3
   

How to train a cat

 
 
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 05:06 am
I've only trained cats to come when called. I did this by making a "whispering" noise when feeding them and they'd learn to come to it.

I've never tried to train a cat to do anything else but I've seen videos of trained cats. Anyone know how to train a cat anything else?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 1,058 • Replies: 13
No top replies

 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 05:43 am
Find a reward that's rewarding...and shaping, as with any other animal.

A hungry cat will likely work for a food treat pretty reliably....

Break what you want to train it to do into little tasklets that build into the sequence you want.


What do you want the li'l fluffball to do?
0 Replies
 
islandgirl
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 08:43 am
I have a cat that adopted me one night about two years ago. She showed up on my doorstep in the middle of the night in a snowstorm. She has already trained me. She is my first and only pet. Anyway, dIowan you seem to have some knowledge of cats so I thought that I would ask. Are most cats so picky about their food? My cat will only eat one brand and flavor of cat food (Friskies Oceanfish). She ignores tuna out of the can, but will eat it grilled. Will drink 2% milk but not heavy cream. Will only eat fish if I flake it for her, but loves to shell shrimp.

It is beyond me how anyone could get a cat to do any tricks. My kitty is friendly and lovely, but a snob. It's funny, I never thought of myself as a cat person, but I've definitely been suckered into it recently.

MK
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 11:54 am
The thing to keep in mind is that you aren't training the cat... the cat is training you.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:00 pm
DrewDad wrote:
The thing to keep in mind is that you aren't training the cat... the cat is training you.


Absolutely. I am still learning tricks.
All of the cool things Stinky does are responses he has taught me to use, except for I can make him talk before he gets his can o' the day.

As to picky.....yes they are. He will leave a can of the "wrong" food go til it turns rancid, and shoot evil looks at me from the edge of the can every time he catches my eye.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:35 pm
dlowan wrote:

What do you want the li'l fluffball to do?


Play Bach? Hellifino. Like I said the only thing that ever occurred to me was to come on command. I'm not sure what else would be common to teach a cat.

Maybe to play fetch? I had a friend whose cat would do this.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:41 pm
Stinky gives me a backscratch (he was declawed prior to our introduction)every night before he jumps up and expects a thourough petting himself.

He fetches (when he wants to).

He rolls over and plays dead. (this must be followed by belly pets)

Cats each have their own personality.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:50 pm
Seriously...I watched an interview with a guy who had a bunch of cats, and used them in an act.

They would do amazing things like walk on their front paws only, go on tightropes, etc.

He said that you must figure out what the cat enjoys doing, then make it worthwhile for him

He said, jokingly, pointing at one of the cats "This one likes to sit", however, he was able to work it into a trick where it required one cat to be very still, while another one was doing something. You think that's nothing? Try to get a cat to sit in one place because you want it to.

I think it helps if you get a young cat, one with more curiosity than usual, and who shows signs of being extra smart.

When roland was just past kittenhood, he displayed his intelligence by welcoming problems, he loved to figure stuff out, and what an objects limits were.

I wanted to be able to brush his teeth, and give him a bath, so I slowly worked, at his pace, making water play fun. He has no fear of water, and in fact, basically refuses to drink from a bowl, he prefers running water from the faucet.

I have an pilates ball, and thougt it would be cool for him to balance on it.

I secured the ball in such a way that it wouldn't roll or move, then put him on it, and did massaging and stracthing, making it a good place in his mind. I got to the point where I was just holding the ball steady with a hand, as he stood there, and although he didn't (or I should say hasn't) done it himself yet, he would if he felt he was doing something worthwhile.

Oh, he also like to stand on my back when I'm bent over, and lie down there too.

His favorite trick is fetch. At first he would drop it on the floor in front of where you were sitting, but he soon learned it wouldn't get thrown unless it was dropped in your lap. He'll do that for 20 minutes or more.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 03:18 pm
Robert Gentel wrote:
dlowan wrote:

What do you want the li'l fluffball to do?


Play Bach? Hellifino. Like I said the only thing that ever occurred to me was to come on command. I'm not sure what else would be common to teach a cat.

Maybe to play fetch? I had a friend whose cat would do this.



Don't all cats come on request?


Mine always have.


Offering a tiny food treat ought to fix that.


Mine have naturally played fetch, too.



The thing with cats is most get way bored before a dog, for instance, would, so a key is very short training sessions. Also, the more time you spend with your cat, the more socialised it will be, and the more rewarding just your company will be, and the more relaxed it will be with you.


Teaching to fetch would be about staying close to the cat, and rewarding serendipitous behaviours. Eg...cat happens to bring object you have thrown closer to you...you are close enough to praise and reward instantly. Next time, cat is rewarded for bringing object a tiny bit closer to you and so on. If cat naturally fetches, it is easier. Of course, if cat comes when you ask, it will be easier, since it may well be carrying object when it does so.


Just stop way before the cat gets bored....this will vary from individual to individual.

They are very curious, so will naturally explore any object and love to climb. Go with that.

