Can You Train a Cat?

Many dog owners pride themselves on what they can get their animals to do. It can be truly impressive, but also something of a sore spot if you are a cat person. After all, as much as we love cats, they are not exactly eager to take orders or do us any favors. If it doesn’t somehow revolve around making the cat’s life better, well, it’s not even on the list.

However, believe it or not, it is possible to train your cat. You probably won’t get her to fetch your slippers or retrieve that dead duck for you, but are three basic things that cats will deign themselves to do with the right form of encouragement.

Using the Toilet

Like cleaning out the litter box? Yeah, not the highlight of my week either. Wouldn’t it be great if the cat just used the toilet instead? Why yes, yes, it would! It’s a fairly involved training process, but it can be done.

Discouraging Inappropriate Scratching

Scratching is an instinctual cat behavior. It’s something they all do and you are not likely to get yours from stopping. However, when they go to work on your favorite chair, it is possible to direct them to something else, like, say, that nice scratch pad that cost you $50. As with dogs, cats respond to treats, so give your feline something tasty when she scratches where you want her to.

Stopping Overly Aggressive Play

You have probably been having some fun with your cat, only to find a gentle nip become genuinely painful. Scratching can also become overly harsh when roughhousing. When this happens, experts recommend making a loud noise, like clapping your hands, that will startle the cat. At that point, you make it clear you are unhappy by walking away. The cat will eventually put two and two together.

Not actually the sort of cat training we had in mind.