Can You Train a Cat?

Dec 04,2021

Training a cat can be a challenge but it can be very rewarding. Cats do not respond very well to disciplinary actions like swatting, spraying them with water, or startling them. Cat care professionals affirm that these actions would not discourage the unwanted behavior in most cats but instead limit it to when you are not around at home. This is why some cats continue to shred their owner's furniture even when their owners have made every effort to punish this behavior when at home. Instead of making your cat wary of your time together, try to reward the good and proper behavior as often as possible. The aspiring cat trainer at home should have a few tools at their disposal and invest plenty of the following:

1. Patience (lots of it);

2. Consistency;

3. Treats (preferably high-value meat);

You will need to buy a clicker device or you could also type “pet clicker” or “dog clicker” in your app store. There are plenty of apps that can make a “clicky” noise for you. You can also use a regular pen with a clicky top piece—the important thing is to have a distinct noise you can produce instantly. The cat needs to obey a particular command, hear a click, and then receive a reward. That way we will increase our chances of the training taking hold and your cat understanding why it is rewarded.

Keep the training sessions short each session should not be longer than 10-15 minutes. Cats value their independence and will not be fond of your invasion of their important schedule for the day. The aspiring cat trainer should be patient and consistent, don’t try to rush your cat to master a particular command or a skill. We do not recommend punishing a cat for bad behavior. Instead, use a loud voice and always say something short like “stop” – this should move the focus of your cat to you and discourage unwanted behavior. Don’t mix voice commands and use them with a firm and level tone.

When Can I Start Training My Cat?

The best starting age is when you have a small kitten at home. You could start at two or three months of age. Young kittens should be handled gently and groomed from an early age so they are socialized and accustomed to human touch. Keep a close eye on your cat’s behavior during play and when you spontaneously interact with them. Make sure the cat does not feel threatened and is not aggressive. This is usually communicated through slanted eyes, tucked ears, hissing, arching of their back, and making the hair on their back stand.

How to Train a Cat to Come on Command

Your cat can be taught to come on command with the right approach. This can be useful if your cat jumps out of your door and might be lost in the neighborhood. You need to use the cat’s name outside of feeding time, wait for the cat to come to you, click and then reward. This should be exercised for about 2-3 weeks. You should distance between yourself and the cat so you can test the cat’s response and work on improving the cat’s skill to come on command.

How to Train a Cat to Shake Hands

This particular skill will not be difficult to master but it might make the biggest impact on you during the training. Have a treat ready in your hand, approach your cat calmly and try to be at their level. Tap one of the front paws of your cat softly (most cats hate it when their human touches their paws for no reason) and say “shake” or “hello”, when the cat moves its paw, click and give it a reward. You will need to practice this for a few days until your cat can reliably respond.

How to Train a Cat to Sit

Many cat care professionals recommend that you teach your cat to sit. This will help with unwanted behavior like the cat running around when you leave food for them or them trying to enter a box you are attempting to open. Cats love new boxes after all. When your cat passes by you, go to it say in a clear and firm voice “sit” and use an open palm facing them vertically. When the cat sits down facing you, click and give them a treat.

How to Train a Cat to Walk On a Leash

Cats are very proud and individualistic animals and will not tolerate something tied to their neck with a few exceptions. We recommend that you buy a soft harness that has a hook for the leash on the back instead of the neck area. Many cat care professionals recommend that you leave the leash and harness in close proximity to your cat’s feeding area or favorite resting place so the cat can accustom to the smell and sight of it. You will then proceed to position the harness over the cat while you give treats but make sure not to fully attach it. Do not keep the harness on the cat for more than a few minutes. We just want the cat to be accustom to the feeling of the harness on its body. You will need to repeat that training session for a few days and then put on the leash to the fully attached harness. Leave the cat to wander around your home with the harness and the leash for about 15 minutes each day for a period of about a week. Once you are confident that the cat does not mind the harness, you could take your pet outside for a walk.

How to Teach a Cat to be Gentle

This can be relatively easy to teach and you will need some meat paste. You will need to spread the paste on the knuckles on your hand and present your hand to your cat. When the cat begins to lick the paste off of you talk in a soft voice and use only one word like “gently” while the cat is licking. You will have to this at least 5 minutes each day for about a week. You can test how well your cat has learned to be gentle by playing with the cat and when things become a bit rough use “gently” (or your word of choice) to bring the playtime to something manageable.

How to Train a Cat to Use a Toilet

You might have seen videos online that cats can use a toilet like us and that is a skill that can be mastered if you are ready to sacrifice a lot of time and access to your toilet. It could be a valuable skill for people who do not wish to clean litter boxes all the time. You should position your cat’s litter box next to your toilet, right on the floor. Then gradually bring it closer and closer to the top of the seat. You will have to use a stool or a multi-level cat climber (a cat tree) so the cat can reach the litter box. The next step is to wait for the cat to get accustomed to the height and then switch the regular litter box with one that fits inside your toilet. You will have to buy flushable litter and you will find litter around the toilet, but you are almost done so stay committed.

Now, begin removing litter from the box gradually so your cat becomes accustomed to not using the litter. There will be an unpleasant smell that you will have to bear for a while, but soon your cat will be accustomed and you can remove the litter box from your toilet entirely. People who are not very fond of cleaning a litter box or may love automating their home could look for self-cleaning litter boxes. We recommend that you check the Litter-Robot 3 and the Pluto Square Self-Cleaning Litter Box that has been praised online. 

Tips for Aspiring Cat Trainers at Home

Make sure to adjust the food servings of your cat during the training so the pet does not become obese. Obesity in pets is a severe health problem and will require a lot of time and dedication to overcome. Use dry and wet food to keep your cat’s diet balanced and interesting. Remember to consult your vet for the food portions and what to avoid. A visit to the vet twice a year is encouraged so you can keep track of your loved pet’s health and address potential issues. Do not skip vaccinations even if your cat lives primarily indoors, vaccination is an important tool in keeping your cat safe and prevent severe infections. It is advised to use protection against fleas, heartworm, and ticks even if your cat does not interact with other animals or the outside too much.