How To Train A Cat - The Ultimate Guide

how to train a cat

When you hear about cat training,  you usually look at the person like they are joking. But the truth is cat training is possible and many training schools out there help you with it.  

Cat training can help a lot of purr parents with correct behaviour problems,  teach obedience & discipline as well as teach them tricks that would make them a crowd pleaser.  But most importantly it helps you build communication with your cat like you never would have thought before. 

This blog will list down some tips to help out with your most frequently asked question,  ‘how to train a cat’.  But before that,  we need to understand why we need to train our furry cuddle buddies. 

Importance Of Training A Cat

Contrary to popular belief,  cats need both mental and physical enrichment.  Without proper stimulation,  they can become bored,  leading to issues like destructive behaviour,  weight gain,  depression,  and health problems.  

Training provides mental and physical exercise for your cat while strengthening the bond between you.  It's a fun activity that builds trust and deepens your understanding of your cat's personality and body language.  Additionally,  training can eliminate undesirable behaviours such as scratching,  biting,  and counter-surfing. 

As we understand here why you must train your cats now,  we need to know everything that is needed before we start with the training. 

Things We Need To Know Before Starting Training

Here is a list of stuff you need to know before starting your cat training sessions. 

Stock up treats

To begin with,  it is important to understand that cats need motivation.  Unlike dogs,  cats are not easily excited and willing to learn unless the rewards they receive are worthwhile.  To optimize your training sessions,  make sure you have a good supply of their favourite treats and delicious cat food. 

Did you know that dopamine is released in a cat's brain as a result of a feeling of eager anticipation? 

Determine the ideal time

Cats have a predictable daily routine of hunting,  eating,  grooming,  and sleeping.  Schedule training sessions right after their nap when they are eager to play and more focused.  They will also be hungry,  which will motivate them to put in extra effort for treats. 

how to train a cat

Short training sessions

Cats tend to have short attention spans,  so it is advisable to conduct training sessions that are under 15 minutes.  This duration is sufficient to achieve the desired goal while ensuring your cat remains focused.  It is important to remember that progress should be prioritized over perfection. 

Avoid distractions

A cat that is easily distracted will struggle to concentrate on the training.  Therefore,  it is essential to find a quiet location that is free from other pets and family members.  Any background noise can disrupt the training session and render it ineffective. 

Training is a moment in the day when both cats and humans are paying full attention to each other. 

how to train a cat

Consistency with signals and cues

To prevent confusion,  it is crucial to utilize consistent signals or cues for the desired command.  This could include hand signals or verbal cues.  Ensuring that all family members are aware of the correct signals and cues will help maintain consistency throughout the training process. 

Train only one skill at a time

Attempting to teach multiple skills to a cat simultaneously can overwhelm them.  It is advisable to only introduce a new skill once your cat has become proficient in the previous one. 

how to train a cat

Practice,  practice,  practice

Repetition is key in reinforcing your cat's behaviour.  Once your cat has mastered a skill,  it is important to consistently practice it outside of formal training sessions to ensure that they do not forget it. 

Utilize positive reinforcement

It is more effective to focus on encouraging the desired behaviour rather than trying to discourage unwanted behaviour.  Yelling,  swatting,  or using sprays as punishment for undesired actions will not yield positive results and may cause your cat to avoid you. 

Be patient

It requires time to learn new behaviours or address behaviour issues.  It is important to be patient with your cat as it learns a new skill,  as they are highly capable and intelligent. 

Finally,  let’s address the main question of how to train a cat. 

Tips: How To Train A Cat

Start with something easy

When training your cat,  it's important to start with the basics.  Begin by teaching them that the "click" means they get a treat.  Then,  move on to teaching them to sit and target training.  These foundation skills will prepare you for more advanced behaviours. 

Reward immediately and consistently

The clicker captures the correct behaviour and informs your cat about the rewarded behaviour.  To ensure successful clicker training,  it's important to click at the exact moment your cat performs the desired behaviour.  

