So, you have a newly adopted shelter cat.
Good for you and congratulations!
You’ve made an excellent choice.
Now, you might want to train your cat but think it’s impossible.
You’ve heard that cats are untrainable.
Not necessarily true!
Cats purr when you hold them, pet them, and cuddle them.
Cats crouch low and skulk, slink, lurk, and sneak behind couches (inside) and hedges (outside), surprising it’s object of attack with a quick and swift pounce.
Cats are consoling and mysterious.
They can appear playful, yet superior.
After all, there is a saying out there, “Dogs have owners, cats have staff.”
However, domestic cats are far from independent.
Cats like human or animal interaction.
They do not prefer to remain alone.
And they need stimulation.
Here’s where the training comes in.
The benefits of cat training are boundless.
The act of training itself is especially valuable for cats that are frustrated, bored, shy, or fearful.
Training gives the cat mental and physical stimulation and provides positive social contact.
Cats are not like dogs in many ways, but they are trainable and are just as much fun to train as dogs.
If you have children, they might want to get involved.
Cats are easy to train because they are extremely smart.
They will instinctively use a litter box.
There’s a plus. (Just make sure they know where the litter box is located.)
They will take part in training games as long as the rewards are worth it.
Patience and rewards, better known as positive reinforcement training, are the keys to schooling a cat.
I have a shelter cat, Jasmine, who was seven years old when I adopted her.
She is now nine.
One of the first things I did after she settled in was clicker train her to “come” to me.
I live in Florida and hurricane concerns are a way of life.
If I need to evacuate, I want to be able to keep my cat safe, put her in a carrying crate, and take her with me.
Trying to catch an untrained cat in a bad situation full of distractions may present a problem.
I was successful in my training. (Yea for me!)
Now, two clicks on the clicker, and Jasmine is by my side, immediately.
Of course, I’m pretty sure it isn’t my teacher voice or my charm that gives her the incentive to come to me.
It’s probably the Temptations cat treats she knows she will get as a reward.
Training her to “come” also makes it very easy to take her to the vet’s office for medical check-ups or her monthly mani/pedi (nail trim).
I simply sit next to her cat crate, give two clicks on the clicker and the command “come.”
She comes from someplace in the house and stands right by my side waiting for her reward.
Voila! Cat fun!
I toss a couple more Temptations into the crate, gently lift her in, zipper up the opening, and we are ready to go.
The stress level for both of us is considerably low.
Cats often love training, if done well.
Basic training comes naturally to cats.
Animal studies have shown that behaviors are more likely to be repeated if the behavior has been positively reinforced.
Rewards can be in the form of treats, food, play, and cuddles.
Clicker training more clearly communicates with your cat that you like what she is doing.
Jasmine was clicker trained at the shelter to “headbutt.”
She was familiar with the clicker sound, and she learned the “come” command in two days.
I think she associated the clicker acting as a bridge between my command and a reward.
Many cats will welcome learning basic directions.
Most kittens can be trained to walk on a leash.
See leash training for more information.
Always remember the positive reinforcement by adding food and fun to the lessons.
Dogs will cooperate for a few kind words.
Not so much with cats.
Felines are motivated on a pay-to-play basis.
Clickers can be used to strengthen good behavior around the house.
When your cat does something positive that you like, immediately reward the cat.
Clickers and their association with a reward can make training less confusing to your feline.
The use of clickers is only one method of training cats.
There are many books that are chock full of good information and can help you train your cat.
One book I especially like, Cat Training in 10 Minutes by Miriam Fields-Babineau, has many photos which show what the text is describing.
This book is available on Amazon.
According to a wise cat behaviorist, “The important thing is to let your cat have the final say in what you teach them; not all cats like to do all things.”
P.S. In my opinion, teaching your cat to “come” when you call is important for potential safety purposes.
That’s serious business.
However, if you want to have a good laugh for a worthy cause, you need to look up some YouTube videos and watch The Amazing Acro-cats.
Check out acrocats youtube.
The cat members are all orphans, former strays, and rescues.
They were adopted by Rock Cats Rescue, Inc., a nonprofit organization.
The Acro-Cats tour the country to raise money for cat rescue.
The cats are clicker trained.
Rock Cats Rescue, Inc.’s Mission Statement: “Rock Cats Rescue, Inc. aims to save cats one click at a time.”
Now, have some cat fun with your feline.
Clicker train YOUR cat.
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