Can a cat be trained?
After about 10000 years of living together with man cats have been accompanied by various myths. Fortunately, over the centuries, their reputation restored and people put them in their homes and loved them as they deserved. Now, anyone you ask will tell you that the cat is a proud, clean and independent animal that can not be trained. Can a cat be trained?
Is it true that the cat can be trained?
Just like a dog a cat can be trained too. The difference is that the cat gets tired more easily and need fewer repetitions, so you have to be better at how and when you will reward and when not. Basic dog and cat education closely resembles the basic education of children in schools. They learn some things they will use as supplies in their lives.But the main idea is to give them some social skills because these will help them to become more socialized.
We train the cats to not scratch, not bite, accept other people coming home, accept family members, do not fear other animals, co-exist with dogs or other cats, learn to adjust to the environment they live, feel safe and that they should always accept all the changes in a positive way.
How to train a cat?
We use rewarding methods with treats, we use toys, we use whatever the cat likes. The basic thing is not to train a cat sit, give her hand or lying down, which is easy enough even if it sounds difficult. The important thing is to teach the cat to accept everything new and to start learning. We do not want the cat to have in mind that our home is her only home, it can not be changed, and that no other people enter her home.
We want to train the cat that life has to do with change. Because if a cat learns change from an early age, it consolidates in its nervous system and helps it to accept stress, which is sometimes positive and sometimes negative, so it can adapt to any theoretical conditions.
Is Caress a reward for a cat? How does she reacts to caress?
Just as we would react. If we receive caress of our mom, our dad, our friend we will be happy, but if it is done by a stranger we will not. Cat caress of course is a mean of reward, but it must be done in a specific way and in certain parts of her body, which are not the same for all cats.
Some cats, for example, never want to touch them on the back of their bodies. Typically, most cats want slow movements, for a short time and especially in the head that they feel more controlled, or at their cheekbones from where they produce pheromones.
What we often see when cats put their cheeks against our feet or the furniture is not an action either to caress us or to enjoy it. This is done to leave their pheromones, which are some chemicals that cats use to communicate with each other and are of different kinds. Those produced by their cheeks have to do with intimacy. Essentially, they want to be homely, smell with their own fragrance to feel more comfortable.
Up to what age can a cat be trained?
The cat can be trained at any age, but it would be ideal to be trained since it is 4 months old. The point is that young kittens, develop their nervous system more quickly and can learn more things. At an older age, a dog or a cat can learn anything but if some behaviors have already been established, we will need to make them forget these behaviors that sometimes appear.
When a behavior is experienced it is not easy to change and it needs more time. Do not forget that most cat behaviors are functional behaviors that help them survive even if some of them are not acceptable to us.
Types of cat’s problematic behaviors that we can improve
Some of the cat problematic behaviors that we can improve are spraying,urinating and defecation outside the litter box, aggressive behavior in humans and animals, cats that hunting their tail, overwhelm their coat to the point of self-injuries etc. The causes can be either pathological or psychological, or a combination of these two.
Another problematic behavior we often encounter is cat biting. This is because many people, when a kitten is small, find it very cute to leave it bite or scratch, even if it causes them small injuries. Because the kitten is small and tender they think it is not a problem. Growing up, however, the cat learns to use her mouth so this can be a serious problem.
Does it matter if our cat is male or female?
It does not matter if the cat is male or female, and from studies that have taken place there is no difference between females and males. When an animal is sterilized plays an important role for all hormone-dependent behaviors. For example, the female cat, which will be very sensitive some months of the year and wants to change its behavior during the oestrus period, will not change as long as it is not sterilized. A male cat who can leave his home because he may have smelled a female cat – something that can smell it in a kilometer radius – if it is neutered, this behavior changes.
We must therefore sterilize our cats because, in addition to medical reasons and undesirable pregnancies, is very painful for the pets to have an estrogen and not be able to satisfy their need. Sexual desire in animals is hormone dependent. It is not like us, which is a controlled desire independent of our hormones. For animals, the oestrus is a time when they must do everything to fertilize and thus survive as a species.
Furthermore if our cats are not neutralized they can be expose in many dangers. Some of which include losing our cat, hit by a car, and generally have a more aggressive and vulnerable behavior. The best option will be to sterilize our cats. That way we can also avoid to have unintended pregnancies and new kittens. We already have several thousand strays in the streets and we do not need more.
What about acceptance of other animals?
Cat’s society does not readily accept other animals anyway. Although it is the only feline with the lion that is a social animal, it can not easily accept new animals. To learn this and to accept it is a gradual process that must be a result of very targeted things that must be done. Again it may not be our goal to make our cats become the best friends with other animals but to simply coexist without any problems.
Our role in Cat training
Anything we learn to our cat, if our own behavior, makes the cat feel stressed, confused, angry etc, the result will be that our cat will not be able to live with us without a problem. We can not require our cat to learn everything while we will be recklessly disregarding their needs and desires. Our cat has needs that we need to understand, respect, and sometimes allow it to express them in an acceptable natural way.
Will a cat be happy always in a house?
It can be happy if we give her the appropriate stimuli, if she has our company, if she has toys, if she has the food she wants the way she wants. A cat, when is in nature, half of the day is chasing. So for a cat living in an apartment we need to satisfy that need.
Most cats, if we suddenly get them out, will be more anxious than happy, but they need the new stimuli. Our cats need sometimes to be exercised in a new way. The cat is a hunter. She wants to hunt and does not necessarily care to have a bowl of food always full. We have to make it as interesting as possible.
We can hide food in some places or buy for them some special toys, and make sure there is a rotation in their routine so we can keep our cats happy.