I've never had a dog pet, but I know that having a cat is better for my particular situation. I'm living in a rented flat, which makes it challenging to own a dog, both because of the reluctance of the landlord to have dogs on the premise, and because most dogs need a space to feel comfortable and exercise. I also wrote the introduction to generate drama; if you're still reading, the drama worked!
there's a plethora of posts, research papers, posts about research papers, videos and TikTok that go into the science and reasoning behind why cat training is not only possible but beneficial for your cat. I'll add some links at the end of the post. the bottom line is that cats are not dogs. I know, groundbreaking! our involuntary comparison of cats to dogs makes us set the wrong expectation on how a cat will behave.
I got into cat training because a) I had a cat (an essential prerequisite for CAT), b) I wanted to find out if Kelvin (my first cat) could high-five c) because I knew my friends won't believe it when I'd tell them about high-fiving cats. after a quick google search (not a google plug, I'm not yet sponsored by them), "clicker training" was the best bet in starting training a cat.
what is CAT?
CAT, or the Cat Academy of Training, is my bite-sized 27-lesson course for training your cat to internet-level fame.
proper tools for CAT
what you'll need for CAT: the Cat Academy for Training:
- a cat, preferably yours
- a tool that makes a distinct clicking noise. it can be either a specially designed clicker or a retractable pen with a loud click. I used the latter.
- some treats that you know the cat likes. they can be pieces of cooked chicken, fish, or soft or dry snacks. it's important for your cat to like the snack and for the snack to be small so the cat doesn't get too distracted while eating it.
- a distraction-free space. a room where there is no movement or sources of noise or blinking lights.
- patience; cats usually train in bursts of 1-7 minutes before they move on to micier pastures.
let your Padawan's training begin
after you have confirmed that your cat partner is in a relaxed state and he likes the treats, training shall commence.
make sure you have your cat's attention. click your instrument of choice and give out a treat. doing this multiple times will help reinforce the connection between the sound and being rewarded with something tasty.
you should do this several times a day (I usually do them when I take breaks from working) for several days. the speed with which your cat will connect the good action = treat can vary based on age, bond strength with their owner, or genetic predisposition to following commands.
you now have a trained cat, technically. in the next CAT lesson, I'll talk about the sit command and how to make a great TikTok video about it.
shoot me a message if you followed along so your cat could be a part of the CAT success stories.
- thank you to @dalle_dance for the post cover