How can I train a stubborn cat?

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The important thing to understand in “training” a cat is that the entire business is actually a negotiation and is based solely on how the cat interprets information. Dogs and cats do not learn the same way, and using the same methods with the two species doesn’t work.

Dogs want to please their masters. They’re pack animals who want to “perform” well for their alpha or leader. Often when treats are used as training rewards, they can be gradually discontinued and the dog is perfectly happy to repeat the activity on command for praise only.

If treats are used to get a cat to do something, don’t run out and expect the feline to deliver it won’t happen. Cats are solitary predators. They don’t waste their time doing anything unless there’s a reward in it for them. This is not, as some people suggest, a sign of selfishness, it’s the animal’s survival instinct.

To successfully train your cat, observe him and cater to his natural tendencies. Figure out the things to which the cat responds, and offer those as inducements. Also, remember that cats are “less restraint” animals. They don’t like to be held down, and they will not be compelled. The more you insist a cat do something, the less likely he is to do it.

Treat all cat training as a negotiation and alter your goals according to the response you receive. Above all, be patient, humane, and kind. Don’t assume your cat is being difficult or stubborn. He’s just being a cat, and seeing the world in the only way he can.

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