The internet (and many cat owners) say that cats are untrainable! Numerous internet pictures give an example of dogs who are eager to please and who want to do well with tricks and training versus cats who simply want to knock things off of surfaces and consider us humans as their meal dispenser. We know that our bond with our cats means a little more than just being a meal dispenser but are cats truly trainable?
If you want to try and train your cat, many resources suggest getting a clicker and some treats to help with the process. Remember to never use discipline or negative reactions during training. Cats, like most of us, learn by positive reinforcement (and food!) instead of harsh words. Here are some cool tricks to try and train your cat to do! If you’re successful, we’d love to see your adorable furbaby doing some of these cute tricks.
The first trick: ‘shake hands.’ When you have a treat and your clicker ready, find your furbaby and adjust so that you are both at the same level. When you tap your kitty’s paw, be sure to say ‘shake’ and utilize the clicker (if you choose to train with a clicker) and repeat until your kitty moves its paw. Keep at this repetition of tapping kitty’s paw and saying ‘shake’ until your cat slowly translates moving his paw to your desired ‘shake’ command– whether that is tapping your hand with his paw or putting his paw in your hand. This is a complicated trick and may take some time and a lot of repetition before your furbaby picks it up. Always reward with a treat to encourage positive reinforcement!
Our next trick: ‘come’ or ‘come on command to their name.’ Cat are super smart and can learn to run your way in a response to a verbal cue, such as their name. Start teaching this trick by making a distinct noise (their name or clicker sound) before feeding. Be sure to make the training sound before opening the food bag! Eventually, and with repeated cues, your sweet kitty will learn to associate the training noise (their name) with something positive such as food or a delicious treat! Eventually, you can get your kitty to respond to their name outside of normal dinner times! And maybe, after time and practice, you can get your cat to respond from long distances without the temptation of a treat.
For our third and final trick: ‘leash’ or ‘walking on a harness.’ For this trick it is incredibly important that you get a harness where a leash can attach to the cat’s back and never attach to your kitty’s neck! Once you have the perfect harness that fits comfortably and will not harm your kitty, you can begin training. First, you need to get your cat used to the idea of a leash and harness. Place the items in your cat’s favorite places and leave them for a few days until your cat becomes used to the smell and sight of them. Once your cat is familiar with the harness, you can start touching the cat with it– drape it over the kitty without attaching the leash and then giving your kitty a treat. Eventually, you’ll be able to transition into actually securing the harness and leaving it on for a few minutes at a time. When your cat becomes accustomed to wearing the harness around the house and walking around with it on, it’s time to adventure out into the world! Be sure to choose a nice, quiet location for your kitty’s first adventure. Any loud noises or other animals could frighten your cat and set training back several weeks.
Training is a great way to bond with your cat so good luck and have fun training your kool kitty!