Old cats learn new tricks

Yes, even cats can learn new tricks and clicker training can help.  Historically clickers have been used to train a wide variety of animals such as porpoises, zoo animals, dogs, children, so why not cats.  And they can be purchased at any pet store for roughly $1-2.

All you need is a little patience and smelly treats — cut into pea-sized bits — to whet your cat’s appetite.

1) Start with a behavior that your cat does automatically such as sitting.

2) Hold the treat above your cat’s nose. When she starts to lower her bum, say “sit,” then click and reward.  It’s just that simple.

2)  Or use this operant conditioning to reward your cat when he’s doing something you like such as using his scratching post. The same principle applies.  When he starts to scratch, click and treat.  And once your cat begins to associate “clicks” with food, he will choose behaviors that are “click worthy.”

3) Lastly, always use clicker training for positive reinforcement.  The end result with be a greater bond between the two of you.

About Cambridge Canines Pet Sitting Service

I'm a Cambridge resident who has written about feline behavior and body language for WebMD and Catnip, the Tufts Veterinary School newsletter. In a parallel universe, I also write about healthcare and have won awards for news reporting. A passion for animals led me to start my own pet sitting business in 2004. While the information in my posts has been researched, it is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly.
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