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Pet Portraits since 2013
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Cats Can't be Trained? Says Who?!
Mel Elias / Unsplash
It's popular belief that you can't train cats. Cats, the wisdom goes, are far too independent and aloof to condescend to do tricks. As anyone who has tried to give a cat a bath knows, it can certainly seem like you can't train a cat the way you can a dog.
You can't train a cat like a dog, but this doesn't mean you can't train a cat. Cats are weird, and you need to work with their psychology. Here are a few tips.
Using the Toilet
Tired of cleaning the litter box? You can teach your cat to use the toilet and even flush it afterward. (We don't recommend teaching a very clumsy cat as they may fall in.) In fact, cats learn how to use the litter box from their parents. How do you get your cat to use the toilet? You start by putting the litter box next to the toilet, then on it, then in it (use flushable litter). Eventually, you can take the litter box away, and your cat will use the toilet just as easily as you do. That's one trick dogs generally can't master.
Akemy Mory / Unsplash
Yes, cats can learn to sit. However, cats aren't motivated by praise the way dogs are. You will need treats. Some cats also respond very well to clicker training, which can be useful if you don't have any treats to offer. To teach your cat to sit, hold a treat just at its nose then move the treat in an arc so the cat will lift its head. This will naturally make the cat’s butt go down. As soon as the cat’s backside hits the floor, give it a treat. This may take a few attempts.
Walking on a Leash
"I can't keep my cat indoors, it's cruel." The answer to this is not to let your cat outside where it could get hit by a car or eaten by a coyote. It's to take your cat on walks. Cats should not be walked on a collar but rather on a proper cat harness.
Start by putting the harness and leash somewhere your cat likes to be, for example next to its food or its favorite lying-in-the-sun spot. Then drape the harness on your cat without fastening it. Next, fasten it without the leash. Leave it on for a short period, then increase the time. Then connect the leash. Give treats at each stage. Eventually, you will be able to hold the leash without your cat trying to escape (many will), and then you can explore the great outdoors together or even take your cat on a road trip!
Coming on Command
Christin Hume / Unsplash
Where did kitty go? Even worse, did kitty get out? If your cat will come when called, then you will keep it safe. To begin training, call the cat at feeding time. Your cat will associate the noise with dinner and come. Next, call your cat outside normal feeding times. Don't forget a treat when your cat comes.
One key thing to remember with cats: You should you should never punish it. Yelling at your cat may not be the most effective solution. Cats can't always tell the difference between positive attention (praise) and negative attention. Instead, ignore the behavior you don't want, such as scratching the couch, and reward the behavior you do, such as using the scratching post. Remember that your cat is primarily motivated by food, so keep its favorite treats handy.
Be careful not to let your cat train you! Cats are very good at that. For more information about cat training or to get an amazing portrait of your feline, contact Pop Your Pup today.
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