can you train a cat to sit

Cats can learn all sorts of commands – to sit, to roll over, to shake a paw. Cats like to do things in their own good time, so to train them we need to be really motivated, set aside some time and above all, be patient. Remember, cats are individuals and each one will react differently when training begins.

Dr. Melody R. Conklin, who is originally from Youngsville in northwest Pennsylvania, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal bioscience with a minor in wildlife and fisheries science from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park in 2003. The University of Pennsylvania was her next stop, where she graduated with a VMD in 2007. Dr. Conklin completed her MBA at Penn State Great Valley in 2017 while working in companion animal general practice until 2015. At that time, she joined Zoetis’ Veterinary Medical Information and Product Support department. Dr. Conklin is currently employed full-time as a veterinarian in a companion animal practice and serves as a consultant for Zoetis US Petcare Medical Affairs. She resides in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, together with Vegeta, Fluffzor, Poof, and.

Other types of learning

If you can recall a time when you had a certain drink and got so wasted and hungover that you never wanted to have it again, you will be familiar with single-event learning. As the name implies, it refers to learning from an event that occurs only once. From an evolutionary perspective, it appears that this knowledge could be useful in preventing cats (or other animals) from consuming harmful substances in the future. If your cat has a terrible first experience visiting the vet in a carrier, it may be the result of a single incident.

When something occurs repeatedly and your cat becomes accustomed to it, it becomes habitual and loses its meaning. For instance, if your cat used to flinch at the sound of the dishwasher but now becomes accustomed to it, they are learning through habituation. Stated differently, they lose a learned behavioral response (startling at the sound). Benign objects, such as the sounds produced by the washing machine or dishwasher, which your cat should have grown accustomed to as a kitten, can teach your cat new skills. Sensitization is the opposite of habituation and occurs when an unlearned behavioral response (such as startling at the sound of the dishwasher) becomes increasingly severe. If the dishwasher were dangerous, the cat would learn to avoid it, so this makes sense; however, since it’s not dangerous, it just makes the dishwasher an unneeded source of stress. Another scenario would be if you live with young children and have a timid cat. Although many parents would hope that the cat becomes accustomed to the sounds the children make, it’s also possible that the cat becomes more sensitive to those noises and finds them to be frightening.

Cats never stop learning about people or other cats throughout their lives, but after the sensitive period for socialization, kittens especially need to continue learning about the social world. A variety of good experiences during this period will enable them to develop into self-assured and amiable adults. Additional learning methods include focusing on something because they observe you focusing on it (social facilitation) or focusing on a toy because you or another cat are playing with it (stimulus enhancement). Researchers discovered that when kittens watch an adult cat perform a task first, especially if the adult cat is their mother, they pick up the skill more quickly. Like other animals, cats also exhibit certain behaviors known as modal action patterns that are universal to them and do not require learning. An example is the crouch-stalk-pounce used in hunting. But these behaviors can change through learning. Mother cats teach their kittens how to hunt by first bringing them dead prey, and then later bringing them alive prey to catch. As of this writing, there is only one known instance of a cat learning to mimic a person’s actions in response to the directive “Do as I do,” but further study is required to fully evaluate this strategy.

The Benefits of Training Cats

As we just saw, cats are intelligent animals, and it can be quite advantageous to train them. Veterinary behaviorist Dr. says, “It’s so important – training them, doing clicker training.” Wailani Sung. It’s crucial to teach them fundamental skills like how to touch and go to your mat. [Cat guardians] will truly form a closer bond with their cat if they can begin doing that. ”.

When it comes time to take your cat to the veterinarian, this is one situation where training can really make a difference. Many cats will not have their teeth and claws placed inside a carrier because they have come to associate the carrier with a trip to the veterinarian. However, research has shown that cats can be made to enjoy getting into their carriers, which makes visiting the veterinarian much simpler.

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria tested twenty-two cats that were housed in their laboratory for a study that was published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science. The cats were divided into two groups at random: one that was taught to use the cat carrier and the other that wasn’t The cat was first trained to go in the bottom of the carrier as part of the training plan, and eventually, the cat was trained to go in the carrier for a 50–90 second car ride. There were twenty-eight training sessions for the cats, lasting roughly eight minutes each. Depending on their preferences, the cats worked for tuna, meat sticks, or different kinds of cat biscuits, and they were paid roughly four treats every minute.

The cats had to either meet the session’s objective or have completed six sessions at that point in order to advance to the next phase of training. Just three of the eleven cats in the training group finished the course. Two cats made it to the penultimate stage, and six more cats made it to the final but did not complete it. Cats from this group and the control group were taken for a mock vet exam before and after the training, with one scientist acting as the cat’s owner and another as the veterinarian. The cats’ behavior in the car, during the vet exam, and while being placed in the carrier were all observed by the scientists, along with their responses on the Cat Stress Score, a standardized stress test.

