Last Updated on August 19, 2023 by Fumipets
7 Essential Cat Training Tricks
The article “Essential Cat Training Tricks” outlines key training techniques to teach tricks to domestic cats. It emphasizes the benefits of training for mental stimulation, bonding, and managing behavior.
The article covers various tricks and commands that can be taught to cats and provides guidance on effective training methods.
Cat Training Tricks
Dare we claim that, as a dog-lover who loves all animals, cats are as entertaining to train as dogs? If you combine simple instructions with treats and entertainment, your cat will look forward to learning them. Most kittens also respond well to leash training.
“Many cats love training if done properly, with patience and rewards,” asserts behaviorist Katenna Jones, ACAAB, and director of Jones Animal Behavior in Rhode Island. You receive what you put into a relationship, just like any other.
Cats are naturally taught to do simple activities, but they cannot be trained to perform the wide range of duties for which dogs are developed. Cats will naturally utilize a litter box, and issues with play biting in dogs are simple to prevent.
It sometimes really boils down to avoiding triggering the behavior in the first place when teaching a cat not to do something, like teaching them not to bite or pull on a leash. Instead of using a training collar, which may cause a frenzied oppositional response and perhaps suffocate your cat while leash training, use a harness. In order to prevent your cat from biting, focus her natural predatory urges toward a feathered toy.
Cat training has several advantages. According to Jones, training offers both cerebral and physical stimulation as well as wholesome social interaction. For anxious, timid, shy, and bored cats, just the act of training is quite beneficial.
Walk for a minute in her paws before you begin teaching your cat. According to behaviorist Stanley Coren, PhD, DSc, FRSC, cats connect to their family more like teens, in contrast to dogs who attach to their family like toddler-aged children. Dogs will comply in exchange for a few encouraging words, while cats are driven by rewards for playing. Cats are dismissive of our over the top enthusiasm and will only play training games if the incentives are good.
7 Functional Tricks You Can Train Your Cat to Do
An excellent method to establish a connection with your cat and teach them the meaning of a few basic phrases is via cat training. Ingrid Johnson, CCBC and director of Fundamentally Feline in Georgia, adds that the most essential thing is to allow your cat to make the ultimate decision on what you teach them. Not all cats like doing everything. Before attempting to teach your cat a new behavior on cue, pick out actions that your cat already exhibits spontaneously.
Keep things upbeat, she advises. “Using a clicker to mark specific behaviors your cat exhibits is a very effective method.”
In a nutshell, cat training consists of labeling normal activities and rewarding your cat when it cooperates. Seven phrases and gestures to teach your cat include:
Encourage your cats to see their hands as consistently rewarding. Apply a little homemade or commercial treat paste on your knuckles or the back of your hand to deter biting. Say “gentle” while your cat or kitten licks your hand; if she starts to nip or bite, firmly remove your hand away.
When your cat can follow the throw and catch the high-value treats, say, “Find It,” while tossing them in their direction. It really is that easy. After that, you may use Tupperware containers or even your hands to play the shell game. Say “gentle” and use a dab of cat paste to promote licking if she bites or claws at your hand. She should lick or lightly touch your hand, then you should reveal the reward.
Use a homemade or commercial target wand, or simply the tip of your finger. Present the target two inches in front of your cat’s nose to train it to be aware of it. When she touches it, a reward clicks and she is rewarded. Say the word “target” to prompt your cat to go to the target once it does so consistently.
Click and treat your cat each time she settles down on her own accord. Your cat will soon be waiting for you to bring out the goodies by sitting to signal you. Once you can anticipate her behavior, add the phrase “sit”. Then, try using a target wand or pointing signal to entice her into position. Click to acknowledge this pose. Phase out clicking each successful answer gradually, using the clicker and incentives only seldom. A more effective method of teaching is via intermittent incentives; because Kitty is never sure when she will get a reward, she is more inclined to comply.
On Your Mat & Stay
Lay a flat mat, towel, or cloth napkin on the counter, couch, or tabletop to make a cat mat. Your cat won’t necessarily die from curiosity, but she’ll suffer from it anyway! Click, she walks onto the mat. To get your cat to return for the following round, throw a treat a little bit away from the mat. Introduce the phrase “on your mat” gradually. Introduce the “stay” cue after your cat goes to her mat freely and stays there. Use the mat to entice your cat to remain in a spot, like her cat tree, while you eat or prepare food. To comfort your cat during checkups, you may also take your cat-mat on vacation or to the doctor.
Cats may pick up the come command the moment they step into your house. Pair the word “come” with pleasant events and a treat cup shake. Treats may be placed in a cup or container, shaken, and rewarded until your cat becomes used to the sound. When your cat comes, click and give her a treat. You may get her to come on command by gradually extending the interval between saying “come” and shaking the rewards. Remove the clicker gradually and give her rewards in spurts.
In the Box (or Cat Carrier)
Most cats are content to leap into boxes or investigate bags. When it’s time to get the cat carrier out, it helps to have a direction for this action. Bring out the cat carrier even before you need it, hide goodies inside of it, and even feed your cat or kitten some of her meals while it’s in there. Click to encourage the habit when your cat climbs into the carrier or a box. Whenever your cat asks you to, say “in the box.” Add moving her about in her box or carrier gradually, praising her after each trip.
Keep lessons brief and upbeat—less than five minutes works well—since they often need focused attention. Finish each game with a playful round utilizing a feather flyer or plush animal, and let your cat take the object away in celebration.
Cat Training Don’ts
Discipline doesn’t work on cats or help them learn. Techniques like swatting, spraying, or frightening your cat could make them cease a particular action when they see you, but they won’t stop the habit in general. Your simple presence will extinguish the flurry and make the cat frightened of your close proximity. Physical restraint may also result in a tooth-and-claw assault, and once learnt, violent reactions are hard to get rid of. Training your pet with positive reinforcement is crucial for this reason.
“The behaviors we see, especially the ones we don’t like, are how cats communicate,” explains Jones. Any punishment or behavior-reduction strategy only shuts off dialogue, says the author. Instead of concentrating on what you do not want, concentrate on what you do want while training.
Questions & Answers:
Why is training important for cats?
Training is essential for cats to provide mental stimulation, prevent boredom, and establish positive behaviors. It can also strengthen the bond between the cat and its owner.
What are some basic tricks that cats can learn?
Cats can be taught simple tricks like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “high five.” These tricks not only entertain but also encourage obedience and responsiveness.
How should training sessions be approached with cats?
Training sessions should be short, positive, and frequent. Use treats and praise as rewards to reinforce desired behaviors. Cats have short attention spans, so keeping sessions brief and enjoyable is key.
Can older cats be trained as well?
Yes, cats of all ages can be trained, although younger cats tend to be more receptive. Older cats might take longer to learn new tricks, but patience and consistency can still yield positive results.
Are there any tricks that might be challenging for cats to learn?
Some cats may struggle with more complex tricks like “roll over” or “fetch” due to their independent nature. It’s important to respect your cat’s limitations and focus on tricks that align with their abilities and preferences.
The article “Essential Cat Training Tricks” provides a valuable resource for cat owners interested in teaching their feline friends tricks that enhance mental engagement, promote positive behaviors, and deepen the human-animal bond.