So my cat Toby is 4 years old and is allergic to almost everything. I want to start clicker training him, but I have no idea what to use as a treat.

He is allergic to the following:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Turkey

His allergies are nightmarish when they flare, and they cause him a lot of pain. Chicken and beef are pretty much in any basic cat treat, and when you rule out eggs there really isn't much left.

I have used pumpkin before as a reward for taking medicine, and he quite likes it. But he loses interest in it quickly and too much pumpkin can lead to diarrhea.

I also have a wet food he can eat, but it's so messy that I'm not sure how I would use it as a motivator. He really likes the broth, and will avoid the meat bits if there isn't enough of it.

I don't want to use pork, I don't think it's really good for anyone (animal or otherwise) so I don't ever have it in the house.

I have considered using tuna, but I'm worried he'll get sick or addicted to it. He already has so many food problems I don't want to create another one. If anyone had experience using tuna as a treat motivator, please let me know.

He is not toy motivated, he has toys he likes but will ignore them if he's not in the mood to play.

I know my boy has some problems but despite all of his restrictions and health issues he's very active and intelligent. He's broken into a fridge with childlock on it, and he regularly teaches himself something new. I think he would really benefit from going on walks, but so far any harness training has been impossible. I want to start clicker training as I've read a lot about it and I think he would take to it well.

Any help would be appreciated, especially those who have pets with the same restrictions. Thanks for reading :)

2 Answers 2


I suggest you look for freeze dried fish cat treats. Typically fish is the only ingredient. They are somewhat smelly (which for pets is generally a desirable characteristic). It's easy to break into the desired size bits, so you can make it very small bits for regular treats, then use larger bits or some tuna for a 'jackpot treat'.

If this doesn't work for health or other reasons, you might try using a dropper or medicine syringe filled with broth from his wet food or the "juice" from a can of tuna packed in water. There may still be some mess involved, but it would fit the need for a treat that can be delivered and consumed quickly during training. I used this tuna juice method with success to teach my cats to willingly take liquid medications from a syringe, and although the treat was highly palatable, I didn't notice any issues of 'addiction' or any notable behavior changes.

If your cat does well with dairy (and keeping in mind that many really do not!) tiny bits of a low-lactose cheese such as parmesan are very well liked by some cats. Make sure you keep this to very small amounts, however, and be on the lookout for any possible bad reactions. Definitely don't offer cheeses with a full lactose content, as those will upset your cat's stomach.


My cats love tuna, salmon and shrimp packaged treats, but the first ingredient listed on all three packages is chicken, so that’s out for you, at least for Temptations brand. Unfortunately, fresh seafood goes bad very quickly, and ditto for canned once open, so you’d need something packaged (and freeze-dried).

Mine also like deli ham slices (ripped into small chunks), which are easy to find and store reasonably well. I understand you don’t like pork, but there are no safety issues with precooked meat such as from a deli, and the allergy to chicken doesn’t give you many choices.

I wouldn’t worry about a cat getting “addicted” to treats of any kind. It’s just food, and when used occasionally for training doesn’t need to meet the same nutritional standards as a regular meal.

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