It depends; what is your cat’s motivation to learn?
by Rita Reimers, Multi Cat Behavior Expert
Are cats trainable? What is the secret to getting cats to learn a new behavior, or to un-learn an unwanted one?
People ask me all the time how I manage to keep 19 cats all behaving well and staying out of trouble.
The truth is, I don’t! Maybe 95% of the time there is peace, and that’s pretty good odds considering there are 19 of them and only 1 of me!
The trick is to understand how cats think. What is the basic motivation behind the way cats act and react?
Motivating Cats to Learn
I prefer to think of cats as teachable; the word training seems to imply circus trick training, which is not what we do here at Cat Behavior Alliance.
Nine times out of ten, cats are acting on their primitive survival instincts. If a cat feels threatened, he likely feels as if he is being hunted as someone else’s prey. Out in nature, cats are both predator and prey. Their reactions often dictate whether they eat dinner, or instead become another animal’s dinner. So often, cats react to new people or changes in the household as threat to their existence. If a cat feels his territory or his resources are becoming scarce (as he might feel if another cat has been added to the household), again he reacts in ways to protect his own survival.
Understanding Cat Language
Learning to understand your cat’s behavior can be tricky, if you don’t know what to look for. Linda and I can teach you to read your cat’s actions and learn to work with his feline nature, not against it. This is how to achieve a wonderful, loving relationship with your cat, and peace between kitty siblings.
Just like between people, communication between you are your cat is the key to understanding why he does what he does. By learning your cat’s language, you will be better prepared to achieve harmony between cats. You will also achieve peace between your cat and the other people (and things) in your home.
To answer the question, Are Cats Trainable. I believe the answer is yes! Once you speak the same language, then can you begin to teach your cat to modify his behaviors in a way that works for you both. You might even be able to teach him a trick or two as well.
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