Based on their behavior and Cat Stress Scores, the cats who were trained to use the carrier were generally less stressed. During the car ride, the trained cats showed less signs of panting or hiding, and some of them even consumed treats. Compared to the untrained cats, the trained cats’ veterinary examinations were finished much faster. The majority of the time, the vet exam could be finished in its entirety because the cats made fewer attempts to flee and spent less time hiding (sometimes it ended early because the cat would not tolerate having its rectal temperature taken). Additionally, the cats preferred to remain in the bottom of the carrier during the vet exam, indicating that it was a safe place for them, according to the scientists who used a type of carrier with an opening top.

Should these findings motivate you to teach your cat to use a carrier, an outline for training can be found in the appendix (refer to page 244). It would be wise to periodically schedule “reminder” sessions for your cat after they have finished training, to help them maintain positive associations with the carrier. It’s also a good idea to leave the carrier out, like in the living room, where your cat can choose to relax and where it can become a regular piece of furniture (instead of something that indicates a trip to the vet) (to continue to build positive associations) Cats can even be trained to consent to a blood test at the veterinarian, according to evidence.

The effects of training on cats in shelters have been the subject of additional research on the advantages of cat training. One study, which was published in Animals, examined the possibility of teaching tricks to stray cats. Depending on the cat’s level of fear, the tricks included sitting, spinning, high-fiving, and nose-touching a chopstick or the trainer’s finger. Each cat participated in fifteen five-minute clicker training sessions spread over two weeks. At the conclusion, 79 percent had mastered the skills of nose-touching the target, spinning, high-fiving, and sitting. Even the most bashful cats learned a few tricks from the training instead of hiding at the back of their cage. This outcome demonstrates that any cat can benefit from trick training. Furthermore, it appears likely that the training sessions assisted timid cats in developing positive relationships with people.

Another study examined the benefits of training frustrated shelter cats, and it was published in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine. Some of the cats that are brought to the shelter will pace, gnaw on the bars, stick their paw through the bars, spill food or water from the bowl, and other behaviors. Although their actions may give the impression that they have had a wild party and destroyed the area, they are actually expressing their frustration at being confined to the cage or room. Since the cats’ frustration is clearly a welfare concern, BC SPCA researchers investigated the possibility that a training program might be beneficial. Thankfully, frustration is rare: only fifteen of the 250 cats evaluated for this study were found to be frustrated. The eight cats in the control condition and the seven remaining cats in the training condition were randomly assigned to be either the frustrated cats or the control group. In the training condition, the cats were taken out of their cages four times a day for ten-minute training sessions in a different room. They were trained to give a high five in response to the cue “Give me five,” using food rewards and a clicker. Every day, poop samples were collected and tested for the hormone cortisol, which is a gauge of arousal. The researcher evaluated the cats’ friendliness in addition to keeping an eye on their behavior through video cameras in their cage.

The outcomes demonstrated that training helped the irritated cats. They groomed themselves normally, lay comfortably on their sides, rubbed their bodies or heads on objects in the cage, and sat at the front of the cage more often—all indications that they were happy. On the other hand, the cats in the control group eventually lost interest in attempting to flee, usually after six days. They spent a lot of time sleeping, did not eat as much, and did not properly groom themselves. Cats in the training group had greater levels of immunoglobulin A in their feces, which can guard against upper respiratory infections. Consistent with this conclusion, during the study period, the control group had a significantly higher chance of contracting an upper respiratory infection. In addition to the actual training, the activity included time spent with a human and time spent outside of the cage. Further research on the role of training is necessary because any one of these factors, or their combination, may have contributed to these positive outcomes.

If you decide to try training, concentrate on skills that will improve your cat’s welfare (like learning how to use a carrier, brush their teeth, take their medication, and clip their nails) or enhance their cognitive development. Starting this training early on in a kitten’s life will help shield them from forming the unfavorable associations that many adult cats do. Keep sessions short and make them fun. Give your cat the option to participate or not—it’s okay if they decide to back out! Additionally, to keep your cat motivated, give them positive reinforcement for something they enjoy. Even for things the cat needs to learn, training sessions should ideally be enjoyable pursuits for the two of you. Additionally, they can significantly impact grooming, which is covered in the upcoming chapter, and veterinary visits.

FAQ

Can cats be trained to sit and stay?

There are three signals/requests that, if your dog or cat knows them, will make your life a pleasure. In fact, in certain cases these signals will save your pet’s life. These signals are “sit,” “stay,” and “come,” and they are all easy to teach.

How long does it take to teach a cat to sit?

Throughout training, try to keep sessions to a maximum of three minutes long and then give your cat a break. If you can stick to three, three-minute sessions a day, you should hopefully be able to get your cat sitting in response to your verbal cue within seven days.

How do you train a cat to sit up?

Another approach is luring, when you use a treat to lure the cat into position. For example, if you want to get your cat to sit, you can put a treat in front of their nose and lift the treat up and back. As the cat’s head follows the treat, their butt will go down and they will sit.

How do you teach a cat no?

Reprimand your cat gently. Avoid screaming, as this can upset your cat. Simply say, “No” when it engages in a negative behavior. If your cat stops the behavior when you ask, reward it with treats, a toy, or praise. If your cat does not listen when you say “No,” try adding a small clap as well.