How can you keep from becoming frustrated in training a cat?

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The best way to avoid becoming frustrated while training a cat to do anything is to lower your human expectations. Cats are slow decision makers. They have to see the point of what you’re trying to get them to do, and to understand whatever reward is in it for them.

Never work with a cat on learning a task for more than 10 minutes at a time. Be consistent, doing everything exactly the same way so the cat sees the pattern and responds to whatever cues or rewards you are using.

Physically, cats do not like to be restrained, and will generally fight if they are held down. Mentally, they have a similar tendency, refusing to put up with your nonsense once they are bored and done with the activity.

Always remember you are not dealing with a dog that wants to please you. In their own way, cats do want to make their humans happy, but these solitary predators have to see what’s in it for them.

Be patient and humane. Do not fuss at your cat, since your voice is the one thing hr hears every day and can easily and readily ignore. By the same token, never use any truly negative reinforcement like thumping a cat’s ears or nose — which hurts the sensitive structures — or spraying the animal with a water bottle.

Watch the cat’s natural behavior and cater to his tendencies. Adjust your goals according to your successes and do not force the issue. Most cat training is, in reality, more a negotiation than a lesson.

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