You may have noticed that your cat has worked out cause and effect and trots or even runs to the kitchen to the noise of its food container being opened. It has trained itself. For those of you familiar with dog training but who have never tried to train a cat there is a fundamental fact. A cat’s a cat, not a dog that purrs! Dogs may respond to verbal discipline but confident cats respond wonderfully only to rewards, primarily food but also to toys or access to pleasure. Cats with little confidence are extremely difficult either to obedience train or train to play games.
As with our kids, the very young are most open to learning. Adult cats can certainly be trained but it takes a little more understanding of all their feelings and emotions, and they usually need to unlearn doing what they’re already doing before learning what you want to teach them. Start training as soon as your kitten joins your household. Train in a small, quiet room, just before mealtimes or just after awakening and without other animals present. Keep training sessions short, no more than two or three minutes per session.