It’s much different than training a dog, but it can be done.
For many people the idea of training a cat is an odd notion. You got your cat in the first place so it could just be a cat, right? It does its cute thing, purrs and rubs against you and that’s all you want, correct.
Well, that might be what a lot of cat owners want, but training your cat is possible and it has a lot of advantages for both you and your friendly feline. And for those who believe cats are too finicky to allow it to be trained, well guess again.
There have actually been scientific studies that prove cats do accept training, when it’s done correctly. Cats are not dogs and their training regimens are different as well. Cat motivation may require a little more effort and patience.
While some may say that cats are just fine the way they are and don’t need humans to tell it what to do, the reality is that for many cats – especially house-bound cats – the discipline and exercise that comes from training can be very valuable. And there are also the more practical lessons such as teaching it where to go to the bathroom in the event that the litter box is not where it prefers to go.
Here are a few other training tips:
Treats are important – finding a treat your cat likes can make the whole training process much easier. More than dogs, treats for your cat can provide the motivation it needs to do what you want it to do. Treats are great for focusing your cat’s attention. Try holding the treat within a couple of inches of the cat’s nose. As it sniffs at the treat move your hand slowly from side to side and up and down until the cat follows your hand and relaxes. Eventually it will sit down while it follows and when it does so (or performs some other behavior you want) give it the treat and praise it for a job well done. This will take repetition, but don’t go on for a long time. Keep each training session short.
A clicking tool can be a good training aid. Anything will do – as long as it makes a clicking sound. As your cat responds to the sound, give it a treat when it does whatever it is you are asking it to do – come, sit, etc.
In fact, these two basic training techniques can be used to get your cat to do just about anything. Behaviors you might like to have your cat do can include teaching to come on cue, riding in cat carrier when traveling, walking on a leash (harness not collar), and more. There have even been instances – and YouTube videos – of cats having been trained to use a human toilet and flushing after it’s done. Really!
While training a cat might require a little more time and repetition the results can be very positive. The cat will have a more enriched life as it does things that are different and less routine. It will get more exercise. And, the bond between you and your cat will be much stronger.