Can you train your cat?

Published 5:00am 10 July 2022

Can you train your cat?
Words by Moreton Daily
By Kylie Mackay, Northshore Pet Resort

When we think of animal or pet training, we tend to think of dogs, but our furry feline friends can be trained too. We know cats are independent and live life by their own rules, however, they can be taught certain behaviours that will benefit both kitty and their assistant…aka the owner.

What we may not realise is that we are already training them but not in the best way! In a cat’s mind, any attention is better than no attention. The best solution for cat parents to stick to, is to ignore the behaviours you don’t like and reward the behaviours that please you.

This might be difficult at first, especially as they try harder to get your attention, but you must remain consistent. For example, if your kitty often meows for a midnight feed, ignoring them consistently will see this behaviour stop over time. Rewarding the good behaviour, such as when they come when called, will see them responding to you better over time.

Just like training a dog, keep it simple at first and start easy by training them to come to you when called and build up to more challenging and more useful behaviours such as sitting in their pet carrier or tolerating nail trims. Many families are even able to train their kitty cat to walk on a cat leash, which is a great opportunity to safely take them outside to enjoy the grass in the backyard.

Training ideas for your feline:

  • Come when their name is called
  • Learn to sit
  • Teach them to “Stay”
  • “Find it” – similar to fetch for a dog, toss their favorite treat in the air and command them to “find it”. This is a great enrichment game
  • Hop in their box (or carrier) willingly

Remember:

  • Break the behaviour or task down into small steps
  • Train in short sessions
  • Use food such as dry cat biscuits, soft treats, bits of canned food (cut down on their regular meals to prevent weight gain)

Training for any pet provides important mental and physical stimulation, as well as a positive social interaction. Training your cat will not only make some tasks easier but also build a positive and loving relationship.

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