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While it’s easy to assume cats are “untrainable”, the truth is that cats can be trained if you use the right methods.
Clicker training is a method that has proven to be successful among cats and kittens, and with a little practice, your kitty can be showing off their new skills for friends and family.
Cats are autonomous creatures that over time domesticated themselves into our lives. As a result, cats don’t typically respond to conditioning the same way that dogs and other animals do.
Rather, cat training revolves around the concept that certain behaviors have positive consequences.
What You’ll Need to Click Train Your Cat
· A clicker stick (tool for training), or a clicker training app on your smartphone
· Lots of patience
Begin by building an association with the sound of the click and a treat for your cat. This may take a few weeks, but with consistency, your cat will begin to associate the click with the treat they enjoy. Make sure the treat is quick to feed so they get it immediately with the click.
Let the cat training begin!
Once your cat has an interest in the sound of the click, the real fun can start. Start small with just teaching your cat to show up when the clicks begin. This is also a great help if your feline friend should ever go missing, and you have to search for them.
By using a clicker stick, you can then have your cat learn to follow it as a target. Bring the clicker to your cat’s nose, wait for them to sniff it, then give a click and reward the behavior. It may help to add a small treat or some catnip to the end of the stick as well. When your cat is able to follow the point of the clicker stick on command, you can direct your furry friend’s attention to specific points or actions.
Advanced level: Teaching your cat a trick
Using your clicker stick, raise it above and just behind your cat’s head in a way that they will want to sit to keep their focus on the end of the stick. Once your cat sits, make the clicking sounds and reward.
It also helps to add a verbal command with your clicking, such as “sit.” Like any other step in your cat’s training, consistency and repetition are crucial. With enough time, your cat will respond to the word “sit” with the action of sitting. Congratulations — you’ve trained your kitty to sit pretty!
Remember praise is just as good of a reward as treating. Make sure to not go overboard on treating your cat, so as to not put unwanted pounds on their body. A healthy rule of thumb is to never go over 10% percent of their recommended daily caloric intake.
Training your kitten or cat is a fun way to bond, so start slow, and with enough time, you’ll find clicker training to be a rewarding experience for both of you.