Most people think that cats cannot be trained because cats do not seem to respond to many of the methods used to train dogs. But cats respond to training! In fact, one of the first scientific studies to emphasize the importance of reinforcement in animal behavior was done with cats.
The first step in training your cat is to understand him. Cats are not as social as dogs. Dogs are specifically raised to work with humans, while the main reason cats are pets is to kill pests alone.
So they are independent and they are not as likely to work in praise and attention as dogs. Motivation is not so easy either. You will need many special treats that your cat finds irresistible. Training a cat requires creativity and patience.
Training your cat has important benefits. You stimulate his body and mind, which helps keep him healthy. And spending time together means strengthening the bond you share. In addition to teaching fun tricks like a wave and picking up, you can also teach him a number of useful behaviors, such as sitting, staying and coming when called. You can even teach your cat to squeak in the toilet and then flush it!
Use Tasty Treats
The first step is to find a treat that your cat loves. Fresh chicken cut into small cubes, piles of tuna, baby food with meat flavor and commercial cat food are all good choices. Once you have identified what your cat wants, follow the basic steps of positive reinforcement training (reward-based training) to teach him the behavior you want. Suppose you want your cat to sit and stay on a crutch as you prepare his dinner. You must only begin to teach him when you ask him to:
First, make sure your cat is alert. Keep the tasty delicacy in your fingers right at your cat’s nose. As your cat begins to sniff the delicacy, it slowly slides into a bow from the nose just above the head between the ears. (Do not lift it upright, otherwise, you will teach your cat to stand on its hind legs rather than sit down!) Many cats will follow this bow movement with their eyes and nose, and if their chin goes up and down, their butt will be below the roof.
Second, the moment your bottom of your cat hits the floor, praise him and offer him delicacy. If the back of the first one doesn’t go all the way down, give him the delicacy anyway. Give him a little closer each time he falls after some of the exercises he performs until he sits on the floor behind him.
Cats do not see things well and quietly, so if your cat has trouble removing the delicacies from your fingers, try giving it to him in the palm of your hand or throwing it on the floor. He will watch the movement as you cast it and know where the delicacy is.
Use a Clicker
A clicker can make training easier and faster. If you do not have a click, you can use a pen to make a click sound. When your cat is performing the right behavior, click and then offer treats. With a click, your cat immediately clicks when he does the right thing, so it can go faster.
Just make sure to click on the exact moment when he wants the behavior you want to do and then give him a treat. Cats learn by repetition, just like us, so you will have to train several times in a row. However, keep your workouts short – just minutes at a time. Most cats get bored when you try to drill the same thing over and over again.
Remember, cats respond very poorly to punishment! Instead of learning what behaviors do not, a punished cat usually learns to just run away. Depending on your cat’s temper, punishment can deter your cat to the point where it can hide from you and your family members. Punishment creates stress, and stress is one of the most common causes of problem behavior in cats, including removal from the litter box and compulsive care. Stress also compromises the immune system, making your cat more vulnerable to illnesses, including catiopathic cystitis (cystitis).
It is much easier to train your cat if you offer behaviors you want to reward and offer him more attractive alternatives to behaviors you do not want. Persuasion, not punishment, is the key to training your cat. If you patiently train and reward your cat with treats, you will soon have a cat sitting at the table and bestowing contentment.
Choose The Best Name For Him
There are thousands of names to choose from, how do you find possible names for your kitten and make sure you choose the right one? One way to reduce the number of names you are considering is to start with the TYPE name you want for your cat. You can see on our list of popular boy cat names that choices reflect everything from cute to favorite color cats and other languages like Japanese names.
Finding Help and More Information
If you want to learn how to train your cat, or if your cat has a behavioral problem that you want to solve, do not hesitate to seek help from a qualified behavior expert.