I am the Original Holistic Pet Health Coach, and am now training passionate pet parents, and pet professionals to be Certified Holistic Pet Health Coaches so that more pets can be helped holistically.

Tips and Tricks to Train Your Cat

How Do You Train A Cat to Reinforce Good Behavior

Can You Train a Cat?
The Answer Might Surprise You alt text: two grey kittens playing with a cat toy

If you have a dog, you will know how fun it is to teach them new things, like tricks. But if you have a cat, you might not have thought about teaching them anything. You may even wonder whether it is possible to train a cat. The answer is “yes”; you can train your cat.

Dogs need a lot of training because they don’t know where to go potty or not to chew on things they shouldn’t. They like to follow what their owner tells them to do. Cats are different. They are smart and know how to use a litter box. Many cats stay inside, so they don’t need to learn to sit, stay, or walk on a leash.

This is where things need to be clarified because many pet parents misunderstand cats and dogs. We assume that dogs can be trained, but not cats. We let cats do their own thing. Dogs are good and do what they’re told, while cats do what they want. But this is only partially true. Cats are independent, but with the right motivation and training, you can teach them to do lots of things dogs can do. Let’s figure out the cat’s personality and how you can train a cat.

Cats are famous for being curious. They like to check out new things, leave their smell on them, and sometimes sleep on them. This can help you train your cat. For example, if your cat is shy, you could interestingly move a toy mouse to get their attention and then put the toy partially under a paper towel, not too close but far away.

Even though cats are famous for being independent, they can also be social creatures. They can befriend humans, other cats, and even animals like dogs, rabbits, and mice (if they’re in the right situation). Cats like to learn, play, eat, and relax with their human friends. This bond can also help when it comes to training.

Why You Should Train Your Cat

Cats are often considered independent and self-sufficient creatures that don’t require much attention or stimulation. However, contrary to this popular belief, cats need mental and physical enrichment to maintain their health and well-being. When cats are not given adequate stimulation, they may become bored and restless, leading to various issues such as destructive behavior, weight gain, depression, and other health problems. Engaging cats in activities that challenge them mentally and physically is essential to prevent these negative consequences.

One way to provide mental and physical exercise for cats is through training. Training exercises can help cats to problem-solve, which is an excellent form of mental exercise. Additionally, training can increase their movement and activity levels, providing them with the necessary physical exercise. Training your cat can also help to strengthen the bond between you and your kitty. You can have fun and build trust by engaging in training exercises together. As you work with your cat, you will learn more about their personality, body language, and how their mind works. This understanding can help you develop a closer relationship with your cat and improve other areas of their life.

Also, training your cat can be an effective way to eliminate undesirable behaviours. For instance, if your cat is scratching furniture or biting, training can help to correct these problematic behaviours. You can use cat clicker training, a positive reinforcement technique that rewards good behaviour, to train your cat effectively.

You may have experienced the frustration of getting your furry friend to obey commands or stop engaging in unwanted behaviours. However, with the right techniques and patience, you can train your cat to follow your lead and live harmoniously with you. This section will provide helpful tips for training your cat, including positive reinforcement techniques, finding the best time to train, and being patient during the training

Be Patience During Training

Training a cat can be a challenging task and requires a lot of patience. Unlike dogs, which are known to be very obedient, cats have an independent streak and like to do things on their terms. This makes teaching them simple tricks like “sit” or “stay” a little more complicated. It’s important to understand that training a cat can take a long time, and it’s not uncommon for it to take several weeks or even months for them to learn a new skill. Therefore, patience is the number one thing you need to train a cat.

Give Them Rewards or Treats?

Rewards are an essential component of cat training. They help your cat to focus and become motivated to learn new skills. To effectively train your cat, you must find ways to motivate them. A simple and effective way is to use fresh treats from your kitchen, such as small pieces of chicken, white fish, or beef. These treats are tasty and can reward your cat when she responds to your commands.

You have to offer your cat treats as soon as they obey your command. Hence, they understand that the reward is connected to their behavior. However, remember that overfeeding your cat can lead to obesity and health problems. Thus, giving them small portions is best to keep her motivated.

