Cats are notoriously stubborn pets. They are often mischievous, and they’re almost always independent thinkers, caring very little for what their owners or anyone else expects of them. That doesn’t mean your cat can’t be trained, though! It may take a lot of patience and a bit of luck, but you can train cats to give up bad behaviors. Here’s how:
1. Cats don’t respond well to punishment.
Most animals do better with a reward system than punishment, and cats are no exception. In fact, they may be less inclined to behave if they’re punished. Instead, they’ll become skittish and reclusive, or perhaps even aggressive. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement, which includes treats and other rewards.
2. Purchase a clicker.
Many pet trainers use a clicker throughout training, so you may want to do the same. These training devices make a distinct “click” noise, so you can let your pet know when they’re doing something correctly. Best of all, they are very inexpensive (usually just a couple of bucks), and they can keep your cats attention throughout training sessions.
3. Cats love treats.
Everyone knows that dogs love treats, but they are an effective training tool for cats too. You can use lunch meat, small pieces of fish, cubed meat, commercial cat treats or any other cat-safe food that does the trick. Make sure you only use the treats for training sessions so your cat understands the reward system.
4. Be patient.
When training your cat, you’ll need lots of patience. She may become easily distracted at times, so you will need to guide her back to the task at hand. Use the treats to encourage the cat to do the desired action, then reward her with the treat and a quick “click” on the clicker. Over time, she will understand the training and her behavior will improve.
Common Cat Training Tasks
If you’re wondering which tasks you should train your cat to do, here is a list of some of the easiest ones to train:
- Potty training: Many owners prefer cats to use a regular toilet. Believe it or not, this is relatively easy to teach.
- Come on command: If you have a cat who likes to wander, this can be a life saver.
- Walk on a leash: Cat leashes work differently than dog leashes, but you can train your cat to walk beside you so you can both get the daily exercise you need.
Training a cat is never easy, but it can be done. Start with the easiest tasks and work your way to the more difficult ones. You’ll form a better bond with your cat, teach her some valuable behaviors and help keep her safe and protected.
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