The 7 Best Cat Treats For Training

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Every cat owner loves to spoil their feline friend with tasty treats. But too many treats can be a detriment to your cat’s health, at least in terms of excessive caloric intake.

Rather than simply doling out treats as a daily indulgent, why not make your cat work for them?

Training your cat is easier than you might think. All you need is the right motivation and an effective training method. Our in-house cat behavior expert, Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB) Julie Posluns, suggests clicker training for cats.

You can learn more about clicker training in our in-depth guide, but here we’ll be talking about the best treats to use for training cats.

At A Glance: Best Cat Treats For Training To Buy

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We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Cat-Man-Doo Dried Bonito Flakes

  • Made with a single animal-based ingredient
  • Packed with flavor and strong aroma cats are drawn to
  • Rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids
Runner Up
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Shameless Pets Yam Good Salmon Crunchy Cat Treats

  • Fresh salmon as the first ingredient
  • Supplemented with fish oils for omega-3 fatty acids
  • Crunchy texture and appealing flavor cats like
Premium Pick
9.5
Picked by 25 people today!

PureBites Chicken Breast Freeze-Dried Cat Treats

  • Made with a single protein-rich ingredient
  • Very low in fat and calories (2 kcal/treat)
  • Completely free from artificial additives and fillers
Best Budget
9.4
Picked by 21 people today!

Temptations Tasty Chicken Flavor Cat Treats

  • Affordably priced around $8 per pound
  • Cats seem to love the flavor and aroma
  • Animal-based source of protein as the first ingredient
Best Dental Treat
9.3
Picked by 18 people today!

Feline Greenies Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor

  • Approved by the VOHC for dental care
  • Crunchy texture helps scrape teeth clean
  • Small in size and low in calories
Best Catnip Treat
9.2
Picked by 18 people today!

Meowijuana Crunchie Munchie Salmon Cat Treats

  • Three sources of concentrated animal protein
  • Nutrient-rich chicken and pork fat
  • Dried catnip may be appealing to some cats
Best Lickable Treat
9.0
Picked by 18 people today!

Inaba Charu Grain-Free Chicken, Tuna, Scallop Puree Variety Pack Lickable Cat Treat

  • Rich in animal protein and moisture
  • Just 6 kcal per tube, easy to serve in small amounts
  • Free from fillers and artificial additives

Quick Overview Of Clicker Training

Positive reinforcement training is widely recognized as one of the most effective means of training cats and dogs. The concept is very simple – you teach your cat what behavior you want him to perform then reward him for doing it. The reward serves as motivation to repeat the behavior.

But how exactly do you go about teaching your cat what you want him to do? That’s where clicker training comes in.

A clicker is a small handheld tool that makes a clicking sound when you squeeze it. It’s a means of communicating clearly with your cat to help him identify the desired behavior. When your cat performs the desired behavior, you use the clicker then follow it up with a tasty treat.

Depending what behavior you’re trying to teach, you may have to do it in stages. You’ll also need to incorporate a verbal cue or hand signal to indicate to your cat what you want him to do.

3 Qualities Of A Good Cat Treat For Training

While dogs are known for eating just about anything you set in front of them, cats can be motivated by food as well. The trick to training is to choose a treat your cat finds irresistible. If they’re not interested in the treat, they won’t be motivated to perform the desired behavior.

So, what makes for a good training treat for cats?

1.The Best Training Treats Are Packed With Flavor And Have An Appealing Aroma.

The key to clicker training is to use the treat to encourage your cat to perform the desired behavior. A nice smelly treat will attract your cat’s attention and, once he’s learned how to get it, he’ll be eager to do what you want in hopes of attaining that reward.

Look for a meaty treat made primarily of animal ingredients. Plant ingredients simply aren’t appealing to cats, and they aren’t worth much in terms of nutrition either.

2. The Best Training Treats Are Healthy.

Treats should only make up about 10% of your cat’s daily calories. This means you’ll have to factor them into his daily intake which may require you to slightly reduce the size of his meals. Another option, of course, is to use pieces of cat food as training treats.

Again, cats will prefer meaty treats over anything else because they are obligate carnivores. They’re biologically adapted to consuming other animals. Make sure the treat is made primarily from animal ingredients with limited carbohydrates and no artificial additives.

3. The Best Training Treats Are Small And Low In Calories.

To teach your cat what behavior you want him to perform, you’ll need to repeat the training sequence multiple times throughout the training session. When you first get started, you’ll want to reward your cat every time he performs the behavior, though you can eventually taper off on the rewards.

To avoid increasing your cat’s daily calorie intake too much, look for treats that are small and low in calories. Many training treats contain just 2 calories or less per treat. If the treat is bigger than a single bite, you can break it up into smaller pieces.

Our Top Picks For The Best Cat Treats For Training

Now that you have a better understanding of how we came to our top picks, you’re probably eager to see them!

Here are our top 7 picks for the best cat treats for training:

#1 Overall Best: Cat-Man-Doo Dried Bonito Flakes

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Nothing is more appealing to cats than a piece of fresh fish. While it may not be safe to feed your cat raw fish, these dried bonito flakes are both safe and satisfying.