If you need to restrict your cat’s calorie intake or are worried about giving her too many treats, you can use good rewards like a clicker to train a cat. A clicker is a small tool that makes a clicking sound when you press it. You can train your cat to associate the clicking sound with a reward and use it as a substitute for cat training treats.

Keep it Short and Consistent.

Teaching a cat, especially a kitten, can be fun and rewarding to build a close and consistent relationship with your furry friend. However, it’s essential to be patient and understand how cats behave. One thing to remember is that cats don’t have a long attention span like people do, so it’s best to keep lessons short – around 5 to 10 minutes – to ensure consistency. If you go too long, your cat might get bored and not learn anything, leading to inconsistent training and slow progress.

It’s better to end a lesson early than to push your cat too hard and make them lose interest. Consistency is key when training a cat, and creating a consistent routine for training sessions. Cats are independent creatures, and you don’t want to harm the bond you’ve built with them. If your cat seems bored or restless, stopping the lesson and trying again later is a good idea to maintain consistency.

When teaching your cat, remember that they love short bursts of play and exercise. So, include playtime and exercise breaks during your lessons to ensure consistency in training. This will help your cat stay interested and motivated to learn, making the training sessions more consistent and enjoyable for both of you.

Remove Any Distractions

It’s important to eliminate any distractions that might get in the way. To do this, you should choose a quiet spot in your home where there aren’t many things to distract your feline friend. Sometimes, family members, other pets, or loud noises can make it harder to keep cats paying attention and learning what you’re trying to teach them. So, finding a place where your cat can focus is key.

If you have another pet, keeping them in another room during training sessions is best. This will help you and your cat concentrate on each other and the task. Although training multiple cats simultaneously is possible, starting with one cat at a time is usually easier. Remember, eliminating distractions can greatly affect your cat’s ability to learn and retain new information. Choosing the right environment can help your feline friend achieve their training goals.

Find The Right Time

Cats are very interesting animals that have their special routines that they follow every day. These routines include playing, eating, cleaning themselves, and sleeping, and they always happen in a certain order. If you want to teach your cat new things, it’sdoing it at the right time is important.

The best time to train your feline is rafter they wake up from a nap. This is when they are most alert and ready to have fun, so they will pay more attention during the training. Plus, since they just woke up, they will have lots of energy and be excited to learn. Another reason to train your cat after their nap is that they will be hungry. Cats like food, and when they are hungry, they will work harder to get treats. This means that you can use treats to reward your cat during the training, and they will enjoy it and want to keep going.

Don't Punish Them

When cats do something wrong, it’s not a good idea to punish them. They don’t like it, and it can make them feel bad and not trust you. Sometimes, they might even think it’s good because they’re getting attention from you.

Instead of punishing your cat, you should try positive ways to teach them. This means rewarding good behaviour and not paying attention to bad behaviour. If your cat does something you don’t like, you can distract them or give them something else to do. You can also figure out why they’re doing it and teach them a better way to behave. For example, if your cat scratches the couch, you can teach them to scratch a scratching post instead.

In conclusion, even though cats can’t be trained, teachng them new things is possible. Training your cat can be fun thing to fix bad habits, like scratching the furniture or biting. Using clicker training, which rewards good behavior, you can train your cat to do what you want them to. So don’t be afraid to try teaching your cat some new tricks. You can train your furry friend successfully with a lot of patience and consistency.

Dr. Ruth Roberts DVM, CVA

Dr. Ruth Roberts Holistiv Vet

Dr. Ruth Roberts is The Original Pet Health Coach, and has supported thousands of dogs and cats to overcome health hurdles like kidney disease, GI Illness, allergies and cancer. Her natural approach to healing creates a gentle yet effective path for your pet to take on their journey to wellbeing. Dr. Ruth created The Original CrockPet Diet, a balanced home cooked diet for pets, as the foundation of health. Dr. Ruth is now training passionate pet parents, and pet professionals to be Certified Holistic Pet Health Coaches so that more pets can be helped holistically.