What are some signals a cat gives to indicate he is no longer interested in the training lesson?

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If you’re really lucky, your cat will simply yawn in your face and walk away to tell you school is out. However, because people often press the point and carry a training activity beyond the recommended 10 minutes, the result is a cat who is just “not interested” but really annoyed at your silly human nonsense.

A cat’s tail will always communicate clear signs of impending annoyance. If the fur on the tail starts to fluff out slightly or the motions go from a gentle wag to lashing or whipping, it’s time to declare a recess. Also watch the general expression in the eyes.

In the world of cats, it’s rude to make direct eye contact. If he looks you straight in the eye with a hard, blazing expression, even a person should get the message: “I have had enough.” This expression will likely be augmented by a backward flattening of the whiskers and a lowering of the ears.

If a cat turns its ears all the way back and holds them flat against his head, watch out. By then, however, the grumbling and growling has likely started. Cats communicate through body language and when they progress to vocalizations, the general tenor of the commentary runs toward, “You are seriously not listening to me.”

Annoying a cat in a training session is the most counterproductive thing you can do. Cats will only engage in behaviors that they feel adds something to their lives, like food. If you want them to do X, and all X does is annoy them and interrupt nap time, they’ll likely ignore you.

Stop any training efforts at the first sign of irritation and let the cat decide when he’s ready to try again. Cats are most active at the twilight hours near dawn and around dinner time. Those are good periods in the day to try to teach them desired behaviors.

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