Cat Training A-to-Z: Brief Glossary of Tools

Cat training has its own language and its own set of tools. When your trainer suggests that your feline needs a cat fountain or a food puzzle or says she might enjoy a wand toy, do you know what she’s talking about? Trainer Mikkel Becker is here to help: She has defined some of the most commonly used cat-training tools recommended by trainers.

cat with feather toy
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Cat toys are usually made of materials that are intriguing to felines, such as feathers, bells or crinkly paper.

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Cat fountain: Water fountain with an operating function that creates movement simulating running water.

Cat furniture: Elevated vertical structures for a cat to explore or use as an escape. These areas may include cat trees, cat shelving or perches.

Catnip: Herb from the mint family. Not all cats are affected by catnip, and reactions may vary widely. Some cats are excited and invigorated by catnip, while others may be calmed.

Cat room: A cat-proofed area of the home where a cat can safely and comfortably be contained. A cat room is useful if your feline sometimes needs a break from people or other pets or needs to be left alone for any length of time.

Cat toys: There are two basic varieties of cat toys: Those designed for a cat to play with on her own and those designed to promote interaction with a human. In both cases, toys are usually made of materials that are intriguing to a cat, such as feathers, bells or crinkly paper. Some interactive cat toys include electronic functions that allow the toy to move, light up or make noises. Other types of interactive toys, including wand toys, are designed to be manipulated by a human. A wand toy consists of a long stick or wand with a toy attached to the end.

Catio: Secure, enclosed area where a cat can enjoy the outdoors while being protected from dangers such as traffic and predators. Catios may be various shapes and sizes and may have special netting or wiring (to keep the feline safely inside), as well as climbers and scratching posts, if desired.

Cat fencing: Structure designed to keep a cat inside a designated outdoor space. Cat fencing uses specific materials and innovative design to help prevent cats from jumping out of (or, in some cases, into) a yard or secured area.

Cavity toys: See food puzzles.

Clicker: Tool used to mark or pinpoint a desired behavior with a clicking noise. There are a variety of clickers, from the standard box clicker, which makes a sudden, sharp noise, to more muted versions (like a ballpoint pen) for cats that are more sensitive to sound.

Collar: Cat collars are often designed with special stretch and breakaway functions, to help prevent felines from harming themselves if the collar catches on something. Collars are useful for holding ID tags.

Crate: Box-like shelter for a cat. Crates come in a variety of designs, including hard plastic, wire and soft-sided, and all crates should have at least two exits, one in the front and one on top. Some crates are designed to fold up for easy storage. Many veterinarians and trainers recommend a top-removal crate as the least stressful option for most cats when they must be removed from the container.

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