If you expect to train your cat like you can train a dog – naaaaah, it’s going to be slightly difficult.
But you certainly can train a cat to do something. It’s a myth that cats can’t be trained.
Set Your Expectations Right
Before you even start to train your cat, you must set your expectations right. That means: low.
I’ve trained two cats from the same family, and one excelled in one thing and the other in another thing.
You can’t train all cats to do all things. That’s just how it is. So be happy for whatever progress you make.
And most importantly:
The Training MUST Be Fun for Both You and Your Cat
You can’t train a cat (or anybody for that matter) by punishing when he’s not performing as you wish.
A cat is a cat, not a robot.
Have fun while training, and when you get the feeling that your cat is tired, then stop.
What Can You Train Your Cat to Do?
Probably the most practical things of all: you can train your cat to use your toilet instead of a litter box.
This will save you so much time – and money for sand, litter boxes, shovels, etc.
You can also train your cat to come when you call. And you can train it to stand on its hind legs with his front paws in the air, or to give you a high-five, or to give paw like a dog.
How to Train Your Cat
Besides teaching my cat to come and to teach him to use the toilet, for general training I’ve had the most success with clicker training.
What Is Clicker Training?
All successful training consists of rewarding the wanted behavior.
With pets, you normally give a treat.
The thing is that for training to be effective, you must reward the instant the good behavior happens. And that’s not always possible if you have treats in your hand. So that’s where the clicker comes into the picture.
You can buy clickers, but you can use anything that makes a snapping sound. Just make sure it doesn’t scare your little fluffy friend.
I used a small thing that punched a hole in eggs. It made a significant click. You can also use a ballpen or even snap your fingers.
First you must teach your cat what the click means.
You do that by using very simple exercises, like showing your cat the end of a pencil, and when he touches the end of the pencil with his nose, you use the clicker AND give him a treat at the same time.
Repeat this many times. From memory, it had to be done at least ten times, but I followed a book that was called Clicker Training for Cats back then.
Once your cat understands that a click means a reward, you can start more advanced exercises and reward with a click and then a treat.
It’s best to do clicker training every day, but always keep an eye on your cat. Stop when he gets tired. This has to be seen as a joyful play, not as military drills.
You can train your cat to do many different things, thanks to patience, fun, and a clicker. And it will make the relationship between you and your cat closer.