How To Train Your Cat To Do Six Simple Tasks

21 December 2016 | Cat Advice

How To Train Your Cat To Do Six Simple Tasks

Most cat owners think that you can't train your cat to do tricks the same way you teach a dog, contrary to popular belief, you can train your cat very easily. Teaching your cat tricks and rewarding them for good behaviour, will enable you to have a healthy happy relationship with your pet.

Do not punish

One of the first important facts to understand is not to punish your cat. Your cat will not learn from what you consider as “discipline” or “punishment” if they do wrong. Both these behaviours can cause stress, leading to health and behavioural problems. To train your cat effectively, you will need patience and positive reinforcement.

Training with a clicker and treats

The clicker is used as a training tool for many domestic pets and will only cost you a few pounds. Below we have listed some helpful clicker training tips:

  • Each training session should last no more than a few minutes
  • Click the clicker at the right moment to initiate the desired behaviour
  • When teaching your cat something new, start small and reward them for steps they make along the way
  • Do not try to physically push your cat to where you want them to go, or to your desired position
  • Do not click more than once to encourage the desired behavior. Lots of clicks can cause your cat to become confused
  • Lastly, when training your cat with the clicker, you will need to also reward them with a treat for obeying your command. 
  • Training your cat to come on command

Cats are able to come your way with a command. Firstly, you should start by making a distinct noise before their feeding, this includes opening the bag of food. This way the cat will associate that noise with a positive affirmation (food) and will learn to come to you when they hear this noise. Once you've achieved this, you should encourage this behaviour at different times to their usual feeding time. Start from a short distance and make the noise, use the clicker when your cat comes your way and then reward them with a treat. Repeat this up to twice a day and then start with longer distances. It is recommended to give your cat up to two training sessions a day.

Training your cat to use the toilet

This requires a lot of patience but has many benefits. You will save money on litter and have a cleaner home. Firstly, you will need to place the cat’s litter box adjacent to your toilet. After your cat has become accustomed to going to the bathroom to do their business, you will need to move the litter box closer and closer to the top of the toilet seat. To make the journey easier for the cat, you can use a phone book, or stool to make it easier for the cat to get to the toilet seat. Once your cat has become used to doing their business in their litter tray on top of the toilet seat, you can make the transition to a special litter box that fits within the toilet itself. You may also want to consider buying flushable litter. Over time you will need to use less and less litter to get your cat adjusted to doing their business without it, and then able to remove the litter box for good.

Train your cat to shake hands

This trick is not as simple as you may think and will take a few attempts for your cat to become fully trained to shake your hand.

Firstly, you will need to have your treat ready, then position yourself to the same level as your cat. Gently tap your cat’s paw whilst saying “shake” and click once with your clicker when they move their paw and then reward them with a treat. Repeat this process until your cat offers their paw in response to the “shake” command without tapping their paw.

Train your cat to walk on a leash

It's important to get the correct harness that attaches on the cats back, rather than their neck.  We recommend leaving the harness near their favorite sleeping area, of where they are fed. This way the cat becomes accustomed to the sight of the harness. Once the cat becomes familiar with the harness, you can then gently place the harness on the cat's back and reward them with a treat for letting you do so. Eventually, you will be able to place your cat within the harness and reward them for being good and allowing you. Patience is key with this as not all cats will favour a harness.

Hopefully, your cat should become comfortable with their harness and now you can attach the leash and allow them to walk around indoors so they get use to the experience. Again, it's important to reward them with a treat for their good behaviour!

Next, take your cat outdoors (preferably somewhere quiet) and allow them to roam, with you holding the leash. Guiding them where you want to walk and rewarding them with a treat during their walk.

Train your cat to sit

Cats are very good at learning this command, so training your cat to sit, is easy. You can do this with their favourite treats. Simply hold the treat above their head and say “sit”. Their nose will naturally point towards the treat and your cat should move into a sitting position. As soon as they go to sit on the floor, you must praise them immediately by rewarding them with a treat. Repeat this process several times until they become confident in sitting.

Training your cat to ring the bell

Owning an outdoor cat can be tiring, frustrating and sometimes destructive, with their efforts to come back inside the house. To alleviate this, you can suspend a small, but loud enough bell on a piece of string and attach at your cat’s eye level. When your cat meows or scratches to the door to come back inside, you must ignore this behaviour. Eventually, your cat will learn to touch the bell and make it ring. It's Important that you’re on standby to open the door as soon as they do so. If this is repeated every time they go outside, your cat will learn to ring the bell when they want to come back inside.


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