Cats are amazing, complex, and intelligent creatures who have natural curiosity. They get a bad rap for being too independent and subject to their own whims and desires, but that’s not the case. In fact, you can train a cat with the right instruction, consistency, and patience.
There are many great reasons why you should train your feline. The team at Union Lake Pet Services is here with some pointers on how to train a cat for excellent, long-lasting results.
How to Train a Cat
You may think there’s no way you can ever teach your cat anything, but you already have! Think about it. Your cat knows when to expect their mealtimes, the sound of a can being opened, how to use the litter box, and many other things they learned that you take for granted.
Cats learn through repetition and reward in the same manner as dogs. We just don’t formally train them to do more complex tricks. But we can. Cats, though, are motivated by different things than dogs, who rely mostly on food as a reward. The key to training a cat is to learn what motivates your cat.
Training your cat not only strengthens the bond you share with them, but it also encourages exercise and enrichment, discourages destructive behavior, and provides a greater level of safety.
Cat Training Tips
There are few basic steps to take in order to train a cat with greater success.
- Get to know what your cat likes to do. Training a cat is easier when your cat is learning something they’re innately motivated to do. This includes teaching them to come on command and sit and stay in one spot. Think about your cat’s natural reaction to motivators like attention and certain foods, and use these rewards in training your cat to do something new.
- Know what it is you want your cat to learn. Instead of random training sessions, figure out what you want them to know. For example, you want your cat to stop scratching the furniture or to learn how to sit on command.
- Know the training techniques. If you want your cat to stop doing a behavior, the training technique will require redirection. This means, instead of punishing your cat for scratching the couch, call their attention to something better, like scratching on the appropriate scratch post. Reward the positive behavior. If you want to teach something new, like getting them to sit and stay, use the command “sit”, while gently positioning them in the seated position, then reward with a small treat.
- Keep training sessions short. Cats don’t have long attention spans and get frustrated when they feel they can’t leave when they want. Keep sessions to no more than 5 minutes at a time, but be sure to stay consistent with multiple training sessions during the week.
- Involve other family members. It can be confusing to a furry friend when there are any discrepancies in what people in the household expect from them. Make sure your family is on board with the training and help reinforce what your cat is learning by being a part of it.
There are a few tried and true methods for training pets, both cats and dogs, that rely on appeasement and reward. Some cats respond to the clicker, a small plastic device, that you can click anytime they do something you want them to do. Most trainers will use both the clicker and a small treat as rewards for following the right command or meeting the expected behavior.
Really, it is about patience, consistency, repetition, and reward to achieve training success.
Questions About How to Train a Cat?
Your friends at ULPS are here to guide you through the steps of training your furry friend. There are several techniques we can instruct you on so that you know how to train a cat, or we can work with your fur friend directly. Please reach out to us for questions or to schedule an appointment. We’re sure your cat will be a star pupil in no time!