Most often when we talk about “training” we immediately think of the dog and never of the cat. In fact, we often “settle” for having a “polite cat” at home and not a “trained cat”. But what is the difference between education and training and, above all, it is possible to train a domestic cat? And if so, how to do it? We read together.
Education VS Training
By “education” we mean the process by which we teach which behaviors are most suitable for living correctly in a social group. So when we talk about an educated cat we are referring to a cat that, for example, does not jump on the table when it is being eaten, that does not destroy objects in the house, that does not need outside the litter box or, when there are guests, who do not disturb and, above all, who do not attack them by scratching them.
Instead, by “training” one intends to “make right” or capable, able to do something and can be understood as learning a discipline that is useful or sports. The dogs in this are very appreciated: in fact, there are dogs trained in defense, rescue and research, control of flocks as well as engaged in numerous disciplines such as agility, dog trekking, disc dogs and more. Consequently, there are many basic and advanced level training courses with the use of various techniques with or without the use of coercion.
As for the domestic cat, there are no professional figures capable of training the cat, nor a training course for cats, mainly because this little cat is not “used” on a work or sport level, but coexists mainly with ‘human being for the sole purpose of keeping him company, despite his original history which saw him “exploited” for his instinctive ability to hunt small rodents that ruined crops and caused diseases.
But this was naturally done by the cat without any training required!
Train a cat
Training must be considered an evolution of education, as there can never be a trained animal that is not educated but its opposite, that is to be an untrained but educated animal. This is because the training is inextricably linked to a positive interaction with the human being and, if there is no correct animal-human relationship, there can be no valid training.
Cat training techniques
As for the dog, the use of appetizing food that serves as a positive reinforcement is a valid help to “convince” the domestic cat to do something for us. I don’t recommend punishment regardless of why our pets have to love and respect us and certainly not fear.
With positive reinforcement (which can also be understood as cuddling / caress) you can train the cat with a simple voice command, for example, to sit or to paw. Obviously, it is easier to train cats that are particularly lively and complicit with their owner, so with a fairly extroverted personality, but it is also possible to do it with the most timid cats as an incentive to become more expansive.
Below are explained three commands (Sitting – Give the paw – Search), but there are many others like “Rotola”, “Salta” and more.
Cat Training: “Seated” Command
By attracting the attention of our cat, we must hold the prize in food in the hand, stand in front of it, and give the voice command “Sitting”. If he tries to grab the treat with his paw or jump, we have to say “No”. As soon as the cat sits down, we must immediately reward it. This exercise should be done regularly several times a day for several days until the word “Sitting” will sit alone.
You can interested in:
Cat training: Command “Give the paw”
After giving the seated command, while we extend the arm with the palm of the raised hand, we give the voice command “Give the paw”. As soon as he puts his paw on our palm, let’s reward him with food. In the event that he doesn’t understand what we want from him, we can take a hand in him while we give the command. In this way he will associate the position of his paw to our command. This exercise should be done regularly several times a day for several days.
Cat training: “Search” commandAlways with the use of food, we can create a kind of “treasure hunt” by making a path with the premium morsels visible to the cat or hidden, while we say “Search”. The cat, when it finds the morsel, will be immediately rewarded and stimulated to look for the other.
Obviously the food can also be placed at various heights from the ground, making the cat take a real air path. If he cannot find the prize, we can help him by indicating with a stick the point to look for as a clue. This is a fun game that involves cat and owner in a really active way.
Leash cat training
In recent times it has increased exponentially to let your cat leave home on a leash. Many owners prefer it because they think that the domestic cat “suffers” to stay at home all day without being able to go out, above all, if the house in which he lives is not very big and there is no garden or terrace available.
Now, in all pet shops, bibs and collars with a cat leash are on sale. It is necessary, for obvious reasons, to start practicing putting on the harness or the collar and start walking with the leash in the house. With positive reinforcement in food, correct gait can be rewarded. You can then start to make the stairs of the condominium and, as you gain confidence, make longer journeys even outside.
I recommend: avoid bringing particularly scary or shy cats out of the leash because they can get scared and lose control by running away and / or getting hurt. Common sense first!
You would attend any cat training courses or you would prefer outdoor sports to do with your cat. What do you think about it? Write it below in the comments.