6 Cat Training Tips

Most of us—even those of us who have cats—don’t consider felines incredibly trainable.

And while they may not be as eager to please as your average dog, they can be trained, especially if you have a tasty treat or favorite food in hand.

Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to train your cat:

Find a Reward

The first part of any training activity will involve finding a desirable reward for your feline. It will most likely come in the form of food. Make sure it’s healthy, safe for cats, and highly coveted by your cat. Canned sardines (BPA-free) in water with no salt added or treats can be a good place to start. Be sure your cat is hungry before starting training.

Clicker Train

Dogs aren’t the only ones that can benefit from clicker training. It can be used in training an assortment of behaviors—from sitting to coming when called. You will need those tasty treats to associate the clicker with a positive reward.

Make It Fun

If your cat isn’t interested or wants to run off, let him. Keep training positive and relaxed, and at his own pace. If it’s not fun and rewarding, he won’t want to participate.

Teach Him to Sit

One fun behavior you can start with is sitting. Not too different from how you’d train a dog to sit, you can use a treat in your hand over your cat’s head to lure his head up and encourage him to sit. When he sits, you can click (or praise with “good” if you don’t have a clicker) and treat. As he improves, you can start adding the verbal “sit” cue to start the activity.

Timeouts for Rough Play

Cats sometimes get carried away during playtime—meaning you may end up with some nasty scratches or “love bites” on your arms. When he starts tearing into your hands and arms, gently extract yourself and stop the playtime by leaving the area. Not only will this protect your limbs, but it will teach him that rough play equals no play.

Redirect Behavior

Another way to stop unwanted behavior is by redirecting the unwanted behavior into desired behavior. If your cat wants to attack your feet, throw a favorite toy off for him to chase (and play with him frequently). If he wants to scratch your bed, sofa, and/or favorite lounge chair, have many scratch pads nearby to place him at when he’s in a scratching mood.

Cats certainly have their own special way about them, but they can be trained. Remember to be patient, gentle, and keep things fun.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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