Cats are independent, intelligent, and carefree, which doesn’t guarantee that they cannot get trained. Most cat parents have preconceptions and notions that a cat is too stubborn and disobedient to obey their commands or learn any skills. While the truth is that felines are highly intelligent, determined, and intuitive – this makes them an excellent standard to respond faster and learn better.
Parents should understand that each cat has a unique language; their behavior, understanding, and abilities vary. The trick is to be patient and to work on their natural behaviors. Furthermore, the training received by a cat can benefit both parents and their pets, be it in case of a dangerous situation, how to learn primary responses, and deepening the pet-owner bond.
A leading cat behaviorist, Kim Housten, states that “the key to training a cat is to understand what motivates them and use positive, reward-based techniques.”
A Few Things to Consider Before Training Your Cat:
- Try to use a clicker to mark the desired behavior. It’s a sound-producing tool used for positive reinforcement once the cat obeys a command.
- Moreover, a treat followed by a click can instantly grab the feline’s interest for being rewarded, and it’s easier for them to catch on with a particular command.
- Training a cat before their meal can do wonders – they are food-motivated, and if their behavior gets rewarded by something they like, then they’ll indeed repeat it.
- Cats, unlike dogs, don’t respond well to discipline. It will instead increase their stress levels and make them vary from you.
- Keep their training session up to 5-10 minutes to ensure that they aren’t distracted or lose interest.
Trick 1 – Sit
Teaching your cat the first trick, how to sit, will encourage them to learn new skills and communicate effectively. To initiate, you must be ready with the clicker and their favorite treat. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know what a simple gesture can mean to your cat; the movement of your hands can translate into a reward or a punishment. It is the reason why parents should also discourage the act of nibbling or chewing of fingers by cautiously pulling their palms away.
Firstly, you lure the cat into a sitting position by presenting her with a treat. Once the cat sits on its own, use the clicker and give them a treat. Now, you may add the word ‘sit’ and press the clicker. When the cat sits naturally into position, you may again offer them a treat. By doing this repeatedly, the cat will understand the cue and learn to sit on your signal.
Trick 2 – No
A cat shouldn’t do certain things, such as chewing house plants that could be fatal to them, scratching the household upholstery, or jumping on balcony grills. To protect them from harm, parents need to be firm and train their pets accordingly. By using the simple command ‘no,’ one can prevent any risk or undesirable behavior.
To begin, whenever you catch your cat performing a wrongful act, use your loud voice to say ‘no,’ and remove them from the spot. This way, your cat would associate the word ‘no’ with wrong behavior. The key for your cat to learn the word and to understand the command is to repeatedly act this way whenever you find them behaving in a foul manner. Although, if you happen to ignore their behavior in certain situations, it will confuse the cat further, and they wouldn’t be able to follow through.
Trick 3 – Come When Called
Commanding your cat to walk over to you isn’t just a party trick but also a prevention for risks. If a door is left open or unattended, you can always call out to your cat to ensure they haven’t left the house.
To begin, you must use a consistent command to prevent them from confusion. Use it to signal them towards you with the help of a treat. Once they step closer, you can use the clicker and reward them. Repeat the process by going to a farther distance or another room. When they walk over to you, click and treat them again.
Remember to train them for shorter periods and do it repeatedly until they walk over to you on command.
Trick 4 – Fetch
To teach your cat how to fetch, the first thing we recommend is to use a toy they like, which will pique their interest. You can rub some wet food onto the toy to heighten the cat’s hunting skills and place it a little distance away from the cat. Once they engage with the toy, only click or present a treat if they pick up and walk over to you with the toy.
This trick may take some time and patience before your cat understands the order fully, although it can be a great physical exercise for both of you! If the cat starts going to the toy willingly after throwing it, you can use the ‘fetch’ command and wait for them to return it before treating them.
Trick 5 – High Five/Shake
While the trick may look like a lot of work, it’s easier to pull off amongst others. You can start by calling out to your cat and asking them to sit. Ensure that you’re facing them at your front and that you both are at each other’s eye level. Once the cat is in position, you may take a single treat and hold it at their shoulder level. When the cat reaches out to your hand holding the treat with their paw, use the clicker to click and present them with a treat. Following this, you may introduce the command ‘high-five.’ Once the cat uses the verbal cue to touch your palm, you may praise their efforts and treat them accordingly. Continue to repeat the process and treat them only when they reach out nine out of ten times.
In conclusion, teaching different tricks to your cats is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable exercise, rather than a reason to cause them anxiety and confusion. Pet owners must understand that all cats are different – some may learn quicker than others. This, however, doesn’t mean that we stop trying. There are various advantages of teaching certain commands to your cat as it reinforces good behavior and helps you deepen your connection with each other.
Besides teaching your cats tricks and commands, it’s also necessary to guarantee their optimum health. One of the primary health concerns for most pet owners is the presence of pests that feed on their cats. Without using any cat flea treatment, the build-up of infested fleas can increase over time and cause life threatening diseases. To maintain the cat’s health and comfort, and prevent any new parasites from entering, owners must subscribe to a monthly flea and tick medicines for cats. It’s a popular preventative measure recommended by most veterinary doctors to prevent flea infestation in cats, in a safe and effective way.
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