Oscar, for instance, loved climbing ladders, so it was easy to "train" him to do so just by moving closer to one (he would naturally follow) and rewarding his natural impulses. When I was painting, it was simple to train him to climb one ladder when I asked him to (by chirping at him and acting excited near the ladder), run along the scaffold board thingy, and run down the other ladder.



Phoebe just naturally learned hand signals for come here, stop, and go away. She hated going away, so she would stop every few steps and yell at me when she was going, which was very funny.

She also naturally learned to jump up from the floor into my arms. She did it when she was especially loving, and soon was happy to do it when I looked at her intently and chirped at her. Er...you may need to discourage the cat from doing that when your back is turned and you are stepping out of the shower.

Your cat's natural behaviours will indicate to you what it will be easy to train it to do.


Another funny one that all my cats like is so dumb I am almost ashamed to mention it. It's dumb of me, not them.


I can lie on my back and put my legs in the air, then place the cat over my (bare) feet. They relax and sort of lengthen and dangle.....then you can do an accordion imitation by lengthening and shortening them by moving your feet further apart and closer together.


Embarrassed


That's just about having the cat love being handled and being really trusting, and practicing until they are really relaxed up there. Even Miranda, who doesn't like being held, relaxes happily when I do that.


I think Bach may be too much to ask. I don't think those wittle paws would span an octave.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 03:37 pm
hmm...I don't know about them becoming bored so much as them thinking they have gotten all they can at this time from the encounter.

Cats will watch a bug on the wall forever, as it could very well fall into their clutches any moment.

Cats do not have an altruistic bone in their furry little bodies.
They look at everything in terms of "How is this going to benefit me, right now"

Give him something to do that will benefit him, or figure out how to make what you want them to do benefit them.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 03:43 pm
Here's another embarrassing thing that was lots of fun.

Embarrassed

Phoebe, as I said, learned a number of hand signals just naturally (obviously I gestured when I asked her to do, or not do, stuff). She also learned a number of words.

This meant I could ask her to do stuff in a really conversational way...she would attend to the words and signals she knew even when they were embedded with lots of other words.

I realised one day, when I saw people who vere visiting gasping in awe, that I just naturally spoke to her as I would to a human, ie I did not use commands alone, but I would ask her nicely, and explain why I was asking. It LOOKED as though she was responding to a really complex discussion in a preternaturally intelligent way.


I am ashamed to say that I showed off after that.

Eg. She would always come and meet visitors, so I did not need to ask her to come, but she would wait until asked before she actually greeted them. She naturally greeted each visitor in turn, but I could subtly indicate who she should greet next just by looking at her, then at them...but I could SAY "Phoebe, meet xxxx" and she would, as if understanding, go where I had indicated.


I could also indicate to her to leave some people (i e those with allergies) alone, but it LOOKED as though she had understood when I explained to her why she should not go and sit on them.

I could also ask her to leave when people were eating. She hated that, so she would go off complaining bitterly. She would respond, apparently, to a complex sentence when it was time for her to come back.


I would call her name...and she always answered, which was funny.....then say we had finished eating and she could come back. Of course, all she needed was to hear her name spoken invitingly.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 03:44 pm
why do you want to train a cat? other than it being 'cool', do you have any specific reasons or goals?
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 04:05 pm
Cats adore me for a combo of reasons: a) I'm allergic, and b) I love them.
Jo's here, zooooooooooooooom. Especially if the cat is abyssinian.

However allergic I was, my husband arrived with cats, which I'd no knowledge of, my mother despising them for what now seems to me to be superstitious reasons (they kill babies in carriages). It took me about a minute and a half to love them.

Anyway, no particular tricks, though I did get a semi feral cat to let me brush it. Big coup.

Cats in my presence have been watchers, always taking in the lay of the land. I'd not want to interfere much with that seeming primary mode - but maybe I have more to learn.



Cat memory - we were at Villa d'Este, the garden of fountains near Rome. It started to pour rain. We were the only people wandering through, even in the rain. We got a coffee before leaving.. and there at the protected tables were the garden workers, playing with the cats with some strings, probably garden ties..
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 04:22 pm
Off topic -


There is a book of essays about Rome written in the fifties by Iforgethername, with the best piece I've read about cats, describing the colony in piazza Vittorio Emanuele. I've got a printout of it, somewhere in this house..






aha, I found her name on google on my own post here somewhere - Eleanor Clark, in Rome and a Villa.

Well, one day I may find the few pages and either link them or type them.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Feline Leukemia - Contagiousness - Question by CDobyns
A big hound dog killed BBB's little Dolly dog today - Discussion by BumbleBeeBoogie
Tigers and Pigs... - Discussion by gungasnake
Fertilizer - Discussion by cjhsa
The Imaginary Garden - Discussion by dlowan
Informed Consent? - Discussion by roger
Me a cat hater? - Discussion by Craven de Kere
Dressing dogs - Question by TooFriendly112
My pussy getting weaker.. - Question by pearl123
Choosing good dog food? - Discussion by roycovin
 
  1. Forums
  2. » How to train a cat
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/21/2021 at 03:09:05