To combat the loneliness caused by the pandemic, many people have adopted puppies and kittens. But few inexperienced owners expected that a cat would need training similar (or almost) to that of its canine friend. Although the cat is more autonomous, it must be accompanied to adapt to life with us.
Unlike dogs, cats have never used their abilities to herd or accompany humans on hunts. As a result, their relationship to our species is diametrically opposed, but they should not be banished for all that.
As ScienceAlert reports, research has shown that mistigids are indeed able to respond to our social cues and perform a variety of tasks. Even better, according to Nottingham Trent University researcher Lauren Finka and Daniel Cummings of the charity Cats Protection, “the cat can even get many benefits from it”.
First of all, training can be useful on a daily basis: simple techniques can be used to help our four-legged friends feel comfortable in a transport cage, to tolerate grooming or even to support visits to the vet.
Some may even appreciate being taught to check (provided there are treats, of course). More specific case: training can even be a real asset in a shelter and help the cat develop more affinities with people. Consequently, an emotional bond will be created and its chances of being adopted will be maximized.
However, cats are not born with an innate appetite for training sessions and therefore need to be handled with care and love from the age of 2 weeks, the idea being that they understand that we are not their enemies.
Educate safely… but calmly
To begin with, it is important to familiarize the animal by finding a place that inspires serenity. He should be able to distance himself if necessary and you should end the session as soon as you feel he wants to.
To make training fun, consider rewarding the cat with treats by gradually increasing the time between each. Don’t hesitate to encourage him and show him your support (it’s time to be gaga). Finally, to keep your pet’s full attention, each session should last no more than a few minutes.
If during its training your cat shows signs of discomfort, such as turning its head away, licking its nose, shaking its head, lifting its paw, suddenly grooming itself, flapping its tail or even flattening its ears, your session would be better cut short. You’re just not welcome around him at this point. In this situation, there is no point in raising your voice, it can scare him.
Cat owners are witnesses to this: felines are generally much less involved in exercise than dogs and prefer a good nap. So after the effort, don’t hesitate to offer him comfort (with a purring supplement).