Why cats are difficult to train – Part 11

Cat training can be difficult because each cat has a unique personality that they want respected, pretty much like us people. Unlike dogs who just want to please and are happy to follow orders when they understand them and see clear rewards, cats will not be so easily persuaded into doing something. There are things they like and things they don’t like. Forcing them to do what they do not like does not work, ever.

Yury Kuklachev, one of the world’s best cat trainer and the creator of the only cat theater in the world, Moscow Cats Theater, says that he never actually trains his cats. He just observes them, learns their personality and things they like to do, and then creates performance acts that incorporate the particular cat’s natural preferences, be that running, climbing, jumping, or playing hide and seek. Mr. Kuklachev’s cats, most of them former strays, perform amazing acts onstage, and you can tell they enjoy doing them.

I believe this is the key to cat training, as well as the reason why some people find it so difficult to train a cat: you can not order a cat around and expect them to obey just because you’re the boss. If you want them to learn something, you should work with them and keep in mind their personality.

For example, if your kitty is not the cuddling type, you have to accept the fact that training them to cuddle next to you as you watch TV will take time and patience. Grabbing the cat and holding them will not work because the cat will hate every moment of it and make sure they are out of your reach next time. Instead, I would suggest having some treats hidden nearby and waiting for the moment when the kitty chooses to come close. Offer them a treat and pet them a little, but do not insist that the cat stays by your side. If they want to leave, that’s fine. If they stay and wait for another treat, give them one some time later. The cat will see the rewards of coming and sitting next to you, and they will also see that they are free to stay or to go, which is important. With time, you can reach the point where the kitty comes to you as soon as you turn on the TV, even if you do not offer treats right away.

Rewarding the desired behavior and teaching the cat to see it as enjoyable can do wonders.

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