Can You Really Train A Cat? Is It Worth The Trouble?
by Niall Kennedy
Cats are notoriously independent and have a mind of their own. Can you really teach a cat new tricks?
Cat owners often think that their cat is just too moody to listen. Some owners feel their cats are un-trainable simply because they are arrogant. The fact is many times pets don’t obey because they don’t understand what you want from them. So, if you have tried to train your cat, you may not be doing it right.
Training your cat takes time and patience. It takes more of that then it does with a dog. A sure fire way to get results is to use positive reinforcement. Whatever you do, don’t scold your cat because she is likely to just misbehave when you aren’t looking. Instead, praise good behavior.
Any cat can learn. It is wise to first start when the pet is young, about eight to ten weeks old. But, the pet will do well at any age.
To Get Started
How do you get started? The first thing to start with is training your cat to come when called. Hold your cat’s favorite treat and call his name. You’ll want to make sure he’s in a good mood. You’ll also want to make sure there isn’t a lot of noise either. Distractions will slow down the cat or confuse him. Decide on one command and use it solely. The command should be short and easy to say. For example, come kitty works well or here kitty will work too.
Now, get down on her level by sitting or kneeling on the floor. Give the command. Make sure your voice is exciting and happy. When the cat comes to you, reward him with the treat. Also, insure that you praise the cat as well. Then, move away and do the same thing again. The goal is to use the same tone of voice and the same command. Work on it for no more than ten minutes. If the cat is bored or frustrated, stop for the time. Try to do this two or three times a day for about a week. Once he gets this command, you can move on to others.
Some things that your cat needs to learn for his own well being are necessary to teach any and all cats. For example, he needs to learn to tolerate a harness and a leash in case you need to travel with him. Also, the cat should learn to use a crate.
Using a Leash and Harness
To do this, you’ll want to start by putting the harness on him. Do not restrain him once it is in place. Praise him for it. Give him a treat for behaving so well. Once he is used to wearing it, attach the leash to it and let him lead you throughout the area. Coax him into following you with treats and praise. Some cats will learn to heel on the leash. But, most will not. All should learn to not panic or to struggle, though when wearing a leash.
When it comes to the crate, it can be done a little simpler. Cats like warm dark places so put a comfortable blanket and maybe even a favorite toy of the cat’s inside the crate. Give him praise when you place him in it. Then, leave him there for a few minutes. Let him out within three to five minutes. Don’t praise him when he’s coming out of the crate because you do not want him to think this is the good thing. Make sure to reward him, though whenever he goes in. Leave the cat in the crate a little longer each time. Eventually your cat will be trained well enough to keep him in there.
I hope these simple tips will show you how useful it can be to give your cat a little discipline.
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