Remember to always give your cat a treat after clicking,  as the click signifies a reward.  When a behaviour is rewarded,  it is likely to be repeated.  Once your cat learns which behaviour earns treats,  they will offer that behaviour consistently,  making it easier for you to introduce a signal later on. 

Find the right reward

Every cat has different treat preferences,  so there is no universal training treat.  Some cats prefer dry treats or kibble,  while others prefer wet food or squeezable treats.  It's important to have multiple treats that your cat enjoys. 

For more difficult behaviours,  your cat may require a higher-value treat.  A high-value treat doesn't have to be expensive; it's simply something special in your cat's eyes. 

This will vary for each cat,  but typically,  it will be something they don't have regularly.  For example,  if your cat only eats wet food for meals,  they may see dry food as an extra special treat!

Don't punish the bad behaviour

Cats don't respond well to punishment.  It can cause stress,  and anxiety,  and damage the trust you're building.  Instead of punishing,  try redirecting or distracting your cat.  Understand why they engage in negative behaviours  and prevent or teach alternative ones.  For instance,  if your cat scratches the couch,  teach them to scratch a more suitable option through positive reinforcement like clicker training. 

Be consistent with your cues

To prevent any confusion,  it is important to consistently employ the same voice commands and hand signals when working on a particular behaviour.  Additionally,  anyone else who engages in training with your cat must be familiar with the correct commands and signals. 

Train at the right time

To ensure successful training,  it is important to carefully consider the timing of your sessions.  Optimal times include right after a nap or in the morning when your cat is refreshed and eager for stimulation.  

Another advantageous time is just before mealtimes,  as hunger can make your cat more motivated to work for treat rewards.  Additionally,  if your cat tends to be lively at bedtime,  engaging in a training session before you retire for the night can assist in tiring them out. 

Involve others

Incorporating other members of your household into your cat's training process can be advantageous.  This is particularly crucial if you are focusing on eliminating any undesirable behaviours.  All household members need to be aware of the training approach and objective so that they can effectively and consistently address any problematic behaviour. 

Furthermore,  involving others in the training process also aids in enhancing your cat's socialization skills. 

FAQ: How To Train A Cat

What if my cat isn't food-motivated?

If your cat isn't motivated by treats,  try different options until you find one they like.  Give them time to get used to new food,  as some cats are hesitant to try new things. 

The feeding schedule also plays a role.  If your cat free feeds,  they may not be as motivated because they can eat whenever.  Switching to planned meals will make a difference in their willingness to work for treats. 

How to train my cat to stop peeing everywhere?

To stop your cat from peeing everywhere,  first,  rule out any medical issues with a vet visit.  If it's behavioural,  clean existing urine spots thoroughly to remove scent markers.  Provide multiple litter boxes in quiet places and use your cat's preferred litter type.  

Use positive reinforcement when your cat uses the litter box and avoid punishment for accidents.  Consider using a pheromone spray to discourage marking.  If the problem continues,  consult a vet or animal behaviourist for personalized advice and solutions.  Consistency,  patience,  and a positive approach are essential for successful training. 

How to train a cat to sit?

To train a cat to sit,  use positive reinforcement.  Start with a treat in hand,  and hold it above the cat's head.  As the cat follows the treat,  gently guide them into a sitting position.  Once seated,  reward them with the treat and offer praise.  Repeat this process regularly,  gradually reducing the treat dependency. 


Training a cat may seem like a daunting task,  but with the right approach and patience,  it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your feline friend.  Remember to use positive reinforcement techniques,  such as treats and praise,  to encourage desired behaviours.  

Consistency is key in training,  so make sure to set aside regular training sessions and stick to them.  And don't forget to be patient! Cats have their unique personalities and may take time to learn new commands or tricks.  

With time and dedication,  you can build a strong bond with your cat through training.  So go ahead and give it a try - you might be surprised at what your furry companion can achieve! 

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