Training a pet can be a fun, bonding experience if it is done right.
But it is time consuming, hard work that can end up being stressful and exhausting for both pet “owner” and pet.
If you don’t take the right approach to it. Some people choose to use professional trainers. I personally think it more beneficial to the pet if the owner is the primary teacher.
It builds a bond and it builds trust between the pet and their person. But in the end, when it is all said and done, successfully training your pet can make life easier all around.
Of course, when you usually think about trained pets, the first images to come to mind are dogs, maybe even birds, like parrots or hawks.
But another furry friend we have in our homes can often be just as easily trained as any puppy or parrot. Our furry, fabulous felines!
Yes, believe it or not those sassy, independent cats of ours can be trained to do a vast number of things. They can be trained in basic tricks and commands.
They can be taught to jump through hoops or walk beams. Some have even been taught to use the bathroom and how to use regular toilets.
It is wonderous the things they can learn.
It may be a bit more difficult to get on the right track even with some of the basic commands but here are some tips and tricks to get you started and feeling more confident about the whole thing.
And, to answer some of those curious questions you may have about training your cat in general.
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Are cats easy to train?
Yes and no. This largely depends on the trick or command you are trying to teach them. Unlike dogs, cats are not as eager to pay attention or to be told what to do.
If you don’t start them young, they may be even more stubborn and hard to deal with. But cats are trainable creatures.
It is pretty simple to teach things like using the litter box or staying off the counter. Then there are more difficult tasks like walking on a leash, or teaching them to remain calm during a grooming or bath time.
Then, of course, if you want to attempt to train them on any novelty tricks or perhaps health detection and rescue command (which cats can be trained to do), it may take quite a bit more time and effort.
But it is not impossible.
Cats are, in fact, adorably aloof and mysterious. But, just like with most pets, they can be trained to do many amazing and useful things, as well as entertaining things too.
Some cat breeds are much easier to train to do some tricks, such as the Siamese cat breed which is known for being very social and playful, mischievous even.
Also read: Best cat toys for active cats.
What is the best age to start training a cat?
You want to start by socializing your cat from a young age, but at least not until they’ve been weaned.
You want them to be comfortable around you and to trust you, as well as comfortable around other people and animals too.
So it is a good idea to get them well socialized, starting at about 2 weeks old, would be the recommended age. Handle them about 10 or so minutes a day.
Get them used to any other animals or noises you may have in the home on a daily basis. Just get them comfortable with their surroundings. Eliminate any possible fear triggers.
At that point, you can start adding in verbal commands and litter training.
Start simple and be patient because they are still just kittens but be persistent as well.
Practice makes purr-fect after all!
How do you train a cat?
To train a cat, in general, you will need a lot of time and patience.
They are animals and it will take a lot of trial and error to get them to learn certain things. Some motions and tricks will be easier than others.
Litter training them is probably the easiest, especially if you already have other cats who can show them how it’s done.
Having a cat come when it is called is other fairly simple and quick trick to teach them.
Most come already when called made noises at especially if there is a loving pet or scratch on the noggin waiting for them.
But here are a few other tricks and such you might want to dive into when your feline has mastered the basics.
Also read our excellent guide on: How to litter train a kitten.
How To Train a Cat to Walk on a Leash
–Leash Training: This seems like a fairly easy thing to teach a cat but a lot of felines don’t like being restrained. With this lesson your biggest thing to
Remember to remain patient.
Don’t tug on them or drag them around because you could accidently injure them, making them hate the leash even more.
Step 1: Purchase a leash and harness for your cat. Something that fits them well and wont slip off or squeeze them to much. You can find these at most pet stores or even the local supermarket.
You can also find a good walking leash and harness here.
Step 2: Try the harness out while remaining at home first. Let your cat get use to the feeling of being in it.
Step 3: Once your cat seems fairly comfortable moving around in the harness, move on to adding the leash and actually going outside. Take your time and let the cat lead for the most part.
