How To Prepare Your Cat In 5 Simple Steps (Written by an Animal Behaviorist)

How to train your cat feature

Increasingly cat lovers are seeing that not solely is cat coaching straightforward, it’s additionally a enjoyable exercise for all members of the family. For indoor cats that don’t get sufficient enrichment, time spent coaching will grow to be a spotlight of their day and hold them from damaging behaviors as a result of boredom.

Coaching your cat will educate them enjoyable tips and sensible expertise whereas assembly their every day wants for optimistic human-cat social interplay.

#1 Get A Clicker

Cat coaching depends on optimistic reinforcement ideas; we give the cat a deal with for a job properly performed, and so they be taught to supply behaviors in change for rewards. A clicker is a great tool to offer clear coaching directions.

The clicker is a small handheld machine that makes a clicking sound when pressed. We educate the cat that one click on equals one deal with, and the press sound turns into a marker that tells your cat they did one thing proper and a deal with is coming.

Consider a clicker like taking a snapshot of the motion you wish to reward. For instance, when instructing a cat to excessive 5, you’ll click on on the break up second they elevate their paw, so that they know they obtained rewarded for that particular motion.

As soon as the cat learns that lifting their paw is the specified habits, they’ll repeat the paw carry to maintain this sport going. So long as you keep in mind that habits that will get rewarded will get repeated, you might be properly in your option to turning into a grasp at coaching your cat.

#2 Discover Meals Rewards That Your Cat Loves

For clicker coaching to work, we have to discover a reward that your cat values. For cat homeowners, this may be essentially the most difficult step within the course of as a result of many cats eat from a bowl of cat meals neglected all day, which decreases the worth of the meals – there’s a purpose individuals receives a commission AFTER they do the work, not earlier than!

You may reinforce your cat’s good habits with their meals offered that it’s not neglected all day for them to free-feed. Introduce small, scheduled meals to construct your cat’s meals motivation.

Earlier than your cat’s mealtime, use a portion of their meals for coaching. When you feed your cat moist or uncooked meals, the reward could be a few licks of their meals off a spoon. When you give your cat kibble, you should use a handful of the items as rewards.

After coaching, put the remainder of their meal down like a jackpot for all their arduous work. The extra rewards you will have in your cat, the better coaching might be. Many cats will even work for wholesome cat treats, comparable to little items of freeze-dried hen.

Working for meals is a wonderful method in your cat to expend power and enrich their life.

#3 Seize A Habits – Educate Your Cat To Sit

Cat targeting finger trick

Use treats to coach your cat to focus on your finger.

After getting a reward that your cat likes, decide a talent you wish to work on and see how one can create a scenario to encourage your cat to supply that habits so you possibly can “seize” it with the clicker. Educating sit is a straightforward trick to coach as a result of most cats will sit all through the day, supplying you with a wonderful alternative to follow utilizing the clicker.

Seize your clicker and wait till your cat sits. Click on as quickly as their bum hits the bottom and toss them a deal with. Your cat will shortly catch on that the press sound predicts a deal with. As a result of habits that will get rewarded will get repeated, you must see your cat have a look at you and supply the sit to earn rewards.

#4 Add A Sign

When your cat is doing a sit reliably, you possibly can put the habits “on cue.” A cue could be a hand sign or a verbal sign to point to your cat that you’re keen to “pay” for the habits. For sit, you may select so as to add the verbal cue, “Sit.”

To show the verbal cue, say the phrase simply as you see your cat transfer into the place. Follow pairing the verbal sign with the habits over a number of repetitions till you see your cat begin to reply to the phrase once you say it.

The ultimate step is to solely reward your cat for sitting once you say, “Sit.”

#5 Have Enjoyable Coaching!

how to train your cat to walk on a leash

When you’ve gathered your gear, the following step is coaching your cat to stroll on a leash.

Utilizing the capturing methodology, you possibly can educate a lot of cute tips and behaviors. Does your cat prefer to roll over or go up on their again paws? Seize your clicker and see what you possibly can seize. To maintain your cat’s consideration, coaching classes needs to be enjoyable, straightforward and quick, like 3 to five minutes.

Cease That! How To Enhance Your Cat’s Habits

Calico cat reaching up to a human's hand

Along with utilizing coaching to show your cat to carry out enjoyable tips, you possibly can prepare your cat to cease downside behaviors.

What about utilizing coaching to STOP your cat from doing one thing, for instance, leaping on the kitchen counter?

Most individuals give attention to instructing their cat to reply to a verbal command like “No,” however this isn’t one of the best method as a result of it doesn’t educate your cat what you need them to do as a substitute. Think about arriving at a cocktail party the place there’s a giant desk with place settings for ten individuals, you decide a spot and sit down, and the host says, “don’t sit there.” You stand up and transfer to a different seat, and once more the host asks you to maneuver.

Now you might be beginning to marvel, the place CAN you sit. Think about how your cat feels once you say “NO!” Your cat has no clue what you need them to do.

