Train Your Cat….Really!

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By Samme



Tired of losing the battle when it’s time to pill your cat or close him in his carrier? If you think training a dragon is a snap compared to training a cat, think again. You and your cat can learn new behaviors and make life easier for both of you, according to Dr. Sarah Ellis, a feline behavior expert and Chirag Patel, an animal consultant and trainer.

“For the cat that used to win the pill battle with the resultant soggy pill being spat behind the sofa, we can teach the cat to learn to actively accept the pill allowing the cat to be medicated with ease,” Ellis says in a series of articles available online and featured in the November issue of Your Cat magazine.

Your suspicious cat can learn to go through a cat flap with ease, she says. A fat cat can be encouraged to run and play and a shy cat can be taught to meet new people. Even your grumpy cat can become accustomed to being handled and touched in ways that help him deal with being checked out by the vet. These and other learned behaviors can reduce stress for both you and your cat.

Remember, whatever you do, never punish your cat. This makes your pet nervous and afraid. You can also find  helpful videos by Purina Pet Care that show you how to train your cat to accept grooming, to come when called and to sit by rewarding your friend with treats and affection. Outdoor cats can be taught to ring a bell to asked to be let in, according to Dr. Johanne Righetti, an animal behaviorist. Hang the bell at the cat’s eye level near the door. When the cat wants in, ignore its meowing and scratching and wait. “Eventually your cat will touch that bell and make it ring,” Righetti says, and that’s when you open the door. Soon your cat will ring the bell whenever it wants to come inside.

Training your cat takes work, and being sensitive to you cat’s needs, but it can be worth it. “It’s as much about training ourselves as owners as it is about training the cats,” Ellis says. Ellis and Patel break it all down for you, step by step, in the illustrated articles that make up the “Train Your Cat” series.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends working with your cat for ten minutes a day as a great way to bond. Get down on the cat’s level and use treats and clickers to reinforce desired behavior. Behavioral biologist Karen Pryor says that working with your cat keeps them active and provides needed stimulation for indoor cats. Her tips and techniques are detailed in an online version of the the Humane Society’s magazine, All Animals.

The online articles by Ellis and Patel explain the benefits of training and how to succeed. It’s all about making sure that our cats lives are “as positive and fulfilling as possible,” Patel says. For more information go to this online address:

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