Can Cats Be Trained?
It’s a common misconception that cats aren’t easy to train or are untrainable entirely. In films, they’re usually portrayed as lazy and sassy characters that prefer to sleep all day every day rather than play.
They aren’t as active as dogs, that’s for sure. You can’t tell them to catch a ball or fetch a stick and expect them to cheerfully and actively react to those kinds of activity. You can try, but cat training will be tough since they aren’t really receptive to training of that kind as compared to dogs.
Cats are actually trainable
Despite that, though, cats can still be trained to a certain degree. There are many effective ways you can use to teach your cat some basic skills and enhance their behavior, giving both of you a happy and loving relationship where both of you are in sync with one another.
Cats are intelligent in their own ways
According to Jacqueline Munera, who is a certified cat behavior consultant, cats are intelligent in their own environment. They prove their intelligence through their acts of survival and caring for their loved ones.
Compared to dogs, which people usually believe to be smart, the brain of cats actually consists of double the amount of neurons as dogs.
These findings show us that cats have the capability of learning, making them suitable for training. They’re able to absorb information they’re taught about just as long as the trainer finds a suitable medium of communication with them.
The essentials for cat training
The key component to successfully train your cat is being consistent and patient. Remember that they aren’t dogs and that training is always a gradual process.
Start from the bottom
You can start out with basic skills and develop from there to train your cat to inherit the good habits you want him to attain. It may be a struggle at the start, but if you don’t give up in the middle, soon enough you’ll be able to get the results you want.
One of the basic skills you can teach your cat is using the litter box and forming a way of communication between the two of you.
Basic Skill #1: Litter Box Training
Training your cat to utilize a litter box isn’t that difficult of a task. Cats are clean in general and have the natural instinct to bury their excreted waste. The steps to properly litter train your cat isn’t that hard to understand and these methods can be effective if you’re consistent.
One way of training him to use the litter box is putting the box and your cat in a confined room or area in your home. Make sure that your cat has enough water and food and then let him do his thing.
If ever your cat goes beyond the boundaries of the box and excretes his waste somewhere else, try placing that waste in the box as the unpleasant smell may make the cat aware of where his waste should be. At least one to two days of confinement are enough to condition the cat to use the litter box regularly.
If that fails to work, then double check to see if the box is clean. You can also try using other types of litter as some cats can be sensitive to the smell. There’s a wide variety to choose from so you won’t have a problem. Also make sure that the box is placed somewhere that’s secluded and quiet so your cat will feel comfortable and that his privacy isn’t invaded.
Basic Skill #2: Communicating to know what’s right and wrong
The next aspect you probably would want to tackle and focus training on is your cat’s behavior. If your cat does certain things that you don’t approve of or like, then you can condition him to stop doing those things.
You can start by understanding your cat and trying to identify the reasons behind his actions. There will always be a reason, which from the perspective of your cat is reasonable. You have the task of changing his ideas and making him understand right from wrong.
A situation that can serve as an example is when your cat scratches furniture that’s off limits. It’s a natural instinct for cats to claw. Since you can’t go against instinct, you should try teaching your cat to claw and focus this instinct on more acceptable objects and safer things by purchasing a clawing post.
Always imply positive reinforcement
The best way to permanently instill your teachings to your cat is by partnering these lessons with positive reinforcement. Never resort to punishment as this will just scare the cat and not make him learn. This would also leave damage in your relationship.
A tip for when your cat can get a bit too rough
There could also be some moments where your cat can be too aggressive and acts too roughly, which can lead to biting and scratching. This could be a big problem, especially when there are little children around. In these cases, it’s your duty to train your cat to stop this habit or at least lower it to a manageable level.
A method that is usually recommended when cats begin scratching or biting is startling them with a sudden loud noise. You should follow this up by walking away.
It is highly recommended that you do this every time your cat becomes too violent as this will scare your cat and reinforce the idea that his actions weren’t acceptable.
Cats make great pets!
Cats make great pets and can be the perfect companions to shower you with a lot of love and fluff. People often think of them as untrainable, but that claim is completely false. You can always train your cats to become even better, to strengthen your bond so both of you can live in peace with one another.
With proper conditioning, you will be able to train your cat to do most of the basic things you require. However, like everything else in life, this requires dedication and commitment.