Simple games, like the Target Game, not only enrich cats’ lives in the shelter, but they also help make cats more friendly and adoptable by teaching them to interact appropriately with humans and decreasing the amount of time they spend at the back of the cage. The game is also rewarding for staff members and volunteers, as it gives them a sure-fire way to get positive responses from cats in their care—a highly rewarding experience for any animal lover!
Here’s how to teach the Target Game:
- A high-value food treat, such as wet cat food
- Target stick that fits between bars or pencil or tongue depressor
- Approach the cat and offer it a small amount of food (the goal is to reward the cat, not to feed it a meal).
- Wait for the cat to eat the food.
- Hold the end of your target up to the cage front, near the cat. The cat will likely investigate it. Click the instant the cat’s nose touches the target. Treat. Wait for the cat to eat.
- Repeat a few times and then move the target slightly, in various directions, clicking and treating for each touch.
The targeting game can be played in very short sessions, with one cat or several, and by one person or several people. Anyone who wants to try can share in the experience and appreciate the results, such as happier, more confident, less fearful animals.
For more low-cost, high-value enrichment ideas, as well as other tips to improve the lives of the cats in your care, check out KPA’s Shelter Training & Enrichment course!
For forever families looking for resources to train their cat at home, check out our Train Your Cat course.