How to Train a Cat That Doesn’t Like Treats

How to Train a Cat That Doesn’t Like Treats

Training a cat can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for both you and your feline friend. Treats are often used as incentives during training sessions, but what do you do when your cat doesn’t seem interested in treats? Don’t worry; there are alternative methods to train your cat effectively. In this article, we will explore various strategies and techniques to train a cat that doesn’t like treats.

There are 5 Effective Strategies and Techniques  to Train a Cat That Doesn’t Like Treats

Understanding Your Cat’s Preferences

Before diving into training techniques, it’s essential to understand why your cat may not be interested in treats. Cats have individual preferences, and some may have a more selective palate than others. Here are a few reasons why your cat might not like treats:

Dietary Preferences:

Some cats have specific dietary preferences and may not be interested in the treats you’re offering. They might prefer different textures or flavors that are not present in the treats you’ve chosen.

Health Issues:

If your cat has dental issues or any underlying health problems, they may find it painful to eat certain treats. In such cases, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian to address these issues.

Stress or Anxiety:

Stressed or anxious cats may not be receptive to treats during training. It’s crucial to create a calm and comfortable environment for training sessions to be successful.

Finding Non-Food Rewards

If your cat doesn’t respond to treats, you can explore alternative rewards that may pique their interest. Here are some non-food rewards to consider:

Affection and Praise:

Many cats respond positively to affection and praise. Petting, cuddling, and verbal praise can be highly motivating for them. Whenever your cat exhibits the desired behavior, offer them affectionate attention.


Interactive playtime with your cat using their favorite toys can be an excellent reward. Cats often enjoy chasing feather wands, laser pointers, or even a simple string. Use these toys to reward good behavior.

Environmental Rewards:

Some cats appreciate changes in their environment as a reward. Open a window to allow them to watch birds or place a cozy blanket on their favorite spot. These changes can serve as positive reinforcements for desired behavior.

Clicker Training

Clicker training is a widely used positive reinforcement method that doesn’t rely on treats. Here’s how it works:

Get a Clicker: 

Purchase a clicker, a small device that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed.

Associate the Click with Rewards: 

Before starting training, associate the clicker’s sound with a reward your cat enjoys, such as playtime or affection.

Click and Reward: 

When your cat exhibits the desired behavior during a training session, immediately click the clicker and follow it with the reward.

Consistency is Key: 

Be consistent with your clicks and rewards to reinforce the behavior you want.

Using Mealtime as Training Time

Another effective strategy is to incorporate training into your cat’s mealtime routine. Follow these steps:

Divide Meals: 

Split your cat’s daily food portion into smaller meals.

Training Before Meals: 

Before each meal, engage in a short training session. Use the food from their meal as a reward.

Repeat Daily: 

Consistency is essential. Over time, your cat will associate training with mealtime and become more responsive.

Patience and Positive Reinforcement

Training a cat that doesn’t like treats can be challenging, but patience and positive reinforcement are key. Here are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep training sessions short and frequent to prevent boredom or frustration.
  • Use a calm and soothing voice during training to reduce stress.
  • Be consistent with your chosen rewards and praise.
  • Monitor your cat’s body language; if they seem stressed or disinterested, take a break and try again later.
  • Celebrate small successes and gradually work towards more complex behaviors.


My cat doesn’t like treats. How can I train them effectively?

If your cat isn’t motivated by treats, you can still train them effectively using alternative methods. Consider using non-food rewards such as affection, praise, playtime, and changes in their environment. Affectionate attention and verbal praise can be highly motivating for many cats. Interactive playtime with their favorite toys or creating changes in their environment, like providing access to a window with a view, can also serve as positive reinforcements for desired behavior. Be patient and consistent in your training approach, and you’ll likely see progress over time.

What if my cat ignores all rewards during training?

If your cat seems disinterested in all types of rewards during training, it’s essential to assess their overall well-being. Rule out any underlying health issues or sources of stress or anxiety that may be affecting their motivation. Consult with your veterinarian to address these concerns. Additionally, consider adjusting the training environment to make it more comfortable and stress-free for your cat. Create a calm and inviting space for training sessions, and ensure you’re using rewards or activities that genuinely align with your cat’s preferences.

Can clicker training work for a cat that doesn’t like treats?

Yes, clicker training can be effective for cats that don’t respond to treats. Clicker training focuses on associating the sound of a clicker with a positive reward or reinforcement, which doesn’t have to be food-based. You can use the clicker to mark desired behavior and then follow it up with non-food rewards like playtime, affection, or even a change in their environment. The key is to establish a strong association between the clicker sound and a reward that your cat values. With patience and consistency, clicker training can help you train your cat, even if they’re not treat motivated.


In conclusion, training a cat that doesn’t like treats is entirely possible with the right approach. Understanding your cat’s preferences, finding suitable non-food rewards, incorporating clicker training, and using mealtime as a training opportunity are all effective strategies. Remember that every cat is unique, so tailor your training methods to suit your feline friend’s individual needs and preferences. With patience and positive reinforcement, you can achieve successful training outcomes and strengthen the bond with your cat.

Thomas Walker

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