Cat owners may have the idea that cats are such independent creatures that they can’t be trained. Cats certainly are not pack animals like dogs that want to please a leader. With that said, it is possible to train cats, which then makes it easier to clip a claw and keep an eye on its health.
With a cat, you have to think of training as convincing it that it’s worthwhile to do what you want it to do. For reward-based training, you will need your cat’s favorite treat, some patience and a clicker.
Every cat will have some treat they will do almost anything to get. If you are not sure, you can do a taste test with a few treats such as chicken, tuna, ham or cheese to see what gets the thumbs up. When you give your cat a treat, you don’t have to give a large amount. It can be about the size of a pea.
A clicker is a device that makes a clicking sound when you press it. When you give your cat a treat, throw it down, and as the cat eats it, press the clicker. It starts to associate the treat with the sound of the clicker. Soon, your cat will start looking for the treat when you press the clicker.
All pets learn at their own pace — just like humans. Consistency and repetition are the keys to training. If you allow too much time between sessions, the cat will forget the lessons. If you make a session too long, she will get bored.
If you can get a kitten to sit before getting what she wants, it helps to remind her you are in control. Have a treat ready, and when she is standing in front of you, hold it to her nose.
Don’t hold it too high or she will stand instead of sit. Move it over her head in slow motion until she is in a sitting position. As her rear end touches the floor, use your clicker, give her a treat and say “good kitty.” Now you can add the keyword “sit,” and she’ll soon understand that when she sits, she gets her treat.
You can get your cat to come when called in the same way. Keep treats on you, and when your cat starts walking toward you, press the clicker and give her a treat. Repeat this whenever the cat heads your way, and then you can add the “here” keyword. The cat will understand that when you say “here” and she walks toward you, she will get a treat. Eventually, all you’ll have to do is say “here,” and the cat will come toward you without needing the clicker.
Remember: You should not get frustrated when training your cat and it should also be fun for her. With a treat and your clicker, you can teach cats to do just about anything, from staying off kitchen counters to learning tricks.