Why cats are difficult to train – Part 3

Cats aren’t difficult to train. Cats are impossible to train.

However, cats can usually be persuaded. And that’s how we have to think of it.

It’s possible to use praise and disapproval with cats, especially when they are a) past the kitten stage and able to concentrate and b) have a good relationship with us, so that they care what we think.

Even with kittens, we can use a stern (never loud) voice when they are playing with something forbidden, and then coo and talk sweet to them when they are doing something they are supposed to do, no matter what it is. People are often quick to scold and then slow with the praise. No matter how simple the task the cat is accomplishing, even sleeping in a spot you like them in, take a moment to pet and praise them for it. That way, they will know what praise is.

Whatever a cat does, it has to be their own idea, from pleasing us to leaving things alone. The best way to make something a cat’s own idea is with drama. Drama communicates across cultures, even those between Cat and Human.

Sometimes cats will find an object or place so fascinating they will be drawn to it like a moth to a candle. They aren’t doing this to spite us. They figure you don’t realize just how fascinating the thing is, and if you knew, you would understand. This is when we will use a squirt bottle or canned air to convince the cat that we have been trying to save them from that fascinating thing. The thing has hidden powers. We were just looking out for them.

Smart cats will realize the thing’s hidden powers only work if we are there with the offensive device. They might still investigate it. Now we move on to “cat traps.” A cardboard box with empty soda cans in it can be set up to fall down when the cat investigates. Opening a magazine and laying one half on a counter in their preferred path will dump them off the counter when they jump on it. A barely balanced set of empty plastic bottles will knock themselves over with impressive mayhem. Now the cat decides on their own this fascinating thing has too many powers, even when we are not there. It is permissible to say, “I told you so,” at this point. We tried to tell them!

To convey something we would like the cat to do, we need to ramp up our production company. If the cat is not covering after a visit to the litter box, take them gently to the litter box and show them how nice it looks when you scoop extra litter onto the offending material. If you have established a bond of trust

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