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

Cat on walk wearing harness
A feline-specific harness combined with a leash can help prevent your cat from running away.


Den space: Area designated as a resting or hiding space. Den spaces can be naturally occurring areas like behind a couch or under a bed or cat-specific spaces such as a covered bed, tunnel or crate.


Food bowl: Stainless steel or ceramic container used to feed a cat. While cats with limited mobility may do better with the traditional single bowl, more able-bodied cats can be encouraged to eat more slowly or work for their meal when it is fed in several smaller bowls spread out around a designated area or throughout the home.

Food puzzles: Toy designed to hold food or treats. The cat uses her teeth, tongue, paws and mouth to manipulate the toy and remove the food, which provides important physical and mental stimulation.


Gate: Portable barrier that can be used to block off a specific area of the house. However, because most cats can jump a standard sized gate, it may be most useful for keeping other pets or people out of a cat-safe area rather than keeping the cat in.


Harness: Device used in conjunction with a leash to safely keep a cat from running away. Feline-specific harness and leash systems often include a bungee-type leash with flex.

Hiding area: See den space.


Kennel: See crate.


Litterbox: Contained, designated space in which a cat is trained to urinate and defecate. There are two basic types of litterboxes: covered (mostly enclosed, with an opening for the cat to enter and exit) and uncovered (open on the top and sides). Most cats do well with an uncovered litterbox. Whether you choose a covered or uncovered box for your cat, you can purchase a mechanical litterbox, which automatically sifts litter and can reduce cleaning time, although some cats may be bothered by the noise and movement.

Litter: Substrate used inside the litterbox to absorb urine and contain feces. There are many varieties of kitty litter, but cats commonly prefer a finer-grained substrate with clumping properties.

Litter mat: Rubber or plastic mat that sits under the litterbox and helps to contain any litter cats may push or track out of the litterbox.

Lure: A stimulus that a cat will willingly follow. Treats are the most commonly used lure, but toys are another useful type of lure.


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