Can you train a cat?

Can you train a cat? Most people assume that cats can’t be trained. This isn’t true! While cats’ natural personalities make them harder to train than dogs, it is actually quite easy to teach cats a few basic things to make your life easier and your relationship closer. There are a few things you should keep in mind if you are interested in training your cat.
  1. You must not use any form of punishment or negative reinforcement. You can only use positive reinforcement and reward good behaviour. Punishing your cat can induce stress and lead to both behavioural and health problems. It may cause your cat to be more fearful around you and generally display more aggressive scratching and biting around people.
  1. You must be patient. Each cat is different and some just have stubborn personalities!
  1. Have a happy and stimulated cat. Many cats experience stress and anxiety even at home. Use cat pheromones like a Feliway Diffuser around your home to help your cat stay calm. Also consider providing stress relieving accessories like a cat scratcher and encourage your cat to use it every day.
To give you some examples to practice with, we’ve summarised 2 of the more popular and useful things you can train your cat to do. Come on command:
  • Start by saying ‘come’ in a distinctive tone every time before opening the food to feed your cat. You cat will start to associate this unique sound with something positive.
  • Then, starting from very short distances, try making this sound outside of normal feeding times and reward your cat with treats and affection when your cat comes to you. Try and do 2 sessions a day, of 5 minutes each, where you repeat this 15-20 times.
  • Over time, start trying from longer and longer distances.
Use a toilet:
  • Get ready to save on cat litter! First, have your litter box next to the toilet.
  • Use something (like phonebooks) to gradually raise the litter box higher so it’s closer and closer to the top of the toilet seat.
  • Once using the litter box on top of the toilet is mastered, get yourself a special litter box that fits inside the toilet. You’ll need flushable cat litter for this and some surrounding mess may be expected for a short time.
Gradually use less and less litter until your cat is comfortably using the toilet without any litter. Once this is mastered, remove the litter box entirely and enjoy the benefits!