Cat School: Clicker Training for Cats

A cat looking scared

Training your cat, what?!

The concept of teaching cats house rules may seem like a pipe dream or the stuff memes are made of. After all, cats do what they want, when they want… right? 

People have varied opinions about cats that give way to myths, like cats are loners or cannot be trained. This prohibits them from learning good behaviors and bonding better with their owners.

The good news is that training your cat with a clicker is not only possible, it is also a great way to give your pet a better, safer, and more enjoyable life.

The team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital is here to tell you all about this effective training and why it will benefit your meowy companion.

The Easy Way to Train Your Cat

Clicker training is a great way to curb unwanted behavior in your cat as well as teach them some fun skills. Positive or rewards based training has long since been proven to be effective in dogs and it is also true for cats. Treats are the primary motivator for most animals, and used in conjunction with the “click” sound when your pet does something good, this only reinforces the positive behavior you want.

The basics of training your cat using a clicker are:

  1. Gather your tools! A clicker, treats as rewards, and a leash with a harness (if you choose to go outside).
  2. Click the clicker every time you feed your feline or give them a treat. Cats will learn with regular consistency if the sound is associatef with something tasty. Every time you give your cat something they enjoy, make the click noise. Over time, they will learn that something good is going to happen when the clicker comes out.
  3. Teach your cat to come when called. Your cat naturally does this when you’re about to feed them, but you can also train them to come when called when you just want them to come to you. This is especially important if you take your cat outside. To do this, have a treat handy and call your cat to the sound of the clicker. Call their name, then provide them with a small reward and click when they arrive.
  4. Teach your cat to sit on command. This may be a stretch, but many cats don’t mind this as they are keen on getting patted. If your cat has already begun to respond to the clicker, then you can simply use the clicker and say the word, “sit” while gently guiding your cat to a seated position. If they don’t respond to a clicker, raise a piece of kibble or a treat over their head. This act of looking upward naturally causes most cats to sit down.

The Advantages of Clicker Training Your Cats

The clicker is an effective way to train both cats and dogs. Over time, the clicker becomes the reward, therefore reducing the reliance on expensive, fattening treats. Clicker training can prevent accidents, because your pet will respond to your commands. You can also enjoy the great outdoors with your meowy friend knowing that they won’t run off. 

Clicker training can also be used to teach a wide variety of tricks, which can be a great way to give your pet mental enrichment, exercise, and a closer bond with you

If your cat has behavioral issues, clicker training is a good way to re-train them to respond to the behavior you want and redirect them from being naughty.

Extra Tips and Tricks

To wrap up, here are a few pointers when clicker training your cat.

  • Get to know your cat’s motivations and make use of them.
  • Use only one click, as multiple clicks can muddle the response.
  • Training should be kept to a few minutes to keep your cat’s attention.
  • Click exactly at the time of the desired behavior.
  • Use a feather wand without the feather or a bendable pole to help your cat see what they should be looking at during training.
  • Don’t punish or push your cat. Stop if they are resistant, then try again later.

Patience is everything when it comes to training a cat. Remember that with enough consistency and positive rewards, your cat will be doing tricks and commands in no time.

If you would like more information on training a cat with the clicker, please call us