Can cats be trained?
You may have read the title of this article and gone “Training a cat? That’s absurd! Cats can’t be trained!”. In which case you’ll be surprised to hear that cats can, in fact, be trained.
Granted, they can’t be trained in the same way as dogs and they will probably never learn how to sit down on command as easily as their canine cousins, but they can be taught simple tricks that will make your life a lot easier. You can work on getting your cat to enjoy car trips or for them to react when you call their name, and if you’re particularly ambitious you can even try to teach them how to use the toilet!
Cats will be cats
While pet cats feel affectionate towards their owners, they usually aren’t as eager to please. Typically, cats have a ‘me me me ‘-mentality but you can use this to your advantage to train your kitty to do some simple tricks. By praising them and rewarding them, you can teach them to do specific actions. Cats are intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement so by giving them a treat at the right time, you can encourage them to repeat their actions on command. Keep in mind that cats also lose focus quickly, so if your cat stops showing interest in the exercise, you might as well pack it in for the day and try again tomorrow.
Timing is essential
Cats are sticklers for routine, and they don’t like it when things don’t go their regular course. So if you plan to train your cat to do something, you’ll need to stick to some points. Try doing the exercises in one room, preferably where you won’t be disturbed and choose a time of day when your cat is not hungry or sleepy (we know – sounds impossible but it does happen!). Repeat the training at set times and don’t make the exercise too long, 15 minutes at most, so your cat won’t get bored or lose focus.
It ain’t easy, we know!
Training a cat isn’t easy. There’s no such thing as ‘kitten school’ for a reason – despite their intelligence, cats can be stubborn and choosy, so there’s no guarantee all your work will eventually pay off. Some cats are also more naturally inclined to try and please their owners, and these kitties will go that extra mile you may need. But some cats will just miss the point of the exercise completely and prefer doing other things. Don’t get upset about this, because after all, isn’t their selective personality one of the reasons we love them? Some cats were just born to do their own thing.