How to Train a Cat?

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Cats are quite independent creatures. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine have discovered that even though cats have been kept as pets for at least 9,000 years, house cats are only semi-domesticated.

Which might make many people think training them seems unthinkable. But with the right approach, you can easily train your furry feline companion to be well-behaved and happy. Your cat will even enjoy the experience!

cat train

It’s even easier than training a dog, but why should you train your cat? The benefits are discussed in detail below rewards. As behaviourist Katenna Jones, ACAAB, and director of Jones Animal Behavior in Rhode Island, explains, “Cats love learning basic commands, and most kittens take well to leash training.” This expert advice underscores the effectiveness of training methods for cats.

 Remember, you get what you put into a relationship, just like anything else!

Whether you’re a first-time cat owner or a seasoned pet parent looking to refine your skills, this blog will walk you through everything you need to know about cat training. Let’s dive in and make your training journey enjoyable and successful for you and your cats.

Why Should You Train a Cat?

Training your cats offers many benefits that can significantly enhance your life and your feline companion’s well-being. Cat training is a safety measure, as they start learning commands, they can prevent dangerous situations. The benefits of cat training are extensive. It helps to maintain both physical and mental stimulation, keeping them happy and healthy, as well as positive social contact. 

training a cat

According to research by the National Library of Medicine, proper training enhances the human-animal bond to be more flexible, fostering trust and communication between cats and their caregivers. As you work with your furry companion, you’ll better understand their personality, body language, and thinking. It will help maintain a closer relationship and be helpful in other areas of your cat’s life. According to veterinary behaviourist Dr. Wailani Sung, training a cat is essential. ‘Giving them proper training, doing clicker training, and teaching them basic things like a simple touch and saying go to your mat is important. If cat owners start doing that, they will develop a stronger bond with their cats.

Before You Start Training Your Cats

When training your cats, you don’t need lots of fancy equipment; here are some essential tools you’ll need.

Clicker: A small handheld device that makes a distinct clicking sound marks the exact moment of your cat while training. You can find clickers at pet stores or use a clicking pen as an alternative.

Treat: Treats are essential for positive reinforcement training. You’ll need a treat for your cat to work. Cats work for a paycheck!  Choose small and tasty treats your cat likes: dry kibble, dried treats, or wet food. These treats will reward your cat’s good behaviour during training sessions. 

Target Stick: A target stick can teach your cat to perform specific behaviour, such as touching an object or chasing a target. You can use a commercially available target stick designed for pet training or make your own using a stick or chopstick.

Training Space: Find a distraction-free area to conduct your training peacefully. This could also be your backyard or home, where your cats feel comfortable and relaxed.

7 Easy Cats Training Tips at Home

You’ve obtained the appropriate supplies and tools and determined your training path. It’s time to start!

easy cats training tips at home

 1. Come when called

When training your cats, it is crucial to start with a simple command. Teaching your cats to come when called is one powerful trick. This process helps you keep your felines safe and makes it easier to find them when necessary.

Steps to train:

  • Choose the best command: Use words like “come” or “here, kitty.”
  • Using positive reinforcement: offering them a toy and plenty of treats when they respond accurately.
  • Consistency: Make short practice sessions regularly, always rewarding your feline for the response.

2. Sit on command

 Training your feline to sit on command is the best way to manage their behavior, especially during mealtime or when guests arrive. The sit command is very useful for calming your cat in various situations.

Step to train:

  • Lure them with a treat: Hold a treat near your feline nose and start moving it upwards and back towards their tail.
  • Wait for them to sit down: Their bottom will naturally start lower as they follow the treat.
  • Reward and repeat: once they sit, say “sit” and give them plenty of treats.

3. Gentle

Encourage your kitties to regard hands as consistently rewarding. To prevent biting, apply some homemade or store-bought treat paste on your knuckles or the back of your hand. Say “gentle” when your cat or kitten licks your hand, and calmly pull your hand away if she starts to nip or bite.

4. Keep the training session short

Keeping your furry companion’s attention during initial training sessions can be quite challenging. To maintain their focus and prevent frustrations, keep the training sessions brief. Shorter sessions will keep your cat focused. So start with 3-5 minutes of sessions once or twice daily. Short, frequent, and consistent sessions will be more effective than longer ones. By passing time, as your cat starts to progress, you can gradually increase the length of the training sessions. If possible, aim to end each session on a positive note before your cat loses interest.

5.  Don’t punish bad behavior

Cats generally do not respond well to negative reinforcement. Punishing your cat can cause anxiety and nervousness and harm the trust you’re trying to create. Some cats will even see punishment as a reward; bad attention is attention!

Clicker training aims to reinforce positive behavior and consistently reward desired actions. Instead of punishing your cat for negative behavior, attempt to redirect or distract him. Discover why your cat is engaging in that behavior and try to prevent it or teach it an alternative. For example, if your cat is scratching the couch, you should train it to scratch something more acceptable.

6. Maintain consistency in your cues

Consistency is essential for effective cat training. Using the same voice commands, gestures, and rewards all the time helps your cats understand and remember what you want them to do. Following this consistency will make the training process much smoother and successful. Also, be sure that anyone who trains with your cat knows the correct commands and signals.

7. Train at the right time

Choosing the right time for a training session is important to ensure your cat is attentive and responsive.  Cats are usually active in dawn and dusk periods, making these optimal times for training. Train them in a quiet, calm environment, preferably within a secure cat outdoor enclosure,  where they are less likely to be distracted by noise, other pets, or people. Right before meal times are also ideal because your cat will be more ready to work for treat rewards if hungry. If your cat is active before bedtime, you can also have a training session with them to help tire them down.

8. Involve Others

Involving other home members in your cat’s training is also beneficial. This is especially critical if you’re attempting to train any unwanted behaviors. All household members should understand the training approach and aim so that they can handle negative behavior appropriately and consistently when it occurs. Involving others in your cat’s training also helps to improve its sociability abilities.

Final Thought 

Remember, training your feline is a gradual process, and it might take a long time for the desired behaviour to be learned. It’s essential to be patient and calm constantly, and you might be amazed at how many “new tricks” your cat can learn!

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