woman sitting on floor with black cat working on training

How Do You Train A Cat?

Does Cat Training Really Work?

Believe it or not, your feline friend can be trained just like their canine counterpart and, yes, it can be just as easy! From fun new tricks like high-five and spin to life skills like leash training and using a scratching post, cat behavior problems are addressed by teaching your cat what you want them to do.

How do you get the desired behavior you want from your cat? You can teach your cat through the same training process as we use for lots of animals: clicker training. This article will cover training tips for getting started with your cat, whether you plan on training cat tricks or are looking to solve an issue with your cat. Soon you’ll find your cat meowing for more!

What is Clicker Training?

Clicker training is a science based training method that we use with animals to teach them a new skill. The clicker is like “speaking the same language”, making teaching quicker and less frustrating for both the person AND the pet!

A clicker is a small tool that makes a clicking sound. We teach the cat that one click equals one treat, then we can use the clicker to take a snapshot of the behavior we want to reward.

The key to successful clicker training is to click at the precise moment that the behavior happens. This positive reinforcement encourages your cat to repeat the behavior. Remember: behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated!

How Do I Get Started With Cat Training?

To teach the association between the click and treat, start with this short training game:

Toss a treat away from you so your cat goes to chase it. Your cat will likely come back to you, as you’re the source of the treat, so as soon as they return to you, click, and toss another tasty treat. Soon your cat will make the association that coming to you earns a reward and that one click equals one treat. This game is helpful for cats new to training who may have short attention spans, and it’s a lot of fun too!

Helpful hints: keep training sessions short, no more than 5 – 10 minutes, and make sure training sessions are fun and easy. This will help your cat learn to love this new game. Train when your cat is hungry, around mealtimes is best, and, whether you’re using treats, kibble, or wet food, keep food rewards small in size to maximize the number of times you can reward your cat.

Will Clicker Training Work For My Cat?

I get lots of questions wondering if clicker training will work for someone’s cat due to their age or behavior issue. After working with thousands of cats, I can confidently say that cat training is for all cats, and clicker training, in particular, works the best. Here are a few examples of what clicker training can help with:

  • Clicker training is perfect for cats that are shy & fearful because it helps build their confidence in interacting with you
  • Bored cats can benefit from the activity & enrichment that training provides
  • For cats that show aggression like biting, clicker training can help because it redirects them to appropriate behaviors
  • Older cats can learn new tricks: I’ve had cats over 12 years old join Cat School to enrich their lives
  • Young kittens can benefit from clicker training as it’s a natural fit for teaching practical behaviors that are crucial for their future life, like going into a carrier or learning to relax on a mat instead of jumping on counters. Start training your new kitten immediately so they practice desired behaviors right from the start!

Need More Help Training Your Cat?

Are you excited to start enriching your cat’s life with clicker training but not sure where to go from here? Are you looking for the best clicker/cat training tools? Check out Cat School’s training program: it offers clicker training tools and a structured online course for you to follow that includes one-on-one support. I teach you how to train your cat in easy and effective ways. Read more about Cat School or sign up below; I can’t wait to see all the things your cat learns!