Most people don’t realize that you can train a cat. They can be taught certain behaviors and some useful tricks, as well. Here are 4 tips to train a cat.
Dogs vs. Cats Training
There are some very real differences in how you train dogs and cats. That’s because there are some real differences in dogs and cats.
Dogs are more motivated and eager to please. When you praise them with “Good boy” or “Good job” they love it. And it works if you deliver that praise with a quick pat on the head. Canines by instinct, perform well with, and for humans.
Cats aren’t as likely to be that easily motivated.They are independent. And sometimes they don’t listen. Don’t take it personal if they tune you out. Our feline friends aren’t really interested in compliments and praise. They want a reward.
You have to work harder to get their attention. But that makes it all the more worthwhile!
Tip #1 Cats only respond to positive reinforcement.
Cats simply won’t learn from “tough love” or “discipline.” They are reward-based. And they aren’t receptive to any activities that create stress. When a human tries to assert dominance or tries to punish a cat, it doesn’t work. Actually it has the opposite effect.
According to the ASPCA website, “..stress is one of the most common causes for problem behaviors in cats.”
Remember your cat wants to be rewarded. And don’t stress a cat for any reason.
Tip #2 Use tasty treats as a positive reinforcement.
Many cats are more quickly motivated by a new and special treat. So definitely use treats in your training, but not just any old treats. Their normal kibble may not work.
Give them Diced turkey, chopped chicken or baby food that is meat-flavored. Finding the treat that your cat loves best is the key to their heart. And also the way to get them to perform well in training.
Tip #3 Give the cat a special treat only when they perform specific behaviors.
Make sure whatever treat you give for training is saved for when you want your cat to perform. If your cat becomes used to receiving a specific reward in response to clearly defined behaviors.
Start with simple tricks. You want your cat to understand that a reward is earned when a behavior happens in training sessions.
Tip #4 Never bore or confuse a cat.
If your cat is pushed too far, too fast, they will more than likely walk away. You need to have your training sessions last no more than 15 minutes.
Keep your practices short and sweet. But, repeat the same process every day to reinforce the routine. It’s your job to make the cat understand there is a tasty treat as a reward for certain behaviors. And your cat needs enough practice so he or she won’t forget.
Some of the first tricks should be simple. You give a direction and your cat follows. You want to start with, “come”, “stay”, and “sit”.
Stay on one trick per session. And don’t move onto another, until the first trick is truly mastered. When they perform flawlessly with the first trick, move to the next.
When your cat is responding to your directions then you can go to the more practical difficult training. Then you can begin to teach how to walk on a leash.
Be patient. And if the cat doesn’t seem interested in even the most basic training, it’s probably time to get a better treat.