From their perspective, they’re both hungry or searching for your consideration, and once you inform them NO, it doesn’t resolve the underlying purpose why they’re doing the habits within the first place. It’s rather a lot simpler for people and cats when directions are clear: “Have a seat on this spot, and I’ll deliver you a snack.”

Educate your cat the place you need them to go, after which reward them rather a lot! Bear in mind to make the brand new spot simply as interesting as their beforehand cherished spot.

Again to our feast instance – if the host places you off to the aspect on the child’s desk once you wish to hang around with the adults, you received’t be blissful. Likewise, when you attempt to create a brand new “parking spot” in your cat on the ground and so they wish to have a transparent view of the whole lot you might be doing within the kitchen, this isn’t going to work as a result of it doesn’t fulfill your cat’s wants.

Assist Your Cat Overcome Fears

Grey cat high-fives a human hand

Coaching also can assist your cat to embrace actions that they might in any other case be afraid of, like going into their service or having their nails clipped.

What in case you have hassle brushing your cat or clipping their nails?

We have now to change gears and use a special coaching methodology, referred to as desensitization and counter-conditioning. The desensitization half is the place we current the item or expertise your cat doesn’t like at a degree that they will tolerate.

Let’s say you might be petrified of getting in an elevator since you really feel claustrophobic in a small area. In that case, I would like that will help you really feel comfy in a small enclosed space first earlier than we are able to get you comfy in a shifting elevator.

We’d spend the primary session the place all you do is go out and in of a stationary elevator. At this stage, you may solely be capable to enter the elevator for one second earlier than it’s too scary.

Over a number of classes of stepping out and in of a stationary elevator, we are able to work as much as ten seconds after which finally a minute. The purpose of desensitization is to introduce the scary factor in a method that it’s doable.

The counter-conditioning a part of the method helps you reply positively to being within the elevator. I might do this by making one thing good occur once you go into the elevator. Let’s say you like chocolate, and I provide you with a bit of chocolate each time you step into the elevator.

Two issues are taking place on this coaching: you might be studying that the elevator isn’t scary and that once you go within the elevator, you get chocolate, one thing you like. So long as we don’t rush the coaching, you possibly can be taught that the elevator is secure and pleasant (due to chocolate!).

In case your cat HATES once you contact their paws, you will want to the touch them at a spot they will tolerate (perhaps the highest of their leg or their chest) after which current them with a scrumptious deal with. Glide your hand from the physique half the place your cat is comfy with the contact to the world that they will tolerate (they discover you touching the brand new zone and are involved however not fearful, i.e., strolling away) and current the meals they love.

Think about the elevator instance and the way straightforward I made the desensitization course of. If I had you go in a shifting elevator proper from the beginning, I’d have anticipated an excessive amount of. To enhance your cat’s response to nail trims and dealing with, it helps to have a complete coaching plan written out by a feline behaviorist.

Assist Your Cat Put Their Finest Paw Ahead

Mix each of those coaching strategies (clicker coaching and desensitization/counter-conditioning) to realize all of your coaching targets.

Clicker coaching teaches your cat they’re in charge of their surroundings. It’s your cat’s option to take part within the exercise and supply the actions. For instance, in case you are instructing your cat to remain in a service, with clicker coaching, your cat is in charge of how lengthy they keep in there – it’s their option to go in and keep in to earn rewards.

One of these coaching creates a cheerful and assured cat. Desensitization and counter-conditioning assist your cat at an emotional degree to beat fears. If you wish to speed up progress, it pays to mix each of those strategies.

For instance, for nail trim coaching, you possibly can present your cat that touching their paws isn’t scary AND educate them that supplying you with low-fives and paw shakes equals treats and a spotlight.

Whether or not you wish to educate your feline pal expertise and tips, assist them go within the litter field, redirect their sofa scratching to a scratching publish, bettering your cat’s habits is 100% potential, and each older cats and kittens can be taught. Deal with enjoyable coaching and optimistic strategies to set your cat up for a profitable studying expertise.

Additionally Learn: The 10 Best Cat Slow Feeders & Puzzle Feeders

Often Requested Questions:

Are cats straightforward to coach?

Sure, so long as you employ optimistic reinforcement coaching, cats are trainable. To coach a cat, you want to have a reward that they worth – utilizing meals as a paycheck is the best option to educate your cat a lot of tips and expertise.

How do you prepare your cat?

Clicker coaching is a wonderful cat coaching methodology for instructing your cat an in depth repertoire of behaviors.

Are you able to educate a cat instructions?

Cats can be taught a lot of tips and helpful behaviors. Consider cat coaching like instructing your cat alerts that each of you perceive. Instructions suggest that your cat would not have a selection, whereas cues (alerts) imply it is your cat’s choice to take part.

How do you prepare a brand new cat?

Meals puzzles are a wonderful option to introduce a brand new cat to work for his or her meals and put together them for coaching. Cover your cat’s meals or treats in a puzzle toy and see if they’ll resolve the puzzle, i.e., get the meals out. In case your new cat is comfy consuming round you and interacting with the puzzle, you may be able to introduce them to clicker coaching. Choose a straightforward habits to begin, like instructing them to sit down.

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