How to Train Your Cat

Did you know that cats are trainable?  It’s true; with a lot of love and patience your cat can learn to do almost anything you want him to do (within reason, of course).  I, personally, watch every Jackson Galaxy’s “My Cat From Hell”, and on every program, he teaches how  to train your cat and their humans.  He almost always uses a clicker, which is designed specifically for training your cat.

I, myself,  trained each of my cats without the clicker, as I wasn’t aware they existed. Boy, I wish I knew then what I know now.  It would have made life a lot simpler.

You have to learn how to use the clicker, but once you do, it’s a piece of cake!  Below are two links to “How to…” books for using the clicker:
Clicker Training for Clever Cats: Learning Can Be Fun!

Clicker Training for Cats (Karen Pryor Clicker Books)

If you already know how to use a clicker and just want to invest one, you will want to click on the link below:

Bayppy Water Drop Shaped Pet Dog Training Clicker Kit Set with Wrist Band,2 colors 2pcs Dog Clicker Training System Tool for Dogs, Cats, Horses,Birds,Pets(Black+White)

A few general tips for training you cat are:

  1. Start off slow  ~ Do not expect your cat to leap over high hurdles.  Remember, this is a process that calls for patience on your part.  Small goals are most likely to be successful for you and your baby.
  2. Reward gains ~ Be sure to have lots of treats on hand for your kitty’s triumphs.
  3. Repetitions ~ Training has to be consistent.  Your cat learns best through repetition.
  4. Limits ~ Do not expect your cat to learn everything all at once.  Remember, just like with humans, learning takes time.  Again, approach the process with patience, love and rewards; lots and lot of rewards, both treats and praise.

There are other approaches that you can use along with the clicker training.  I readv a great one in Amy Shojai’s book, Complete Kitten Care

Amy Shojai, a writer of pet books, is another cat behaviorist that I truly admire. She has written many award winning books, one of which is, Complete Kitten Care.
One of her tricks is, when your cat is doing something you don’t want him to do,  HISSSSS!  That’s right, hiss.   It makes sense.  When he does not like what you are doing to/for him, he hisses.  Turn about is fair play.

I personally found that this tip works.  My 16 year old, BoBo, who is set in his ways, has the habit of jumping up on my very expensive chair, and start to knead.  Now, normally I wouldn’t mind, but as I said, this chair was too expensive to watch my cat tear it up. So, I tried hissing at him.  I admit, the first time he just stopped and looked at me, then waited until I turned away, and he started again. As I said above, repetition is the key to success. After the fourth hiss, he stopped and settled right down. There are so many other great tips in her book, Complete Kitten Care.

Of course, there are many other sites to go to find more tips on training.  Here are just a few:

Reader’s Digest

Love That Pet

Web MD

Our thanks go out to :

Jackson Galaxy

Amy Shojai

 

Massage Your Cat’s Blues Away

 

A great way to make your cat purr his cares away, is to massage him. You know how a good massage lightens your mood and kicks your cares to the curb? Well, it is the same for your cat. You should know a couple of things before you try it. Some cats do not like massages. Don’t worry: he will let you know. Just use your cat speak. Your cat will communicate his wishes to you if you just watch him.First, there are a few things which you need to avoid.

Do not touch his whiskers

Your cat’s whiskers are very sensitive. They use them for many things. As an example, damaged whiskers can make navigation hard in their surroundings. The least bit of touch, (like if their food and/or water bowl s are too small for them and their whiskers touch the sides) can cause pain and disorientation.

Do not squeeze

Remember, he is a cat, not a piece of fruit. You need a soft touch. You would not squeeze a baby, so don’t squeeze your cat.

Do not massage if you not relaxed

If you are tense, perturbed, rushed, etc., don’t try to massage your cat. Cats are very sensitive, and can pick up on your moods. So, if you massage him while you are agitated, he will get agitated, too, and he will not get the full benefit of the massage. (Neither will you,  for that matter.)

Do not interrupt him

If he is busy doing something, like grooming himself or sleeping, leave him alone. We all need a little privacy sometimes. He usually will be more receptive if he is relaxed and just laying at your feet (or wherever you cat lays). When he is happy to be with you, that’s the time to share the massage.

Do not massage him right after he eats

Wait about two hours to let his food digest.

Do not push him

If he doesn’t want it, then back off. Give him his space. He will let you know with his body language, how he feels at the moment. Use your cat speak.

Now, we got the don’ts out of the way, let’s dig into the dos.

1) Talk or sing softly to him in a normal voice relax him. No one likes to be squealed at, especially when trying to relax.

2) Start with petting him in his favorite place. My cat likes to be scratched behind his ears. So, whether, be it a full body pet or a scratch  under the chin, start there to help him relax. Apply gentle pressure. Too soft, and he may not feel the massage, and where’s the benefit in that. (You don’t have to use two hands, one is just fine.)

3) Use your whole hand for the body.

4) Next, the head. Using the palm of your hand, massage in slow, gentle circles.