Bonito is a medium-sized ocean fish closely related to tuna. These bonito flakes are nothing more than dehydrated pieces of the fish. They’re rich in protein and omega-3-rich fish oils with just 5 kcal per serving. Because they’re flakes, however, you can easily break them up into smaller servings.

Made from a single animal-based ingredient, these treats are highly attractive to cats which makes them perfect for cat training.

The downside of these low-calorie treats is that the flakes are paper-thin, and they tend to crumble in the bag. Transferring the flakes to a jar may help prevent crumbling, or you can simply use the broken flakes as a tasty food topper.

Ingredients

100% Dried Bonito.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 76%
Crude Fat: 3%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 86.36%
Fat: 3.41%
Fiber: 1.14%
Carbs: 9.09%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 83.26%
Fat: 7.98%
Carbs: 8.76%

What We Liked

  • Made with a single animal-based ingredient
  • Packed with flavor and strong aroma cats are drawn to
  • Rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Low in calories, can be broken into pieces

What We Didn’t Like

  • Flakes tend to crumble

#2 Runner Up: Shameless Pets Yam Good Salmon Crunchy Cat Treats

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Read Our Full Brand Review

Made from all natural ingredients including fresh salmon and fish oil, these crunchy cat treats from Shameless Pets are a great option for training.

Not only are they bite-sized, but they’re low in calories at just 1.5 kcal per treat. With salmon as the first ingredient, they’re rich in protein and healthy fats. They’re also free from low-value fillers like corn, wheat, and soy as well as artificial additives like flavoring, colorants, and preservatives.

Though these treats are protein-rich, they do contain several plant ingredients which contributes to a fairly high carbohydrate content. It’s worth noting, however, that Shameless makes an effort to reduce food waste by sourcing misfit and surplus produce for use in their recipes.

Ingredients

Salmon, Sweet Potato, Brown Rice, Tapioca, Brewers Dried Yeast, Flaxseed Meal, Fish Oil, Natural Flavor, Phosphoric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 10.5%
Crude Fiber: 4.5%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 13.04%
Fat: 11.41%
Fiber: 4.89%
Carbs: 70.65%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 11.71%
Fat: 24.88%
Carbs: 63.41%

What We Liked

  • Fresh salmon as the first ingredient
  • Supplemented with fish oils for omega-3 fatty acids
  • Crunchy texture and appealing flavor cats like
  • Small in size and low in calories (1.5 kcal/treat)

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains some unnecessary plant ingredients
  • High carbohydrate content

#3 Premium Pick: PureBites Chicken Breast Freeze-Dried Cat Treats

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If you’re looking for high-quality, healthy cat treats it’s hard to do better than these freeze-dried chicken breast PureBites. They’re made with a single ingredient: human-grade chicken breast.

With chicken as the only ingredient, these treats are packed with protein and natural flavor. They’re incredibly low in fat and calories as well, with just 2 kcal per treat. Size and shape may vary from one treat to another, but you may be able to break up large treats into smaller pieces.

While these treats can be a protein-rich addition to your cat’s diet, some cats simply don’t seem to enjoy the freeze-dried textures. Customers also comment that the treats crumble easily in the bag, so they should be handled with care and stored properly.

Ingredients

100% Pure USA Sourced & Made Human Grade Chicken Breast.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 74%
Crude Fat: 3%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 77.89%
Fat: 3.16%
Fiber: 1.05%
Carbs: 17.89%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 75.29%
Fat: 7.41%
Carbs: 17.3%

What We Liked

  • Made with a single protein-rich ingredient
  • Very low in fat and calories (2 kcal/treat)
  • Completely free from artificial additives and fillers

What We Didn’t Like

  • Some cats dislike the freeze-dried texture
  • Treats may crumble easily

#4 Best Budget: Temptations Tasty Chicken Flavor Cat Treats

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Read Our Full Brand Review

A simple Internet search for cat treats will show Temptations cat treats within the top ten results. With over 40,000 reviews on Amazon, Temptations is one of the most well-known brands in the cat treat market and customers (and their cats) really love them.

What makes Temptations treats so popular is a combination of affordability and appeal. A 1-pound (16 oz.) tub of treats is priced around $8, though they’re also sold in smaller bags. Cats can’t seem to get enough of these treats, and they come in a generous variety of flavors.

While cats seem to go crazy for Temptations treats, we’re not crazy about some of the ingredients in them. Not only do these treats contain corn and wheat products, but they’re also made with vaguely named meat by-products. They are, however, free from artificial flavor, color, and preservatives.

Temptations may not be the healthiest treat brand for cats, but it’s an affordable choice and one cats love. If appealing flavor and aroma is your priority, these treats might work well for training.

