Cats sometimes get a bad rap. While dogs are the affable happy-go-lucky pets who are willing to learn new tricks just to keep their owners happy, cats are often seen as aloof or even uncaring – unwilling to budge! As many of us actually know, that really isn’t the case.
In fact, did you know that you can teach and train your cat? While it’s not quite the same as training a dog, you can at least encourage your pet to follow a few basic patterns and tricks.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Come on Command
According to Reader’s Digest, it’s perfectly possible to tell your cat to ‘come’, and to not have your arms scratched up in the process. They can learn to make a run for it when they hear certain noises – so why not the other way around? The best way to encourage this reverse behaviour, it’s suggested, is by making an encouraging noise before you give them food. This means your cat will then associate the command with a tasty treat! Eventually, you can start using the command away from food, and it’s recommended that you try this a few times a day to make sure the training takes root!
Transfer to a Clicker
It’s tempting to always use treats to encourage good behaviour and training success in cats. However, you should gradually move towards a clicker system. A clicker is a little gadget that you can use to make a noise to tell a cat they have been good. Cats are actually very quick to pick up the clicking noise as being a positive indicator. If you gradually replace giving goodies out for clicks, you’ll be able to encourage further training without spending a fortune on treats.
Yes – believe it or not, you can train your cat to beg, or say please. To do this, it’s suggested that you need to hold a treat above your cat to begin with, and then ask them to beg, or say please. When they reach for the treat, use a clicker to indicate that they did well! You can keep doing this until they start to adapt to the new command.
Know When Enough is Enough
We all know that cats have famously short attention spans! That’s why it’s crucial you should never overdo it on the training each day. Make sure to practice for, say, 15 to 20 minutes per day. Otherwise, your cat is going to get bored or even annoyed. What’s more, there is also a risk of the training becoming ineffective if you continue to do the same tricks over and over again. Therefore, mix it up a little. You shouldn’t put cats through hours of training at a time, just as you wouldn’t with dogs. Therefore, be ready to make sure to give them a break.
Should I Train a Cat to Use the Toilet?
As we discussed in a previous post, it probably isn’t a great idea to teach your cat to use a human toilet. Litter boxes are cats’ domains, and what’s more, an ordinary toilet poses dangers that you might not be able to save them from if you’re not around. Therefore, while it’s tempting to get cats to clean up after themselves, it’s rarely a good plan in practice.
Practice Makes Purr-fect
We love a good pun – but do bear in mind that training cats can take a lot of patience and practice. Make sure to give your cat plenty of space and love – and they will soon get to grips with their new regime!