Why Cat Training is so Difficult
Cat training behavior can be quite frustrating, but the first step in training is to actually understand where your cat is coming from. Here are 10 reasons why training your cat is such a challenge.
Cats Do Not Recognize Hierarchies
Dogs are fairly easy to train because they recognize their owners for who they are, their master. Dogs quickly learn that their owner gives the orders and if they follow them, they are rewarded. If they do not, they are punished. Cats, on the other hand, usually do not recognize their owner as their master and do not take directions.
Cats are Solitary Creatures
Cats by nature are solitary creatures but are fine tuned to their surroundings. They also demand affection when they want it. On the other hand, when cats don’t want to do something they usually will not do it. The bottom line is, they do need your companionship to be happy, but on their own terms.
Cats Communicate Differently than Dogs
When a dog wants something they get really excited and bark or jump at it. Cats, on the other hand, will sit and stare at it or twitch his tail. This makes it tough to train a cat because you probably won’t know what your cat is trying to say or communicate to you. Once you know your cats body language, training will be easier.
Cats Lose Interest in Training
Cats do not have the same attention span as dogs. If you reward your dog he will pay attention to you. Although cats do respond to incentives, they usually grow tired of training even if they are being rewarded.
Cats Are Mischievous By Nature
Cats are mischievous and curious by nature, so training them is more of a challenge. Cats maybe mischievous because they are bored. By nature, cats want to hunt and explore. Kittens are far more curious and mischievous but usually grow out of it, if trained early on.
Cats Respond to Pleasant Consequences
Does your cat jump on your chest at 5 in the morning and meow until you feed him? If you get up and do so, you are indirectly training your cat to wake you up. Even if you don’t know it, you are teaching your cat that if he wakes you up, he will be fed.
Punishing Your Cat for Bad Behavior Will Break Your Bond
Cats are intolerant of human forms of punishment, and physically dominating your cat will break your bond with him. Cats become irritated when you punish them, so instead of taking the hint and changing their behavior they often become angry and withdrawn.
Cats Do Not Respond Positively to Physical Punishment
Cats don’t respond as well to punishment the same as dogs because of their independence. They look at physical punishment as a threat as opposed to a punishment for bad behavior. Cats have a hard time associating the physical punishment with the bad behavior making it useless for training purposes.
Expecting the Same Results Training a Cat as a Dog
Dog behavior is not the same as cat behavior. Dogs are easier to train because of their friendly and amicable nature while cats, on the other hand, are just not as easy to train. Cat owners need to have patience. Believe it or not, you can even train your cat to perform some ‘dog like’ tricks if you want. For starters, you can train your cat to sit on command, or to walk on a leash.
Cats Have Better Memory than Dogs
To potty train your cat, you should put him in the room with his litter box and wait until he learns to use it. If your cat has an accident or starts to “go” someplace other than the litter box, pick him up and put him in it.
Like dogs, cats are motivated to do things that will benefit them. Turning your cat’s favorite activities into positive behaviors and rewarding him, can work to your advantage. Also training your kitten as soon as you bring him home will give him the opportunity to not start with bad behavior.
Amy is the founder of Cat Mania and a life long cat lover. She also writes for various other pet related websites. She is passionate about helping pet parents create a healthy and happy lifestyle for their fur-babies.