Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
The old adage that dogs have owners and cats have staff is certainly true. Cats are wonderful, loveable animals, but they are so different compared to dogs. Dogs will greet you at the door at the end of a long day, excited with tail wags and unsolicited kisses. When a cat owner arrives home, some are greeted at the door by a delighted cat, while others will find their feline firmly planted on the couch, staring at you with that "why did you wake me up" look on their furry little faces.
You hear about dog training everywhere, but what about cat training? Can you train a cat? Believe it or not, even though cats are so independent and at times aloof, you can actually train them to do certain behaviors. In this blog, we will look at cat training, what you can teach your cat to do and how to do it.
Things You Can Teach Your Cat To Do
If you expect your cat to behave like a dog, you will be very disappointed. But there are some fun things you can train your cat to do, including:
- Sitting - While we usually associate sitting with dog training, you can actually train your cat to sit. Start out by getting your cat’s favorite treat and hold it above kitty’s head, just behind the ears. Moving it toward her tail, your cat will naturally assume a sitting position to get a better look at the treat. Do this enough and your cat will start to repeat this trick whenever your put her treat overhead.
- Walking On A Leash – Most people cannot imagine walking a cat on a leash, but it can be done with the right approach and some patience. First, protect your cat from anything they can pick up outside like fleas, ticks and heartworm disease (spread by mosquitoes). Second, get a harness (not a collar) that is made specifically for cats. Let her wear it around the house for some time so she can get used to it and try walking her around the house with the harness and leash attached. If that goes well, take a stab at the walking in the great outdoors. Some cats do well with walking on a leash, while others don’t have the personality for it. It will take some patience and time, but most cats should develop into good leash walkers. Just watch out for curious dogs along the walking route.
- Clicker Training For Cats - If you want your kitty to come to you on demand, the use of a clicker is a great way to go. Use the clicker to get the cat to come to you and reward her upon arrival with a tasty treat. It won’t be long before she associates the click with being fed her favorite treat. You’ll be surprised how fast kitty catches on to this one.
- High Five Kitty – This is one of the coolest tricks you can teach your cat. Like the sit trick, hold a treat above the cat’s head. When she reaches for it with her arm, lovingly exclaim "high five" as you touch your hand to her paw. This trick can take some practice, but soon your friends will be anointing you with the title of cat whisperer.
Training a cat to do tricks is certainly possible with some time and patience. Cats are highly intelligent animals and while they do not behave like dogs, they can be taught tricks and other trained behaviors.
Go get a quality clicker and some delicious treats and let the training begin!
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