

Soon, you’ll start to notice that whenever you use the clicker, your cat will literally snap to attention

When this starts to happen on a consistent basis, you’ll know that you’ve properly ‘charged’ your clicker. 

You’ll also want to charge your clicker for a minute or two before each training session. 

Step 6: Start With 1 Behavior

Starting with 1 behavior, and sticking with that behavior until your cat masters it, will help your furry feline pal to keep from getting confused and overwhelmed. 

There are all kinds of different options for tricks and commands that you can clicker-train your kitty to obey.  

Here are some of the most common kitty clicker-training commands:

  • Come when called
  • Finger targeting
  • Sit
  • Stay
  • No
  • Target touching (like a little high-five)
  • Fetch
  • Wave
  • Jumping into their cat carrier

Which Clicker Training Command Should You Start With?

It’s generally recommended that you start with the ‘come when called’ command, as this is one of the easiest and most helpful commands for your pet to understand. 

The ‘finger targeting’ command is also extremely helpful, as it allows you to guide your pet’s movements with a simple wiggling finger. Thus, this is generally another command that’s highly recommended early-on in the process. 

Once your kitty has mastered these, you’ll be ready to graduate to more complex commands and tricks.  

How To Clicker Train Your Cat - The Clicker-Training Process Explained

The actual process of clicker training is fairly straightforward. 

Say your kitty’s name, and give them a command (either verbally or with a hand gesture). 

Entice them with a treat to perform the command. For example, if you want to teach your kitty to come when called, say their name, and present a treat to entice them to come to you. 

When they come to you for the treat, immediately click the clicker and feed them the treat as a reward. 

Repeat this for about 10 minutes per day until your kitty has mastered the trick and will come on command.  

Pro tip: Remember to stay consistent with how you give commands. It’s even helpful to say your cat’s name the exact same way (with the same intonation and tone) every single time, so that your cat understands it clearly. 

The more consistent you are with your commands, the easier it’ll be for your cat to understand what you want them to do. 

Step 7: Only Clicker Train Your Cat For 10 Minutes Per Day, Maximum

Clicker training is highly mentally stimulating for cats. 

Remember when we mentioned that one of the goals of clicker training is to make it all about your cat’s enjoyment?

Well, they love to do it—but not for too long. 

For best results, limit training time to 10 minutes or less per day—and always make sure to follow this with at least 5 minutes of cuddle/pet/play/bonding time. 

It’s always better to leave your cat wanting more than to overwhelm them with long training sessions. 

Plus, cats can only fit so many tasty treats into their little bellies (which are about the size of a ping-pong ball)! 

Step 8: Keep Up A Consistent Training Regiment Every Day Until Your Kitty Has Mastered The Trick

For best results, work with your kitty on a consistent schedule—both at the same time and for the same duration—every day. 

Cats thrive when placed on a regular schedule and routine. 

The best times to train are before mealtimes. 

So, for example, if you always feed your cat their lunch at noon, commencing clicker training every day at 11:00 AM would be perfect timing. 

Keeping up the training every day also keeps your cat ‘in the zone’ and helps them to remember the commands better.

Step 9: Introduce A New Trick Only After Your Kitty Has Mastered The First One

This is really important. 

Only move on to teach new tricks after your cat has mastered the first trick so well that they automatically perform it for you every time you give them the command. 

Trying to teach more than one trick at once might confuse them and slow down the clicker training process. 

Example: How To Train Your Cat To Come To You When Called

Alright! Now, let’s talk about how this exact process looks when laid out in specific detail. We’re going to start with an example of what is probably the most important and basic command—training your cat to come when called. 

  1. Sit down on the floor. 
  2. Prepare the treats and have your clicker handy. 
  3. Start off by ‘charging’ the clicker. Do this for a minute or two—until you know that you have your kitty’s complete and undivided attention. 
  4. Get the cat to move to the other side of the room by tossing a treat. (Side note: It’s super funny when cats slide across the floor to chase their favorite tasty things!) 
  5. Then, call your cat by name and show the treat in your hand. 
  6. When your cat comes to you to get the treat, immediately click the clicker to let them know that they did a good job, and then immediately reward them with the treat. 
  7. Reset by showing your kitty another treat and throwing it across the floor to get them to walk to the other side of the room. 
  8. Repeat a few more times—definitely not going over that 10-minute mark (in fact, sometimes just 5-7 minutes of training works better, depending on how your cat responds). 
  9. Always leave your kitty wanting more, and don’t work them too hard—or the training will lose some of its magic! 

Pro Tip!

Every time you feed your kitty a meal, you should say their name—and every time they take the first bite of their food, you should click the clicker. 

This just helps to provide more consistent reinforcement for their training, and helps you to build that positive association between you, the clicker, the desired behavior, and the treats/rewards you dole out as a reward. 


There you have it!

Everything you need to know to get started with clicker training, in 15 minutes per day or less. 

All that’s left now is to get a clicker, grab some treats, and give it a try. 

Clicker training is so much fun for cats. And it can be super practical and useful for you (the cat parent/caretaker) as well. 

Just remember to stay consistent with it. And always remember to be patient with your kitty. 

You’ve got this! 

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