Jan 25 2016

Train a Cat is an Oxymoron


A trained cat is an oxymoron just like big shrimp, right? After all aren’t they are independent creatures who would plot to kill you if they even thought that you might attempt to train them! Actually this is a myth – maybe not the idea that some cats are plotting to kill us, as I am sure Maggie is thinking of removing me from the family tree every time she decides she needs to fly down the stairs just as I start my descent – but yes we can train our cats!

But why train a cat?

Well cats are our number one throw-away pets! Shelters are so full they are bursting at the seams. Even our animal hospital in Abbotsford, which has a dedicated space for ONE adult cat needing a home, presently has THREE cats calling our hospital home. But why are our cats being given away?

Well many will be surprised that people would buy the cute kitten and then give that grown up kitten away a few years later, or dump the cat once it becomes a senior. We have had cats left behind when people move (that truly makes my heart break) as the cat does not “fit” into their new home, some cats are needing a home when an owners pass away or move into a senior care home. But why would training our cats actually help with the throw-away pet issue our shelters are presently facing? Well “behaviour issues” are the most common reason a cat is given away and if we can solve some of those problems maybe we can save some feline-human relationships!



I wrote earlier about The 7 Steps To Keep It In The Box – preventing inappropriate urination, but owners also complain to me about scratching furniture or jumping on counters. Often this becomes an issue when owners have bought new furniture and they want a quick fix and they want it NOW! But training dogs, cats (and people) all takes time and so rather than waiting until it becomes an issue why not start training your cat now? Besides think of the conversation at your next party as you show off Fluffy’s new party tricks!

How to train your cat.

When teaching anybody, dogs, cats or humans, you need patience and you need to find out how your pet learns. Some will do anything for food rewards whereas others will do what you want just for some love. There are some great videos on YouTube that can teach you the art of training. Check out Dr. Sophia Yin who was an animal behaviorist and has some great cat (and dog) training videos. Or why not check out these videos on Fraser Valley Animal Hospital’s YouTube playlist Good Cat – training and behaviour.

And remember if you are thinking about adding to your family consider rescuing an adult cat who deserves a forever home! I did and have no regrets!

jfreeman | Life behind the exam room doors

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