Can Cats Be Trained?
- by Rufus and Coco
Training your cat can be a little difficult because of their general nature. Unlike dogs, they are not constantly looking to please their pet owners. They are more motivated by rewards rather than cuddles or spending time with their guardians, especially since they are such independent creatures.
But even though they are seen as temperamental and sometimes aloof, even cats can be taught some tricks.
5 Essential Training Tricks Your Cat Can Learn
Train your cat to sit
This one can be very handy, especially for moments when you need to go to the vet and your cat has to remain in the same position for an extended time. The same technique that is commonly used in dogs can be employed in cats, too. Take a treat such as our Reel Fish Crunchers, hold it close to their face, and then when they try to jump or stand to grab them, tell them to sit - when they do, reward them.
Make sure you practise every day so that your cat doesn’t forget the command and learns to associate your tone and your words with the reward.
Teach your cat to come
Many cats choose to greet their owners, especially after being gone for long hours. But some remain oblivious and tend to their own devices even when they have company.
While most cats don’t naturally respond to being called by their name, some might if you call them ‘kitty kitty’ in a playful way. If your pet does come to you, make sure you reward them again with a yummy treat or give them a nice little cuddle.
The touch or gentle command
You’ve probably seen cats being curious about fingers before. And since majority of them are motivated by food, they might want to find out what your finger smells like. When they’re young, kittens can have a hard time understanding that rough play isn’t the norm and that your hand isn’t their victim.
When your cat is behaving this way, put some treat paste on one of your fingers so that they associate your hands with something delicious and soothing instead of something that they need to attack – whether for enjoyment or survival. Associate the routine with a word or sound so that your cat understands what your intentions are.
Train your cat to speak
Not all cats want to speak to their owners, and there are breeds that are known to be more vocal than others (such as the Siamese). But it can be very nice to communicate with your cat at specific moments, such as when you get back from work and you want to greet them.
Use a command and your cat’s favourite treats to get them to ‘ask you’ to reward them. Then use the same word or combination of words and the same tone every time you want your pet to speak to you.
If your cat tends to ‘speak’ all day long, rewarding them only when they respond to your voice and choosing not to reply when you’re not can be the solution.
Teach your cat to go into the box
Convincing cats to get into the carrier box by themselves can be very difficult, especially if they only associate it with negative experiences, such as being taken to the vet.
Instead of hiding your Foldable Pet Carrier in a place your cat doesn’t have access to and only taking it out for vet visits, you should bring it out more often and allow your pet to become acquainted with it. You can start getting it marked by rubbing their cheeks on it regularly.
If they get curious and you see them go into the box, make sure you reward them and repeat the words ‘in the box’ so that they understand what command the treat is associated with.
Whatever happens, never use physical punishment when trying to teach a cat to respond to commands. This species (or any other, for that matter) does not understand violence, and if you do decide to punish your cat with a few slaps, they might not even understand what they have done wrong.
Punitive actions often backfire. Some cats can develop behavioural changes that are so severe they constantly attack their owners and hide from them instead of enjoying life with them.
If you feel that your cat is exhibiting any strange behaviours and you’d like them to be more responsive to training, you can consult a pet behaviourist.