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Positive Cat Parenting™

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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 Cat Training Tips - You can train a cat!

What is cat training?

 

Did you know that you can actually train cats using gentle off leash methods that are also used to train puppies?

 

Avoid punishing your cat for misbehaving and you should be well on your way to reaching your desired training goals.

 

You may not care if your cat will "heel" or perform a "down-stay". But wouldn't it be nice if your cat did come when called, or would "sit" at the back door instead of rushing in or out? 


Not only is this possible, you can teach your cat to do many fun and practical things. Why do you think cats suddenly appear when they hear the can opener? That is a learned behavior.

 

Cats are individuals

Your cat may act differently when you begin training. You may notice your cat acting curious and eager or suspicious of this new routine or completely ignoring you.
 
Human nature tends to concentrate on the bad and forget about the good.  Rewarding good behavior pays out in spades, giving you a royal flush of continued good behavior. 


Choose a reward or treat that is highly appealing. 

Commercial cat treats are great, but if your cat isn't impressed, try cutting up bite-size pieces of chicken or tuna.  When your cat becomes accustomed to the routine of training, try using your cat's regular cat kibble as a reward.  


Feed your cat on a schedule

It is important that your cat is hungry during training sessions. Motivation is the key! Your cat will ignore even the tastiest of treats if eating food all day or has just eaten.  


For training purposes, try feeding a small breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead of leaving out food. Then, begin your training session just before you feed your cat. Do not withhold food unless recommended by your veterinarian.
 

Remember to count the treats as part of the daily ration of food so that your cat stays hungry, healthy and lean.


Keep your sessions short

Set up your cat to succeed and then positively reinforce your cat with treats and praise.  Many short training sessions will be more successful than one long session. Five to ten minutes is
ideal.

 

Choose the training area wisely.

A busy, noisy area may make it difficult to keep your cat's attention.  Choose a quiet, familiar location.

 

End training sessions prior to your cat getting bored or frustrated.  Try to end with a positive note and best response. .


Don't introduce too many commands at once.

Continue working with one command until your cat can consistently perform it and then introduce a new command.


In future editions of Positive Pet Parenting, you will learn how to teach your cat to sit and fetch a toy. 

 

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