Problem Solving: Tips on Training Cats
Cats respond very well to positive reinforcement training.
Training stimulates their mind and body, and can correct some behavioural issues, especially those caused by boredom.
Cats learn the desired behavior, develop good manners, and have fun.
Training strengthens the bond between cat and owner.
Teaching your cat to play games, such as fetch, and playing with your cat also relieve boredom.
Cats can be trained to learn the desired response with the use of a clicker (clicker training) or by using a particular key word (such as “good”).
How to train a cat
- Keep sessions to a few minutes at a time.
- Click, or use the key word, at the right moment to indicate the desired behaviour.
- Use small pieces of BBQ chicken meat, tuna in spring water or commercial cat treats as rewards.
- Reward steps made along the way e.g. to teach a cat to use a scratching post reward them when they go near it, for playing on it, then for scratching it.
- Continue positive reinforcement and training.
- Click, or use the key word, more than once to indicate a desired behaviour. Multiple clicks, or words, will confuse a cat.
- Don’t push or move a cat into the desired position. A cat’s movements should be voluntary.
- Never punish a cat. Cats don’t respond to discipline, it can make thing worse, cause a cat to become stressed or frightened or cause other behavioural problems.
If health issues have been ruled out and behavioural problems persist, seek advice from a qualified animal behaviourist or a veterinarian specialising in cat behavioural issues.