Cat training? Is this possible? Can your furry friend really be taught the ways of purrfect behavior? If your kitty is the strong-willed kind and you have your doubts, keep on reading!
The truth is, when it comes to training a cat, there is good and bad news. Yes, you can train your kitty to avoid or promote specific actions. But, it’s not as simple as training your canine companions. After all, the phrase “good dog” is true to its word!
Although we tend to think of cats as willful and anti-social, this stereotype is outdated. Yes, cats can be a little bit sassy or high maintenance at times. However, cats also enjoy the interaction with their hooman family and respond well to training under the right conditions too. It’s merely a matter of learning to interpret their range of emotions correctly and using the right incentives. Watch out doggo - there’s a new good pet in the building!
Cats are mysterious creatures and can be more on the loner side, but are you aware of the full range of signals your kitty uses to communicate with you? Every “meow” has a purpose - and it’s not just them saying “keep on stroking me”! Not everyone is a natural cat whisperer, but anyone can learn to speak cat. With our help, you’ll be fur-leunt in no time with these top cat training tips.
Training a Cat - Our Best Tips
Pawsitive Reinforcement: Reward and Ignore
Do you find that your cat repeats certain actions no matter how many times you shout ‘no’ or run to stop it? If so, you’ve already taught your kitty to get your attention through a negative response.
For example, if you want your cat to stop scratching the couch - instead of reacting every time it does - offer an alternative. Try introducing your pawfect pal to a scratching post and reward the alternative behavior with a treat. This is an excellent way to un-train negative habits.
For this method to work, you have to be prepared to ignore the unwanted behavior repeatedly - no slip-ups! When your kitty moves over to the scratching post, cement this action by giving an immediate reward for the preferred response. This will encourage them to move away from your beautiful furniture permanently!
Pawse and Repeat: Consistency and Patience
To teach your cat a new behavior, start with the basics. The basics are furtastic in setting up the foundation for cat training and to get your kitty familiar with a routine.
Let’s start with a simple one - getting your furry friend to come when called. Start by standing near your kitty and holding out a treat while calling their name. Next, gradually move out further away from the cat every day, while doing the same thing.
The same process is true for something like nail clipping. Break the task down into tiny steps and give immediate rewards at each stage. For the first few days, offering a reward for being able to touch paws works perfectly. Then move onto pressing a paw and offering a reward. Finally, trim one nail and reward richly until your kitty is comfortable with the entire paw, one nail at a time.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and cat training will take some time too! For the best results, stick to your hard work and see it through.
Purrfect Harmony: Listen and Learn
Cats communicate with each other through visual and scent signals - that explains all of those plotting looks! Their meows are reserved primarily for human communication, which is why it’s important to learn their lingo.
Being fur-leunt doesn’t mean you have to break down each meow and analyze them. In fact, just listening to their tone and pitch does the job! A soft meow might be saying ‘a snack would be good’, while a loud, repeated one might be demanding an immediate and full meal.
In between these two examples, there is a full range of subtle communication. Your cat is aware and responsive - most of the time, they will indicate what they need and when their belly’s need scratching.
With that being said, a constant meowy can get annoying - we feel your pain! But, don’t try to punish or discipline your feline friend for trying to talk to you, rather learn to listen. Much like any relationship, it is a two-way street, and communication is key.
Not all cat training tips have to be complicated and hard to implement. As you can see, training a cat can be a smooth process that even nurtures your relationship with your fur-baby. If all else fails, we highly recommend consulting a pet behavioralist to help you and kitty navigate the best way forward.
Enjoyed this Article?
Here are some other blog posts you might enjoy too!