Let if become and start to feel comfortable on the leash and explore some on it’s own without being too demanding and do not pull it around too much, but let it feel as free as possible on the leash.
It may take some time, especially if your cat is stubborn but eventually he will warm up to it and outdoor adventures will become a safe breeze.
–Sit, Coming by name, get down: Teaching a cat basic commands like sit and get down, when they jump up somewhere they shouldn’t be, are some of the more basic lessons to start with.
Once again, you need to be patient. Start by going through the motions and adding a simple one word commands for them to remember.
Here is a step by step guidelines to help you get an idea of the process.
Step 1: Purchase some healthy feline treats as a reward for your cat and have them on hand during training sessions.
Step 2: Do your best to show the cat what he is meant to do when you give the command.
For example, push his bottom down to sitting position while saying the word sit or take him off counter and put him on the ground while giving the command ‘down’.
Go through these motions a few times, rewarding your cat after the first few times to show what he will earn for doing it correctly.
Step 3: Be consistent. After the first few free treats to give your cat the idea of what to do.
Make sure you only reward him after he has done it correctly, be repetitive, use only the one word and maybe calm hand gestures. With practice and patience your feline will have it in no time.
Cats have very short attention spans so you need to keep your lessons short and simple. Also, adding a “clicker” might help as well.
When the cat listens and responds to command you click the device then reward that cat and it becomes a positive signal for that cat to understand.
It might take time, but will result in a better behaved feline and happier pet owner.
Discouraging Bad Behavior
–Discouraging bad behavior: Some negative behaviors you may want to teach your cat NOT to do may include things like biting or clawing up furniture and walls.
It is in a cat’s nature to do certain things. They bite when they are playing or when they are upset. They claw up furniture, walls, carpet and virtually other cloth surface when they need to sharpen their claws.
Some may even chew up your things like a dog would. They are animals but they can be taught not to do these things.
A lot of these behaviors can be limited by supplying your cat with plenty of toys, cat tree, and other feline fun items.
Keeping their claws well trimmed can keep them from tearing up your home. Things like biting, however, may need a bit more patience and discipline.
Though physical discipline, like hitting your cat, is frowned upon. Assigning a sharp noise or single loud word to get your cats attention when they are misbehaving, may help.
They start scratching the couch, shout out a single word Once again positive reinforcement and the reward system will benefit you greatly.
Show them that their behavior is bad and reward them when they get it right.
Also read: how to discipline a cat right.
Quitting is Not an Option
The most important thing to remember when training your cat, or any pet for that matter, is patience and time are key.
In a way, it is like teaching a small child.
Only this child is furry and can’t speak. You show them what is wrong and reward them for getting it right. Praise them and they will catch on in time.
Keeping your cat well fed and entertained will also help with your training goals.
A happy cat is much easier to manage than a grumpy one.
Watch for signs of distress or stress in general. If you push to hard or get to aggressive it could cause your kitty to fight back.
If you feel at a loss or have an unruly cat that just won’t cooperate, there are trained professionals who can help you train your pet or even train them for you.
Veterinarians may even be able to offer some insight and advice on how to safely train your cat, as well.
No matter what the lesson is and no matter how difficult the cat, you will never succeed if you quit. A cat may be on the right track and then one day slip up and regress a bit.
But even humans can do that. You simply go over the lessons again.
Start from scratch if you must, but don’t give up on kitty just because they may be struggling.
It is also not a good idea to physically punish your kitten during their lessons and training.
Hitting or shaking a kitten, or cat of any age really, could cause your pet to become reclusive or even aggressive. Which could cause you or your family harm in the future, if the cat feels threatened and in the need to protect itself.
Maintain a loving and trusting relationship. In the end a well trained cat is usually a well behaved cat.
A well-behaved cat makes for a happy pet owner. And who doesn’t want that.
Let us know what you think in the comments below, I love hearing your thoughts!