Cats and dogs are not alike. That is one fact that all pet lovers can agree on, especially when it comes to training. Training a cat is a lot more difficult than training a puppy—it takes a lot of patience and a lot of treats. Not all cats will respond to training, but if you want to try teaching your cat a few tricks, here’s how to go about it.
How Do I Train a Cat?
Even if your cat likes to ignore you, or has an “I-do-as-I-please” attitude, there is one thing that can usually get their attention: food.
Positive reinforcement is the best way to train almost any pet, and treats are one of the best motivators. Positive reinforcement is when you use something positive or kind (like petting, treats, or praise) to encourage a desired behavior. When it comes to training cats, they usually respond best to a snack.
Tips for Training a Cat
- Choose a reward. What your cat will respond to depends entirely on them. Some cats are easy, and you can pay them in bits of their own kibble. Others are not, and will only accept payments in the form of their favorite cat treats.
- Go slow. Start with one tick and slowly build your arsenal over time.
- Consistency is key. Spending five minutes practicing every day will have a better effect than practicing for 30 minutes once a week.
What Should I Teach My Cat?
Learning tricks is a form of interactive play, and provides some of the mental stimulation cats crave. Play also keeps cats active, helping keep their weight under control. Plus, some trained behaviors can be useful for keeping your pet safe and healthy. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Three Helpful Tricks to Teach Your Cat
- Loud Noise Training—Anytime a loud noise happens, shower your cat with treats. Why? If there’s ever an emergency like a fire, your cat will be more likely to seek you or another human, rather than hide, giving them a better chance of survival.
- Freeze—Teaching your cat a freeze command can help if they ever bolt for the door or try to approach the kitchen after you’ve just broken some glass.
- Recall Training—Teaching your cat to come on command might seem daunting, but it is worth it when that cat carrier comes out and your cat makes a break for their safe spot under the bed.
Three Silly Tricks to Teach Your Cat
- Shake—This fun trick is great to trot out when you have guests. But it can also be helpful when your cat needs a nail trim.
- Roll Over—This cute trick is adorable, and it gives you access to their belly if you need it.
- Dance—This one is just so cute! If your cat wants to be an Instagram star, put some music on and teach them how to dance.
Veterinarians That Listen
Even if your cat doesn’t listen to you, your veterinarian should. Proper veterinary care for your pet is important in ensuring that they stay happy and healthy. No matter how young or healthy your cat is, a yearly checkup can help prevent illnesses through vaccinations, or detect potential health problems before they get worse. Checkups are also a great time to ask questions about your pet’s health and learn more about their care.
At East Valley Animal Hospital, we understand the importance of listening to your concerns. After all, you see your pet every day and understand their moods and actions. If you ever feel like something is off with your cat, we will listen. Contact us today to make an appointment.