Ingredients

Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Corn, Animal Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Brewers Rice, Wheat Flour, Dried Meat By-Products, Natural Flavors, Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Salt, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (source of Vitamin E), Zinc Sulfate, Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Dried Cheese, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Acetate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 28%
Crude Fat: 21%
Crude Fiber: 4.5%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 31.11%
Fat: 23.33%
Fiber: 5%
Carbs: 40.56%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 24.24%
Fat: 44.16%
Carbs: 31.6%

What We Liked

  • Affordably priced around $8 per pound
  • Cats seem to love the flavor and aroma
  • Animal-based source of protein as the first ingredient

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains corn and wheat ingredients
  • High concentration of carbohydrates
  • Made with some vaguely named ingredients

#5 Best Dental Treat: Feline Greenies Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor

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Your cat’s dental health is incredibly important, especially as he ages. While brushing your cat’s teeth is the best way to protect his oral health, dental treats can help.

Feline Greenies are one of the only cat treat brands approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) to protect against tartar. They offer crunchy treats in a variety of flavors that help scrape your cat’s teeth clean and freshen his breath.

We like these treats for training because they’re appropriately sized and contain just 2 kcal per treat. They come in tasty flavors like oven-roasted chicken, savory salmon, and catnip.

The downside to Feline Greenies is they contain a few questionable ingredients. In addition to corn and wheat ingredients, they contain vaguely named poultry fat and a high concentration of carbohydrates on the whole.

They do, however, provide a decent source of animal-based protein and cats seem to enjoy the flavor.

Ingredients

Chicken Meal, Ground Wheat, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Oat Fiber, Natural Poultry Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Citric Acid (a Preservative), Fruit Juice Color, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Mixed Tocopherols (a Preservative), DL-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source of Vitamin E), Ferrous Sulfate, Turmeric Color, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Manganous Oxide, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Cobalt Carbonate, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 27%
Crude Fat: 12%
Crude Fiber: 10%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 30%
Fat: 13.33%
Fiber: 11.11%
Carbs: 45.56%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 27.79%
Fat: 30%
Carbs: 42.21%

What We Liked

  • Approved by the VOHC for dental care
  • Crunchy texture helps scrape teeth clean
  • Small in size and low in calories
  • Chicken meal as a protein-rich first ingredient

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains some corn and wheat ingredients
  • High overall carbohydrate content

#6 Best Catnip Treat: Meowijuana Crunchie Munchie Salmon Cat Treats

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While not all cats respond to catnip, some go absolutely crazy for it. The natural oils in catnip have a strong aroma that makes catnip treats an enticing option for training.

These Crunchie Munchie treats from Meowijuana come in a tasty salmon flavor, though they also contain chicken meal and tuna meal. Each treat contains under 2 kcal and the moisture content is a little higher than the average crunchy treat.

This recipe does contain some added carbohydrate and dairy, though it is free from artificial additives. The ingredient list is fairly short, and it does contain added taurine, an essential amino acid.

If you’re going to use treats rather than kibble to train your cats, these catnip crunchies from Meowijuana seem to be a healthy option. There are numerous reports of cats not being interested in them, but it may just depend on your cat’s susceptibility to catnip.

Ingredients

Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Barley Flour, Chicken Fat, Salmon Meal, Tuna Meal, Pork Fat, Dried Whey, Brewers Dried Yeast, Natural Pork Liver Flavor, Phosphoric Acid, Salt, Canola Lecithin, Dried Ground Catnip, Taurine, Ground Valerian Root, Mixed Tocopherols.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 26%
Crude Fat: 15%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 29.55%
Fat: 17.05%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 48.86%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 24.66%
Fat: 34.55%
Carbs: 40.79%

What We Liked

  • Three sources of concentrated animal protein
  • Nutrient-rich chicken and pork fat
  • Dried catnip may be appealing to some cats
  • Less than 2 kcal per treat

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains some added carbohydrate
  • Some cats don’t respond strongly to catnip

#7 Best Lickable Treat: Inaba Charu Grain-Free Chicken, Tuna, Scallop Puree Variety Pack Lickable Cat Treat

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We’re big proponents of wet food over kibble, largely because it’s much higher in moisture than dry food. Wet cat food also tends to contain higher concentrations of protein which makes the food more appealing and species-appropriate.

If you’re looking for a training treat that provides these same benefits, a lickable puree treat from Inaba Churu might be just right.

Packaged in 2-ounce tubes, these lickable treats are moisture-rich and full of flavor. Fresh tuna provides healthy animal-based protein with tapioca and guar gum used as thickeners. There are no artificial additives and the list of ingredients is relatively short.

An entire tube contains 6 kcal or less and the squeezable nature makes it easy to offer your cat just a few licks at a time. After training, you can also use the puree as a tasty food topper to give your cat an extra reward.

Ingredients (Tuna Recipe)

Water, Tuna, Tapioca, Natural Flavors, Guar Gum, Natural Tuna Flavors, Fructooligosaccharide, Vitamin E Supplement, Green Tea Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 7%
Crude Fat: 0.2%
Crude Fiber: 0.1%
Moisture: 91%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 77.78%
Fat: 2.22%
Fiber: 1.11%
Carbs: 18.89%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 76.21%
Fat: 5.29%
Carbs: 18.51%

What We Liked

  • Rich in animal protein and moisture
  • Just 6 kcal per tube, easy to serve in small amounts
  • Free from fillers and artificial additives

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains some added carbohydrate
  • Fairly pricey, around $1 per tube
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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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