Cats are extremely complex, interesting, and intelligent creatures. While they can often come across as uninterested and aloof, the truth is far from it, because they are constantly observing everything around them. If you feel that you can’t train your cat to listen to you because of their disposition, think again.
It’s true that the training methods for cats and dogs are pretty different, but when given the necessary time and devotion, cats can be trained well, too. You just need to be patient until they reach a stage where they can understand and obey all your commands perfectly.
Before you begin to train your cat, set your mind about what you’d like them to learn, so that you have a clear idea on the direction to take. Think of the commands you want to use and the resulting behavior you wish to see from this training. Some of the goals to keep in mind could include how to keep your cat calm and composed during trips to the vet, how to get them to stop scratching the furniture, how to incorporate litter training, how to make them come to you when you call them or make gestures, how to interact with you and others, and how to stay calm when travel is involved.
What to Remember While Training Your Cat
There could be many reasons why you wish to train your cat. Once they have been trained, it will help them in becoming more social with other human beings and other animals. Training your cat serves as a positive outcome for both you and your pet, because of course you don’t want them to be anxious while travelling somewhere or getting their nails trimmed. This will eventually improve your bond with your cat.
Here are a few pointers to remember while training your cat:
Keep the Training Sessions Brief and Simple
After you have decided what kind of lessons you wish to engage your cat in, it’s time to begin the journey. Keep the sessions brief and simple, because of the simple reason that your cat’s attention span is shorter than yours and chances are that they won’t be too riveted for long just because you’re in the mood to train. If you feel them losing interest or getting distracted, call off the lesson for the day and start again the next day.
Potty training, for instance, is instilled in most cats before you even bring them home, as they get used to watching their mother make use of the litter box. However, this does not mean that you won’t have to direct them towards the litter box during the first few days.
Make sure that you take things slow when you’re training your cat to play with you and their new toys. Cats adore their personal space and it takes them time to get used to even a new toy, during which time you need to remain patient and approachable, and once they seem comfortable with their new toys, you can go to them and indulge in some quality play time.
One Lesson at a Time
Training your pet is not too different from trying to teach your child new things, which means that you will often get overexcited and want to train them regarding different activities all at once. However, you must stay calm and keep the sessions slow and well-paced so that it doesn’t become too overwhelming for your cat. Once they seem to have grabbed the crux of one training exercise, you can then move on to the next one. For example, while litter training should be done early on, you can leave the bits about getting them socialized for a little later.
Include Other People in the Training
Perhaps you and your cat are the only two beings living under your roof, which makes it easier since you’re the only one training them. However, it’s definitely crucial to include other people in the training too, so that they get used to having people around them and can socialize with them. When you do have friends and family over, make sure they don’t get too friendly or smother them too much, because that could make your cat uncomfortable and defensive. Just ask them to keep their distance and allow the cat to approach them for socializing.
In case you have a big family, the training sessions get more diverse, because that way every family member has something different and unique to contribute, and it helps your cat in building relationships and being more consistent as they get habituated to seeing familiar faces every day. Give everyone clear jobs so that they know what methods to use while training the cat.
Allow Them to Explore Other Areas
When you’re training your cat, make sure that you use the commands in different areas of the house and allow them to explore it all. For instance, when you’re trying to get your cat to socialize with the other pets, it’s important for them to know that they are present in other areas of the house as well and not just in the living room or the backyard or so. It’s fine if the other pets you have are birds or fish, but your cat needs to be exposed to every area of the house.
Much like any student learning new things, your pets too deserve treats when they perform well during the training. There are two kinds of treats you can bestow upon them. The first one is where you are encouraging to them and speak to them in a soft, encouraging tone and tell them how good they are doing. The second one is, of course, in the form of edible treats where you feed them what they like to eat when they do well during the training sessions.