We think we can control our cat’s behavior. Laughable!
We sometimes put in boatloads of research in our pursuits to train our favorite kitties and certainly come up with expert suggestions; however, ultimately, the cat trains us. Here’s a little feline feedback on humans’ attempts at training them — take it with a grain of salty attitude.
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First and foremost: Don’t forget the treats. Surprise! Food motivates us to do much of your bidding. If you’d like us to sit and shake hands (also, do we look like dogs?) and learn parlor tricks so you can impress your friends at dinner parties, you certainly could compensate us with a yummy treat or three. We know, we know … too many treats aren’t good for us, but we feel like we can come to some sort of compromise.
We know we’re fascinated with the bathroom, but that doesn’t mean we want to use a human toilet. Here’s an idea: We’ll use your toilet if you start using our litter box. Deal?
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Even though, at our core, we don’t want to be controlled by that clicky thing in your hand, it does pique our interest. You know how while in a deep sleep we hear the sound of a can of cat food opening from across the house and then hightail it to the kitchen? Clicker training works in much the same way — a sound triggers a behavior. Brilliant! Darn our instincts! Well played, humans.
If you’re going to embark on this training business, you need to be perfectly clear that everything happens in our timing. You can’t expect us to give you our full attention for a whole hour, especially when we’re dead tired and need to catch up on our precious 18 hours of daily sleep. Train in small doses and make sure we’re in the mood, which can be tricky because cats have lots of moods. Choose wisely, people.
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Cats are pretty chill, so don’t try to train us to do too much at once. We like it when you stick to one thing at a time. If you want us to learn to use the new litter box, don’t muddy the water by trying to persuade us to high-five at the same time. We probably could do it because we’re highly intelligent (obviously), but we’re not going to give you the satisfaction of thinking we’re going to do it.
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If you want us to stop scratching your fancy new sectional, we need decent alternatives. How about a cool scratching post? Actually, more than one is ideal. We like options! We’ll let you in on a secret: If you place a scratcher near our nail-sharpening furniture of choice, we’re probably more likely to use it. P.S. If you tell anyone we gave you that intel, we’ll deny it.
Did we mention that treats help? Well, it’s worth mentioning again.
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