Finding the right treats for a raw-fed cat can be a little challenging because most treats come in kibble form which the raw-fed cat may not recognize as being food. Finding a treat your cat loves, though, is important. Unlike dogs, cats are not strongly motivated by praise. So if you are going to train them or alter their behavior in any way, you'll need to bribe them. Its part of the beauty of cats - they may not be trainable in the same way that a dog is, but they are bribable.
Before we talk about the treats, we do need to mention feeding. If you are wanting to train your cat with treats - whether it be training to go into a carrier, clicker training, or simply increasing the amount of touch/hold time you share with your cat, it is hard to do if your cat is never hungry. Since you are likely going to be training your cat through the day, you should not free-feed through the day. Offer smaller meals, so the desire for treats intensifies.
You may have the most success with moist treats since your cats are accustomed to moist foods. We have had great success with Inaba Churu brand teats. Try the variety pack - our cats like them all, but they are especially fond of the tuna flavored varieties.
The best place to start when looking for a treat for your raw-fed cat is likely freeze-dried meats. You may find you have the most success with fish variety freeze dried treats.
Freeze dried sardines are a great choice because they are healthy, tasty, and smelly - the three things you want in a treat. The problem is they can be rather difficult to find. We source them through Only One Treats, a Canadian company that ships to the US.
It is important that the treat is consumed quickly. If necessary, break the sardines into smaller pieces and offer a small bite at a time.
Other freeze dried meats can be a hit too, and a little easier to find. PureBites and Vital Essentials make a line of many flavors of freeze-dried treats that are easy to get. We recommend getting a variety pack to start with and see what your cat likes best. Try the liver and heart varieties as a way to add in some extra nutrients.
If the freeze-dried foods aren't exciting your cats, try Ziwi Peak cat or dog food. Ziwi Peak products are air dried, not freeze dried. It results in a slightly different texture - one that may be more pleasing to your cat. The nice thing about using Ziwi Peak food as treats is that it isn't overfilled with some of the ingredients that may be found in morsels that are made specifically as treats.
If your cats won't take to any freeze-dried meat or Ziwi Peak food, you may try Beechnut Turkey or Chicken Babyfood. Cats generally love this, but it isn't the easiest to give them if you are wanting to do more serious training as it needs to be fed from a spoon or in a dish.
Also, don't be afraid to use human grade meat as treats. Often deli meats or hot dogs are highly prized morsels by cats. Just make sure that you use them sparingly - as you should with all treats - and make sure they do not have any spices in them.
Training cats is a matter of rewarding desired behavior. You need to have your treats on you and ready to administer as soon as the cat does the desired behavior. There are some skills worth training your cat in order to improve his quality of life. Training to go into a carrier will eliminate carrier stress. Training him to come when called could save his life in an emergency. Training him to walk on a leash, use a cat wheel, or complete an obstacle course can help you meet his physical and mental needs.
You can also use training to improve desired behaviors in your cat - such as encouraging more petting or holding from you. You may use treats to convince him to sit on his cat tree to watch you make dinner instead of the kitchen counter. Or you may use treats to train him to scratch on his scratching posts and not the couch.
It is important to find your cats favorite treat and have it on hand, so you can train (AKA bribe) your cat into doing things you want and reward an alternative action when he does something you do not want.