You pick up the cat comb and your cat vanishes. You get out the cat carrier and your cat vanishes. Cats are always learning and we can be very, very slow realising what’s happening. If combing tangled hair hurt the last time, it’s natural your cat will want to avoid that happening again. If your cat was frightened by a car trip and then a visit to some nasty stranger who stared close up at it, squidged its belly and felt its joints then, as often happens, stabbed it in the back with something sharp, it will want to avoid a repeat of that too. Don’t try reasoning with your cat. None of us have ever met a single cat that understands conditional sentences. Instead try associating unpleasant objects with positives. Leave the cat carrier always open, with comfortable bedding in it, perhaps even a few food treats. Groom you cat in different locations, not always the same place and give potent rewards before and after.
Have Patience And Be Realistic
While dogs respond well to food and then verbal rewards, cats are different. It can be difficult to bribe a cat.
Put some thought into exactly what your cat enjoys most – being stroked – fresh prawns – a feather on a string – a warm spot to lie in – and use access to the most potent reward in your cat’s training.
Be realistic with your expectations. Progress a step at a time and have clear goals for what you want your cat to achieve.
If you sense your cat is restless or not enjoying the session stop and try again later.
If your cat is fearful, don’t even try training until its fear has reduced to a point where it is willing to eat with you right beside its food bowl.