Feline-only

Can You Train Your Cat?

Jun 22 • 2 minute read

Many people think cats are aloof pets that can’t be trained, but this is a misconception. While they may not always be as easy to train as dogs, you can train your cat to perform tricks or promote desirable behaviors. Common examples include holding out a paw to shake or using their scratching post rather than tearing up your furniture. With time, dedication, and the right approach, you can work with your cat to develop positive habits and introduce fun new activities into their life. This list of cat training tips can help you spend quality time with your cat while they learn something new.

Keep Things Short and Positive

Cats respond to rewards such as treats or petting rather than punishments, which are ineffective and can harm your relationship with your cat. Use treats only for behavior rewards so your cat doesn’t become confused about how to earn them. When you’re trying to teach your cat a trick, keep your lesson short since their attention span isn’t as long as yours. A few minutes of training several times a day makes a good schedule to follow, as long as your cat is engaged throughout.

Be Consistent

If your cat exhibits unwanted behavior, be consistent and say no in a firm yet calm voice. If they perform a trick or behave like you want them to, always praise them and be ready with petting, brushing, or a treat.

Use a Clicker

Buy a clicker at a pet store, and use it to make a sound immediately when your kitty shows a desired behavior. You can also try making a clicking or kissing sound with your mouth, but a clicker’s noise is consistent every time. After you click, reward them with a treat. The clicker puts your cat in control of its environment. Your cat will learn that a click means they did something right and will get a treat, so they’ll be eager to repeat the behavior.

Start Small and Easy

Start your training with something relatively easy, like teaching your cat to sit. Wait until your cat sits down, and immediately use your clicker and then a treat. As your cat does this throughout the next several days, add a word like sit to signal the action, and continue using the clicker and doling out a reward. Finally, your cat should respond to the word sit by performing the action and earning a reward. From then on, you’ll reward sitting only when your cat receives this verbal signal.

The Rewards of Training Your Cat

Training your cat is possible if you keep your lessons short, positive, and consistent. You’ll be able to discourage unwanted behavior and encourage positive actions. Training is also a great way to spend time with and bond with your cat. Remember to stay positive, keep your voice gentle yet firm, and don’t get frustrated. Frustration will only make your cat want to stop and make them less likely to behave the way you want. With a little time, patience, and consistency, you’ll have a cat who’s healthy, happy, and has a strong relationship with their loving human companion.

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