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Have You Had Any Luck Training Your Cat? I Sure Haven't

I tried treats, toys, and even just snuggles, but I failed -- miserably. What's your experience?

 |  May 9th 2013  |   38 Contributions


All of the cats we have in our family were feral cats at one point in their lives. Some still are timid and will only come within a few feet of me, and that’s usually when I’m setting their food out. However, there are four that have become very friendly and will spend time with me, rubbing against my leg and allowing me to pet them while they’re eating. One of the boys, Ash, likes to be petted no matter what the occasion. However, they’re still very independent cats and only come for a visit on their own terms.

I really wish that I could train them better, like I’ve done with my dogs. I’ve tried several methods of training my cats, but the results aren’t as stellar as I would have liked. It makes me wonder, can you really train a cat?

I tried to train my kitty boy Charles to sit by using food.

Many cat training experts and feline behaviorists have a better record of success than I do, and there are books and even television shows about it. But, for the average Joe, we seem to have a more difficult time mastering the training techniques. Maybe it’s just this average Joe, but I suspect there's a lot of us out there.

Many people I know have given up trying to train their cats, or barely try. Maybe they simply don’t care that much about training their cats. They figure as long as their cat knows how to use the litter box, then life is grand.

My wife had a Siamese who would come running when she rattled the kitty container full of food. However, the cat would bolt off when finished with her food. Our cats are pretty much the same way. If they’re hungry, they come running. If not, they will look at us like an alien life form. It’s only my boy Ash who’ll come running like a dog when I call his name or sing his special song. But, even then, he decides when he’s finished with our interaction.

I’ve tried enticing them with treats and pieces of chicken, like you would a food-motivated dog. They seem to have very little interest in treats or coming to visit me for extra morsels. I’ve used squeaky toys, small stuffed toy mice, laser pens, and feathers tied to the end of a stick. The toys worked well when they were very young, but like most adolescents, they lost interest in my little games. I’ve even sat patiently with a warm cuddly blanket in my lap, trying to get them to come over for a cuddle. Nothing has worked.

Maybe it’s because they started off as feral cats. Maybe I just haven’t mastered the skills. Or maybe the cats are just smarter than I am. I bet that's it. In any case, I’ll keep on trying. As the gallant proclaim, failure is not an option.

Have you had success training a cat? What failures have you encountered? Let us know in the comments! 

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