If you’ve ever been to the circus, you probably marveled at the lion tamers and how they get those huge, exotic felines to perform tricks.
Well, if they can train those wild animals, how difficult would it be to teach your kitty?
Unlike dogs, cats don’t need continued, extensive interaction with their owners. This difference between dogs and cats highlights the main philosophy of cat-training.
We must first show and teach the cat what we consider appropriate behavior before punishing it for breaking rules. The key to any successful training is to focus on the positive and the basic training sequence consisting of the three R’s: request, response and reward.
To get a kitty to behave appropriately, it may need to be lured. For example, many cats run to the kitchen when they hear the refrigerator open or the food bowl picked up. This is the perfect time to train your cat to respond to your request.
Say “Dinnertime” before you open the refrigerator. Continue with the kitty’s feeding routine and, before long, whenever you say “Dinnertime” your cat will come running for the expected reward of being fed.
Having your cat respond when called is important, especially if he roams outdoors. It is essential for capturing a runaway cat, especially an indoor one that escaped from the house or enroute to the vet.
Training a cat to come when called is simple – just substitute “Kitty, come here” for “Dinnertime.” Just show the cat a treat, step back and say “Come Here.” When he comes running, use the food as a reward.
Repeat this exercise until the association is made. One of the quickest ways to a cat’s brain is through its stomach.
The same food treat may be used to train the cat to sit, stand, lie down or roll over. Just remember to give the appropriate command before moving the food lure. The cat will learn the exercise by anticipating the meaning of the command, then will reliably perform on cue.
As with any pet, give lots of positive reinforcement, praise and love, and you will get back far more.