Q:

How do you train a cat?

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Quick Answer

A cat can be trained using a variety of approaches, but it reacts best to positive reinforcement. Cats are highly independent and generally do not care about pleasing their masters, so patience and understanding a cat's behavior are keys in training. You will also need treats and a clicker.

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How do you train a cat?
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Full Answer

  1. Use treats for positive reinforcement

    Cats respond well to treats they find tasty. Identify through trial and error which treats the cat prefers the most. Such treats may include tuna, diced chicken or commercial cat treats. Once identified, apply the principles of positive reinforcement to train the cat to act in a way that merits rewarding him with a treat. Ensure that the cat is rewarded if he makes an effort in behaving correctly, as a step-by-step process eventually results in a learned behavior.

  2. Use a clicker

    By using a clicker to assist in positive reinforcement, the cat learns to associate the noise of the clicker with the reward that is to come. Cats learn through repetition but also have short attention spans, so do not overuse the clicker in a short period of time.

  3. Rule out punishing

    Cats do not react well to punishment and are likely to associate it with fear. If this is repeated enough, the cat can display antisocial tendencies and may express even worse behavior. This may include misuse of the litter box and irregular grooming.

  4. Consult a qualified behaviorist

    If all else fails, consult a qualified behaviorist to assist.

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