With these cat training tips I hope to destroy the myth that cats are all independent, fickle creatures that just want to be left alone. True, most cats lead a solitary, individual life. But studies have shown that cats are incredibly affectionate and loving by nature…they just need their owners to demonstrate a little leadership and begin some rapport building.
Most cat owners take for granted a cat’s ability to learn. After all, a cat will automatically take to the litter box and will clean and preen herself for what seems like hours on end. But, don’t underestimate your cat’s abilities to learn more advanced things like learning to sit on command, to come when called, to stay or to fetch. Training your cat has another advantage, too! It will enrich her life in the following ways.
-It will build a strong rapport between you and your cat
-The training will underline your authority over her which in turn eliminates dominant behavior
-It will obviously keep your cat’s mind active and thus, stimulated
-Training teaches good social skills
-The repetition of training will make anxious and high strung cats become more reassured
So, how do you train a cat?
There are two very popular methods: target training and clicker training.
Target training is where you use a toll to attract your cat’s attention and get the desired results. For example, a training wand is held slightly above the cat’s head until he looks up and is forced to sit or beg.
Clicker training uses a device that makes a clicking sound. When the cat performs the desired effect, the clicker is sounded at that precise moment. For example, if teaching the cat to sit, as soon as her bottom touches the ground sound the clicker and give her a small treat. With repetition, the cat learns to associate the click with food and recognizes that by “performing” she will get a treat.
Here are a few tips for training your cat.
-Patience, patience, patience. All cats are individuals and will learn at a different pace. She may learn
some tricks quickly while struggling with others. Don’t lose your temper if a training session doesn’t
go as planned.
-If you leave food out for your cat to eat whenever she wants stop that practise at once. You will want
to use treats during your training to speed up results. This won’t work if Miss Kitty has a full tummy!
Plan your training sessions just before a scheduled mealtime. It will sharpen her focus and she will
more readily obey.
-Itty bitty baby steps are best! Build a strong foundation of the basics, like sit, stay and come, before
trying to teach her to give high fives or open a cabinet, etc.
-Remember cats have short attention spans. Keep her sessions short and invigorating. Always try
and end on a positive note.
These tips will get you started with training your cat, If you need guidance, there are a number of cat training manuals and courses available online. While most of the courses tend toward dog training some for cats are quite useful. Your local library may even have a few. Any effort you make will be rewarding for both you and your cat.