The Only 3 Things You Need To Teach Your Cats
As many of the articles here on SoPurrfect.com show, cats can be just as smart as dogs when it comes to being trained to do things. You can teach your kitty to roll over, come when you call, and even shake hands! Before you get down to the finer details of training your cat to do fun feline tricks, though in this post I cover the only 3 things that every cat owner needs to teach their cat to do to ensure that their life goes smoothly!
If you are raising a new kitten then you can teach them these things from the start, so that as they grow into an adult cat they have them ingrained as part of their lifestyle. But, you can teach any cat new tricks (it’s not just for old dogs), so if you have recently started fostering an adult cat for instance, these tips will still apply.
Ready? Here, without further ado, are 3 things you need to teach your cats…
1. Having their feet touched
Kitties don’t always like having their feet touched, and with good reason. Though they may feel tough to your touch, cat paws are actually incredibly sensitive. This is because in order to hunt effectively cats paws need to be packed with sense receptors so that they can feel the minutest movements.
However, most cat owners will need to touch their cat’s feet or paw pads at some point in their lives. Whether they need a snaggle claw trimmed or a splash of cookie batter wiped off the fur of their feet, a painful thorn trapped in their paw that you want to removed gently with tweezers or a scratch that you want to take a look at – it’s important then your cat is comfortable with you touching their toes whenever you need to.
So, it is a very good idea to train your feline friend to have their feet touched from a young age. You can start teaching them that it is okay to let you touch their feet simply by approaching them when they are in a relaxed mood, for instance when they are dozing beside you on the couch or snuggling in your lap.
Very gently, run your hands over their legs and down to their paws. It may take a few tries over a few days before they let you touch their paw pads, but the effort will be worth it. When, as an adult cat, their paws need attention in some way, they will be much less likely to lash out at you or try and wriggle their paws out of your grasp!
In fact, if you play your cards right, your kitty may even associate having their paws stroked with playtime and they might start to enjoy it! This is one of the first things we do with all the foster kittens that come through our care. By the time they leave, they love to snuggle with us on the lounge and get a PAWsome massage.
2. Get them used to everyday noise
The everlasting battle between cats and vacuum cleaners is well known to all pet owners. It would be pretty difficult to train your kitty to positively love loud noises but you can certainly get them accustomed to managing noise so that they do not get panicky and frantic the next time that someone accidentally knocks a china mug onto the floor or wants to do some last minute vacuuming before the in-laws arrive.
How do you do it? Simple, just let your cat be exposed to some general household noise at first: the clanking of the potts as you wash up, for instance, or the sound of the lawn mower out in the back yard. Don’t be surprised if they dash for cover to start off with! Simply seek them out and talk to them calmly and gently, petting them to let them know that everything is okay. Do this every time that they hear a noise and soon enough they will stop finding everyday household noises startling and will start to accept them simply as a fact of life.
Then, you can introduce them to louder everyday noises: the vacuum cleaner is always a big one! If you have trained your kitty well, a few pets and calming words from you will allay their fears when they first hear vacuuming, or when your neighbors let off some 4th of July fireworks within earshot.
As with all of these tips, if things don’t work out perfectly to start off with, do not worry. With a little patience, a calm voice and plenty of gentle hugging, you can conquer your cat’s fear of general household noise.
If your cat is really scared of a loud noise, though – for instance firecrackers in your own backyard or a shelf full of pottery coming loose from its hinges – do not force them to stay in the room. Let them run for cover and calm themselves down. Forcing a feline to listen to ear-splitting loud noise will just terrify them (same goes for most humans – metal lovers aside!). Remember, this tip was purely aimed at getting your cat accustomed to general household noise that they will have to hear everyday.
3. Being petted as they eat
Your cat’s instincts cause them to be protective over their food, and to guard it closely. It is a good idea to let your kitty know that you are not a threat to their mealtimes by training them to let you pet them as they eat. Do this by gently approaching them, gradually at first, and giving them a few calming strokes (and speaking to them in calm, inviting tones) as they tuck in to their dinner.
Soon, your cat will think nothing of you giving them a pat on the head as they are eating! This training tip is very useful as it enables you to get close to your cat to whisk away anything that they are eating that could upset their stomachs – for instance a piece of spicy marinated fish you dropped whilst cooking – or to separate cats that are attempting to steal each other’s food.
If you have young children, it is especially important to ensure that your cat is okay with being petted by humans as they eat. Curious toddlers may not want to stop stroking your cat just because they are eating!
What do you think of these three tips as essential parts of being a cat owner? Leave us a comment with your thoughts on the three most essential training tips for all cat owners.