Help teach your cat a trick or two could be a lot easier than you think. We know that dogs are incredibly intelligent animals — they’re able to learn as many as two hundred and fifty words and gestures and are typically considered as smart as the average two year old.
But lesser known is that cats are actually, at least in terms of number of neurons, more intelligent than dogs. Their cerebral cortex have nearly double the amount as their canine counterparts, and they are proven to be all around expert planners, learners, and analysers.
Why is it, then, that your cat seems physically incapable of learning how to give you a high-five or bringing you your slippers? Well, rather than being too dumb and lazy, it may be more likely because they’re too smart, and that as a result, they need some advanced reasoning and techniques to get them to play along.
Check out these three essential tips to help teach your cat any trick (disclaimer: not guaranteed to get them to bring you your slippers).
1. Get their attention
You can always get a dog’s attention with food. But cats won’t pay any notice to you or anything else if they’re not first in the right mood.
Saying that, offering them a treat is a great way to peak their interest. However, it’s not as fail safe as it is with dogs. Sometimes cats simply don’t want to do what you say, so unless you can get them in the mood, often the only other way is to be patient and come back later.
The best feline pick me up around, catnip can take any disinterested fluff ball and turn them into the rowdiest up-for-anything party puss. The trick is, like with coffee, not to go overboard but just to give them enough. Catnip-infused toys offer a great balance for waking cats up and focusing their attention.
2. Use a clicker
Clickers can be used to help train many animals, and cats are no exception. For as little as a few pounds, you can harness the power of positive reinforcement and teach your cat all sorts of tricks and stunts.
Clickers work by making your cat associate an action with a particular outcome. For best results, use them alongside treats; for example, when your cat does something you want, press the clicker to mark the desired behaviour and then follow it with a treat. Rather than just handing them a treat and them not knowing what it’s for, the clicker is a much more effective and accurate way of communicating with your cat what they’ve done right.
3. Do not punish
It goes without saying that punishment is not a good method to go about teaching any animal a trick. However, cats in particular are highly receptive to stress, and so punishing them cannot only go against your trick teaching efforts, but also lead to many long-standing behavioural and health issues.
Punishment here means everything from a smack on the bum to getting slightly agitated when they’re not performing well. Being aware of their mood, having patience, using positive reinforcement, and all around having fun will therefore take you a lot further in helping you teach your cat any trick.
If you’re looking to help your cat enjoy a long, healthy happy life browse our ethical pet shop for wonderful products they will love.
About Snooty Catz
Are you new to Snooty Catz? We are a small UK independent business that loves to live ethically for both ourselves and our pets. This is why we stock a fabulous range of natural wellbeing products for both people and their pets as well as ethically sourced homewares and eco gifts. We are passionate about the environment which is why all orders are posted in plastic-free packaging and we also plant a tree for all orders received. We hope you love our product range as much as we do.
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