Why should I teach my cat simple tricks?

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Cats are much more trainable than people think. These tiny tigers are pretty intelligent, curious and observant. Unlike dogs, though, cats will not do anything they don’t want to do—so you better have a great treat, a lot of patience and a cat clicker!

A lot of people ask why they’d even want to train a cat. Here’s why:

• No sneaking outside: Cats are just love to sneak outside where they can see all kinds of creatures like birds, other cats and dogs (and never mind that the cat is often smaller!), crickets, etc. So every time you have to open the door to go outside you’re afraid she’ll sneak out. You’re worried about someone accidentally leaving the door open. So you confine her—and then you worry about her thinking she’s being punished. If she knows “sit” and “stay” a lot of your worry will be removed.
• No games of Hide ‘n Seek: Ever try to put your cat in her carrier? It can be stressful and frustrating for both of you. If she knows “come,” it can be a lot easier.
• Less meowing: In general, cats meow to get attention from their owners. Although constant meowing can stem from a variety of causes—some of which will warrant a trip to the vet—often it is simply a bad habit or a way for the cat to get what she wants from his owner. In the latter case, some training measures should help reduce or eliminate tiresome meowing.

Training can stimulate her mentally and physically. It will alleviate boredom and tire her out. By exercising your cat regularly, reinforcing positive behavior and using voice commands to signal negative behavior, you can train your cat to stop meowing.

• Extra bonding: Some cats do seem more independent than others, but just about all cats (whether they want to show it or not) need your love and affection. Training can be a way to bond with your feline friend, because you’re using a lot of positive reinforcement and rewards.

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