Are Cats Trainable?


Believe it or not, changing her cat's behavior led Behavior United, LLC co-founder Jackie Moyano down the path towards reward based force-free training. We're excited to share this blog post for the fourth annual #train4rewards blog party!

There is nothing like hearing glass break after 11pm while you're in bed. Hearing glass shatter made Jackie and her husband leap out of bed and run to the kitchen. Turns out their newly-adopted one-year-old cat had knocked a wine glass off of an open shelf. Worse yet, he was trying to eat the glass! This was a dangerous behavior that had to be changed.

Desperately seeking a solution, Jackie read Pamela Johnson's book, "Think Like a Cat". Jackie changed her own behavior based on the advice in this book. In turn her cat, Slinky, changed his behavior too! After receiving more mental enrichment and physical exercise, especially before mealtimes, Slinky stopped knocking glasses onto the floor.


Jackie was positively reinforced for changing Slinky's behavior. Turns out, changing behavior is fun! Teaching Slinky a stationing behavior also helped keep him off of the countertops. Stationing is when an animal goes to a specific location and stays there. It’s an easy behavior to get started. Reward your cat for sitting on a mat. At first, you'll need to feed your cat quickly for sitting on the mat. Progress to feeding more slowly, until you can feed one treat every few minutes. Consider using an automatic feeder, like the Pet Tutor, as a hands free way to keep your cat in place!  Put your mat away when you're not training. Bring it out when you want your cat to stay in one place.

Still not convinced that cats are trainable? What if I told you that cats were trained spy's during the cold war?

Cats are fun to train! Just like all animals, they are learning all the time. Curious about what else cats can learn to do? Need your cat and dog to coexist peacefully? Contact us so we can share our ideas and let the cat out of the bag!