Clicker training has the potential to mitigate stress among shelter cats by providing environmental enrichment and human interaction. This study assessed the ability of cats housed in a shelter-like setting to learn new behaviors via clicker training in a limited amount of time. One hundred shelter cats were enrolled in the study. Their baseline ability to perform four specific behaviors touching a target, sitting, spinning, and giving a high-five was assessed, before exposing them to 15, five-min clicker training sessions, followed by a post-training assessment. Significant gains in performance scores were found for all four cued behaviors after training (p
= 0.001). A cat’s age and sex did not have any effect on successful learning, but increased food motivation was correlated with greater gains in learning for two of the cued behaviors: high-five and targeting. Temperament also correlated with learning, as bolder cats at post assessment demonstrated greater gains in performance scores than shyer ones. Over the course of this study, 79% of cats mastered the ability to touch a target, 27% mastered sitting, 60% mastered spinning, and 31% mastered high-fiving. Aside from the ability to influence the cats’ well-being, clicker training also has the potential to make cats more desirable to adopters.
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