You may have never considered training your furry feline friends, however, it turns out that just like dogs, cats are highly trainable, and positive reinforcement is the key to success. Not only will this help your cat to behave better, but it also strengthens the bond between you and your beloved pet.
Cats can recognise their owners by the sound of their voice, the car they drive, and who spoils them the most. So why not train them to come to your call, to bring their toys when they want to play, or even to use a litter box? The earlier you start training your cat, the easier it will be to instill good habits.
To start, it’s important to know that cats cannot distinguish words, but they can easily recognize the tone of your voice. Using an upset tone when they have done something wrong will let them know that they have done something undesirable. On the other hand, positive reinforcement can take many forms, including hugs, fully body petting, treats, or playtime.
When training your kitty to come to your call, make sure you repeat their name while they are looking at you. Use a nice tone of voice and look them in the eye. You can also use snapping fingers or clicking noises with your tongue to gain their attention.
Litter box training is perhaps the easiest part of having a kitty in your life. Start by keeping them confined to one room where the litter box is located. They will learn by you putting them in the box and allowing them to familiarize themselves with the smell. Most cats understand the feel of litter associating it with dirt. If your cat does not like the litter you use, it’s time to try something new. Most female adult cats will train their kittens, so it’s essential not to leave their mother’s care too quickly. Once they learn where their food bowls are, they will continue to go there. This is because cats are creatures of habit.
To train your kitty to bring you toys, use positive reinforcement every time they carry a toy mouse or stuffed toy. Eventually, they will bring the toy without the need for a treat. For example, my 3-year-old black short-haired car Binx brings me her little stuffed mouse every afternoon or evening when she wants to play. She lays it down near the end of my couch and meows until I recognise the good deed and begin to play with her.
Other Tricks To Train Your Cat To Do
- Come On Command – Use your cat’s name and a treat or toy to encourage them to come to you on command.
- High-five – Teach your cat to give you a high-five by holding a treat or toy just above their head, and gently tapping their paw until they lift it up. Once they do, reward them with the treat or toy.
- Sit down – Hold a treat or toy above your cat’s head, and slowly move it towards their tail. This will cause your cat to lower their back end to the ground, creating a sitting position. Once they sit, reward them with the treat or toy.
- Jump – Encourage your cat to jump over a low obstacle, such as a small box or cushion. Use a treat or toy to lure them over, and reward them when they make the jump.
Cats are trainable, and with positive reinforcement, they can be just as much fun, if not more so, than other pets. Especially when they give you comfort by stepping onto your lap, kneading and purring. These moments can take away a bad day at work within a few seconds. So why not train your cat and enjoy the benefits of a loving and well-behaved feline companion?