Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s like herding cats?” It’s often used as an expression of exasperation, and well, they don’t just say it to be funny. It’s because cat’s have a reputation for doing their own thing; they have a mind of their own, and they only do what they want to do. So then, is it even possible to train a cat, or is it just wishful thinking?
Surprisingly, it’s not impossible to train a cat. But, you should think of it more as convincing than training. You see, when it comes to training a cat, the key is in the treat. You have to find the right “must-have” treat that will convince them to co-operate. If you find the right treat, they just might be more willing to obey your wishes.
So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at three vital tips to successfully train your cat:
Cat Training 101
To train a cat seems like a miracle achievement, right? Wrong! You and your feline friend can learn to communicate and overcome some basic behavioral challenges with just a little bit of practice and patience.
The trick is to motivate your cat to earn a treat. The idea is to make them think that what you’re asking is worthwhile. Whether you’re trying to teach them to come when you call their name, to stay away from the door, to get off the counter, etc., they will follow through with the action because they’ll know that there will be a delicious reward.
This, as the name gives away, is called “reward-based training” and it really works! Here’s what you’ll need to start training:
- Your cat’s favorite, must-have treat
- A clicker
- Time and patience
And, just like that, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Finding that must-have treat is absolutely key to training a cat. It needs to be something that is super special, something that your cat will do absolutely anything to get. Every cat has one. Perhaps you already have the perfect treat in mind. If not, have fun, and do a little tasting with your buddy. Some great suggestions include: cheese, ham, tuna, sausage, chicken, steak, prawns, liver or pate.
When you give these treats, you only want to give a tiny amount, about the size of a pea. It should just be enough to get a taste but not enough to chew.
A clicker is a small plastic device that makes a very simple “click” noise when you press it. The point of these is to create a correlation between the sound and a treat. So, when your cat hears the click, they’ll automatically associate it with getting their favorite treat.
Making this link is super simple. You just throw a treat on the floor, and as your cat eats it, press the clicker. Then, repeat. Soon, you’ll find that when you press the clicker, your cat will already be looking to the floor in anticipation. It’s that easy!
Training is all about time and patience. Every pet learns at their own pace. It just takes practice. Keep repeating the training regularly for short periods of time. Consistency and repetition are the key here. But, soon you will start to see results, and you and your feline friend will finally be communicating on the same page!
With these basic training tips, you can teach your cat to do just about anything (within reason, of course). From correcting bad habits to teaching them tricks, it’s all about expanding your understanding of one another for a happier, healthier life together.