People tend to believe that training a cat really isn’t all that possible. Cats aren’t as receptive as dogs when it comes to simple commands, and this may make it more difficult for cat owners to try to train their cats. That doesn’t mean that it is impossible. In fact, many cats will respond well when it comes to training. The key is to learn how to properly train your cat so that they will listen and be obedient. Let’s look closer into how to you even get started training a cat.
Understanding Your Cat
One of the first things that you will want to do before you even begin trying to train your cat is to understand them. Cats are really not social animals, at least not as social as dogs are.
Dogs are bred to work alongside people, and cats were really only bred to hunt down pests. That means that they don’t have the same natural inclinations when it comes to working for your attention and praise. They are a bit harder to motivate, and it really takes some dedication to train a cat.
You must learn to be very patient and creative at times.
Although it’s not easy to train cats, here’s an example of a well-trained cat that does dog tricks:
The Benefits of Training a Cat
So, why would anyone want to train a cat, especially if it is against their natural inclinations?
Training a cat can have a lot of great benefits. First of all, you will stimulate their mind, which is great when it comes to overall health and wellness. You will also be spending more time with your cat, which will help to strengthen the bond that you have with your cat. There are a few fun tricks, such as fetching and waving that can be a lot of entertainment for your cat. Then, you can teach them simple commands that will be useful, such as to come when you call them or stay put. Some people even teach their cat to use the toilet so that they can get rid of their litter box.
Methods for Training a Cat
There are quite a few ways that you can successfully train a cat, but you should be aware of the fact that not every method is going to work with every cat. Sometimes you have to use trial and error to find out what works best for your cat. Here are a few of the most popular methods of training a cat.
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[su_dropcap style=”flat”]1[/su_dropcap]Using Positive Reinforcement
Using positive reinforcement, namely in the form of tasty cat treats, can be a great way to get your cat to do what you want them to do. It is a good idea for you to look for a treat that will be really motivating for your cat. You can’t just get any old cat treat and assume that it will work. Like we mentioned earlier, cats are not always the easiest creatures to motivate!
Find a treat that they will absolutely go wild about. Some cats may like fresh diced chicken, while others may like various commercial cat treats.
Here’s how to go about training your cat using cat treats:
- Step 1: Get Your Cat’s Attention
You will start by holding the treat close to your cat’s nose so that they can see it and smell it. They will then start to sniff the treat and you will have their undivided attention.
- Step 2: Start With a Simple Command
One of the simplest commands that you can give your cat is to ‘sit’ or ‘stay’. To get your cat to sit, you will hold the treat and slowly arc it up over his head and between his ears. As they follow the treat, their butt will automatically go down to a sitting stance.
- Step 3: Offer Praise
As soon as your cat is sitting, give him a lot of praise and attention. Offer the treat up as a reward. Over time, they will associate the simple commands with the positive reinforcement. As long as you stick with treats they really enjoy, they will likely continue to work with you.
[su_dropcap style=”flat”]2[/su_dropcap]Using Clicker Training
Clicker training is a fast and easy way that people train their pets. Just because it is considered to be fast and easy, it doesn’t mean that it will work for all cats. The good thing is that you really don’t have to invest in anything to try out this method of training. In fact, as long as you have a pen that makes a clicking noise you are ready to go.
When your cat follows a command or behaves correctly, click the clicker and offer them a treat. It is much like using positive reinforcement, but the sound of the clicker helps them to associate the treat with the good behavior.
Cats have a tendency to learn best through repetition, so that means that you really need to make sure that you stay consistent with the method of training that you use. If you start out with a clicker, don’t give up on it too soon. It may just take them a bit more time to catch on to the concept.
[su_dropcap style=”flat”]![/su_dropcap]What About Negative Reinforcement?
While these are the two most common methods of training a cat, many people assume that training cats with punishment and negative consequences is the best way to go.
That isn’t the case at all. In fact, punishing your cat may cause your cat to respond poorly. Instead of teaching your cat what to do, when you punish them you are really teaching them to retreat or run away. Punishing your cat can cause them to be stressed, and that can lead to a lot of behavior issues with your cat over time. This is why positive reinforcement methods are always best for cats.
Teaching Your Cat Tricks?
Once you get past the initial training and simple commands, you may want to delve deeper and actually teach your cat to do some tricks. The good news is that there are several different tricks out there that will prove to be fun and challenging for both you and your cat. Here are some of the top tricks to get you started:
- Shaking hands
- Overcoming hurdles
- Jumping through a hoop
- Hide and seek
While some of these may be more difficult than others, it is best to start slow with your cat. They won’t master these tricks in a single day, and most likely won’t master them in even a week’s time! It is something that you need to be patient with.
As you can see, training a cat is not only possible, it isn’t too difficult. If you first take the time to understand your cat and their particular needs, you will be better able to train them in a way that will work best for both of you. Give some of these training techniques a try and let us know how it goes for you! Do you have any funny stories of your cats doing tricks? If so, comment below and share with us.