Training Cats

It’s commonly thought that dogs are easier to train than cats but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to help kitty show off a bit too...

If you have a cat, you know that cats are independent and do what they want to do. Because of this, people can assume that it’s impossible to train cats – but this is simply not true. Cats are highly intelligent and can be taught a variety of behaviours and tricks!

It’s important to start training your kitten as young as possible so that they can grow up and learn the boundaries of your home. It’s easier to train a kitten that is still learning than a cat that has learned bad behaviours – but training is still possible at all ages. Here are some useful tips for the training process:

  • When you train your cat, only teach one trick at a time. If you’re trying to teach multiple behaviours at once, your cat will probably get confused. Training your cat can take a long time but it’s important to make sure you aren’t overwhelming your pets.
  • Be aware that cats don’t respond well to punishment or negative reinforcement (that's the practice of taking something away if a desired action is not done). Instead you should use reward-based training. Punishments only make your cat feel stressed and can damage your bond.
  • Find your cat’s must-have treat. Every cat has one super special treat they go crazy for! When you’re using this treat for training, make sure you use tiny, pea-sized amounts - just enough to get a taste but not enough to chew.
  • Use a clicker to associate the sound with treats. When you throw a treat on the ground and your cat gobbles it down, press the clicker. When you do this enough times, your cat will now associate the clicker with reward and when you press it next, will look to the floor in anticipation.
  • Finally, it’s time to teach recall! Keep some small treats on you. When your cat happens to walk towards you, click the clicker – your cat will expect treats so will head towards you. Repeat this any time your cat is heading your way. After a few times, use the word “here” - your cat will associate hearing “here” with approaching you to get a treat. After a few times, the mere sound of “here” will be enough and you won’t need the clicker anymore. This teaching recall method can be used for teaching many other behaviours too.

Do you have experience with training your cats? Share your expertise with us and help other cat owners out!