While cats certainly are more independent minded than dogs, I don’t think it’s true to say that they can’t be trained. I’ve known quite a few cats who could do things like roll over and retrieve on command.
Also, trained tigers and lions have been commonplace for years in entertainment, and they’re cats right? The occasional human gets mauled when they get annoyed, but still…
Let’s also be clear that there’s a difference between “trained” and “tamed” when we’re talking about wild animals.
I’ve trained my cat to beg for morsels food. She stands up with her front paws hanging down, looking like a meerkat. I did this by holding the food above her but not giving her any if she lifted her paws even slightly. It took about an hour for her to get the message, though she still needs reminding from time to time.
When I bow down from a standing postion, kitty will stand up on her hind legs to bump her forehead lightly against mine.
I didn’t teach her to do this. Either her previous people did, or she made it up for herself. She not only does it when prompted by a bow from me, but will meet me at the front door to do it while I’m taking off my shoes after coming in.
Our cats do all kinds of tricks - there’s the meow at the sink for us to turn the water on trick, there’s the wave your paw at the coffee table to get us to open the door trick, there’s the sit by your dish until we come to fill it trick…
They do both come when called, actually. They think there will be tuna involved (which there usually is).
We taught our big dumb cat Louie to beg for treats by putting his paws on the kitchen counter. He stretches himself in a long, furry arc, with his back paws firmly on the floor, and warbles loudly for his treat.
Of course, the problem with teaching a big (always hungry) dumb cat a trick is that he’s going to be doing it all. The. Time.
Has anyone tried (successfully) to train/teach a cat to not do something like not sit on the couch? If so, how did you do it? A friend once asked me that but since I’ve never had a cat as a pet I wasn’t able to give her good advice.
Neither of my cats are allowed on any food preparation surfaces (and the coffee table, since we usually eat there). I trained them not to do this by scaring them off any time I caught them on it. Since they’re cats, it’s not perfect, but they don’t really get on them in front of me, and we can leave food on a counter without having a cat chowing down the minute we turn our backs.
My cat, Hai does a few things. She plays fetch with a small rubber chicken, but this seems to be more of a winter game, for those days she’s trapped inside the house all day. I think she taught us to throw it for her, rather than us teaching her to get it…
She sits up and begs, waving her front paws madly for us to open the sliding glass door to the small elevated deck we have. (We call this “tiny beggins” and sometimes remind her to do it. Her reward for the trick is the door being opened)
She also gets on her hind legs and stretches up, grabbing our hand for small crunchy treats. (We call this “the squirrel”)
She also stetches up, reaching for the counter when I’m plating her wet food every evening. She also turns in circles before I put the dish of food on the floor for her. I do encourage these behaviors but they were more her original idea than mine
Oh yeah, my cat loves to jump into the empty laundry basket and get swung around - it’s like a kitty amusement park ride for her. I don’t know if that qualifies for a trick, but it is outside of normal behaviour for a cat.