Most people think that only dogs and particular rodents can be trained. While dogs have a different and more agreeable form of intelligence, this doesn’t automatically mean that cats are unintelligent or unable to be trained. Few people attempt to train their cats, and those who do usually give up quickly. If you would like to train your cat, here’s what you need to know.
Why Train Your Cat?
You might be wondering why you would even try to train your cat since it is so time-consuming and difficult. The benefits of spending time training your cat include the fact that you will be bonding through play from their perspective, bringing you closer together. You will also help them learn to do useful activities such as waiting patiently for their food, sitting calmly, or coming when you call their name. You most likely won’t be able to train your cat to help you carry groceries or bring your slippers, but there are plenty of other lessons they can learn.
As with many animals, teaching is easiest at a younger age. The fertile mind of youth makes it more likely that any seeds of training you sow will grow successfully, whereas older cats are more likely to be set in their ways and unwilling to learn. Wait until your kitten can eat solid food, go to the bathroom by itself, and play confidently before you attempt training. Make sure your kitten or young cat is healthy and ready to be trained by getting a checkup at Easy Vet since some cats may be less inclined to enjoy training due to undiagnosed illness.
Use Rewards, Not Punishments
Cats respond better to rewards for positive actions than punishments for negative ones. For example, give your cat a treat if it comes when you call it, but don’t use a spray bottle or other form of punishment just because they didn’t obey. Punishing a cat will more likely drive it away from you than help it learn.
Not Every Cat Enjoys the Same Rewards
Although using rewards is effective, you must get to know what your cat sees as a reward. Not all cats are motivated by food. Some prefer toys or affection. When you find out what your cat likes best, use this as a reward for completing tasks in training successfully. For example, if your cat waits patiently while you prepare their food, reward them by giving them a scratch behind the ear if they appreciate affectionate touch.
Have Plenty of Patience
Cats are far more patient than humans. Have you ever tried to feed your cat a pill, thought they had swallowed it, then found that they held it on their tongue until you left? Cats have incredibly strong willpower and will only do what they want to do. This doesn’t make them impossible to train, but it does mean that you will need to develop strong patience and determination. Having a well-trained cat is worth the wait.