5) With your fingertips, massage slowly, lightly around the ears. When you have finished the ears, move down to the neck and chin and massage with slow, gentle circle using your fingertips. (Do not press the neck). When the neck is done, then the cheeks and face.   Don’t be concerned if he drools or looks a little daze. This tells you that your are on the right track.

6) Next, the forehead. Don’t forget the place just above the eyes. Use your fingertips to massage in circular motions. Remember: softness is the key.

7) Spend a few seconds to pet your cat, from head to tail, as you would normally, then go back to the gentle touch for his head, body and tail.

8) Massage the sides of his body, using your full hand. This should be a firm touch, but remember, do not squeeze.

9) The shoulders need some attention, too. You should first use gentle, circular motions, followed by a soft, but firm, rub down, so to speak. Include his back and sides.

10) Now, go back to using the gentle circular motion to rub him from shoulders to tail. Be very careful around his tail. Some cat’s hips and tail are sensitive.

11) If your cat will allow you to touch his belly, go ahead. Now is the time, since he is nice and relaxed. Caution: This area is very sensitive, so even if he will let you rub it, do not rub too hard. A very light touch with your fingertips is called for here. Do it while you are working another part of his body,for example, his shoulders.
12) The very last step of the massage is his tail. Like his whiskers, his tail is sensitive. Starting at the rump, use a slow gentle touch until you reach the end of his tail. Then pet him as normal for minute or two.

If he’s whips his tail to and fro, stop.  He is probably over stimulated.

This may seem like a long process, but once you and your cat get into it, it seems to end too soon. For more info: Video on massaging your cat

We give our deepest thanks to:

Cat Behavior Associates

Wiki

Petfinder

DISCLAIMER: I am not a cat behaviorist, vet, or an expert of any kind. Therefore, I can only claim that the statements made in this blog are based on my personal research and my 20 years of experience as a cat guardian only.

Does Your Cat Speak to You?

Good question! It has been shown that cats do, indeed have their ways of speaking to you. All you have to do is to learn cat. In the past, people thought that cats were just cats, arrogant and independent. Like their brothers and sisters in the wild, it was thought that they hunted, bathed themselves and slept; then they would wake and start this process all over again. A cat would only grace us with their company when they wanted something, like food. They were good for hunting and killing mice, but not much more .
Pretty dull existence, huh? However, experts have found that all cats do not have just one cookie-cutter personality. Like dogs, they each have their own personality, their needs and desires, and each communicates what is going through their heads differently. Recently, those who have studied the cat-human communication have found that there is a “language” used by cats. If you watch and listen to your cat, the bond your bond with him will become even tighter than before. These examples are just general ways that a cat might communicate. more

Purring as a way of cat communication

First, I want to make it clear that when a cat purrs, it does not always mean they are contented. While, it’s true that this is sometimes the case , there are times when purring means something altogether different. When your cat purrs, watch him. Look at his stance. Are his muscles tense? Is his hair standing on end? Are his eyes dilated and ears back? Most likely, this is a sign of anger and sometimes anger will be accompanied by purring. Another reason for communication by purring is that he is sick and is trying to heal himself. Several year ago, I was seriously ill. I had two cats and, each taking turns, they would lay beside, purring to comfort me.

It’s all in the tail

Other ways of cat-speak is in the tail. That’s right, I said tail. Have you ever noticed how your cat’s tail moves? That is him trying to speak to you (and to other cats). Different ways of cat-communication are, as they say, all in the tail. Cats quite often use their tails to tell you what they want. If it’s erect and the fur is laying down flat and still, he’s happy, alert, and/or inquisitive. He is comfortable in his territory.  If the fur on the tail is bushy, he is angry or afraid. Like a dog, if the tail is held low and between the legs, he is anxious or insecure. If it is thrashing to and fro, he is agitated; leave him alone. The more agitated he gets, the more chances that he will scratch or bite you, or both. If the tail is straight up and quivering, it be one of two things; either he is excited or, if he/she is not neutered/spayed, the cat is likely spraying. more

Eyes

Watch the eyes. The cat uses them to communicate a host of feelings. These are a few ways you can know what your he is trying to tell you. If pupils aren’t dilated, it is normally a sign of contentment. If the pupils become dilated, it can mean that he is angry or terrified. Keep your “eye” on the tail for further clues.

Body

There are a few things you need to know about the body communication. If it’s arched with fur standing on end, he may be scared or angry, but if it is arched and the fur is flat, he is telling you that he wants a pet from you. Laying on his back means he is relaxed. It is also a sign of trust, especially when he allows you to rub his belly. If he is hunched down, with his hind haunches quivering, look out. He might be getting ready to strike, in either anger or play.  Again, watch that tail.

There are, of course, many other ways your cat speaks to you, and we will cover them in later posts.

For more information on communication between you and you cat, please visit:   Man’s Other Best Friend

Our thanks go out to:  Cat Chat, Catster and New York Magazine

DISCLAIMER: I am not a cat behaviorist, vet, or an expert of any kind. Therefore, I can only claim that the statements made in this blog are based on my personal New Nresearch and my 20 years of experience as a cat guardian only.

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