Thursday, May 21, 2009 4:13 PM

Training Days

Are cats really trainable? Of course! Every living creature is (well, except maybe husbands). Cats are a bit different than other animals, however, so they merit their own special brand of training. For instance, they can’t be “broken” like a horse, and punishment won’t work with cats as it can (at least temporarily, until they turn on you!) with dogs. Persistence, however, is a key feature of any training program, even one that is being used on the most independent-minded of animals, the cat.

The first thing to know is this: a cat will only do what she wants to do. So, if you want her to behave in a certain way, you must make her want to. This can occur when she was going to do something (what ever that “something” is) anyway, or is bribed in some way. The best way, though, is when she does it to please YOU. If a cat well, OK, I’ll say it—loves you, she will want to please you. It’s a great thing, to earn the regard of a cat; they don’t bestow it lightly! I’m always amazed when it happens—you can almost mark the moment (like with Sweet Pea). But I’m sort of cat crazy, so consider the source.

Okay, let’s say you’ve just acquired a passel of kittens from your local shelter (hint, hint). I’m a firm believer in having more than one cat, for various reasons. First, they keep each other company. All critters, including humans, want to have their own species around for company, it’s just natural. Second, it’s just a lot more fun for us! Just think of all the stress of the work day melting away as you watch those crazy balls of fur beating the crap out of each other. It’s a blast—and funny as all get-out.

Next time, I’ll start with the training of your new kittens. Ha! You say. No one can train kittens! Well, you are partly right. We’ll check it out next post.

So Cute: Here's our pal Miss P.'s newest
critter, Sweetie (aka Chickie) being photo-
graphed by J. As you can see, he's getting
very attached to everybody, and really
loves company! Miss P. says she takes him
for walks with her dog D. (she carries him,
since he keeps slipping out of the leash). As
J. says, "He's going to be a 'house chicken'."
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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