Ever Tried To Train A Kitty?

Other than to use a litterbox, I mean. The greatest animal trainer in the world (in my opinion, anyway) Gunther Gebel-Williams, said in the closing of his autobiography that the only animals he has never been able to train were his wife’s , Sigrid’s housecats.

My little Himalayan-Persian cat Susie is no exception. I did see her trap a housefly between her two front paws once, but other than that, just meeting me at the door (and bitching) when I drag my sorry ass in from work every morning, and snugglin’ up when I go to bed are her only tricks.

Still, I’m curious. Does your cat “fetch” or anything? Susie likes to chase the laser-pointer light we play with and sometimes she brings stuff to bed like those twist-ties from garbage bags, but I don’t know if I could actually train her to do stuff.

This may be some of the “mystique” of cats, do you think? We love them (those of us who do!) because we cannot figure them out?



My dad trained our cat Smudge to scratch on the screen door of our sliding glass door whenever he wanted to go out. You see, the cat had gotten in the habit of occasionally using the screen as a scratching post, and had done significant damage to the horizontal wires, and my dad decided he would teach the cat not to scratch on the screen door, so he proceded to pitch the cat out the door whenever he caught him at it.

Go back and reread the first sentence.

My cats are trained to come running when they hear food being poured in their bowls.

I trained one of my cats to kiss me on the lips. No, it is not gross, it’s not like he gives me the tongue or anything. Just a quick little peck, I’ve never gotten any dreaded cat diseases from him.

Take a tuna fish sandwich. Eat it. Call the kitty. Pucker up.

No, I don’t let him kiss me anywhere else, pervs! :slight_smile:

In one of Karen Pryor’s videos (I think it was Clicker Magic, but I could be wrong) she showed a woman who clicker trained her cat to do a whole series of obstacles. It actually isn’t that hard. The trick is finding out what will motivate them. It takes a lot longer to convince a cat that click=treat than it does a dog, and many cats will not work for just any treat, they demand something really special. If you find the right treat, charge the clicker thoroughly, and break everything down into baby steps, it is pretty straightforward. Also, if you train the family dog, a cat will often watch the entire thing, then do the trick for the reward. (“Copy cat” is a cliche for a reason.) Go to this site for more information. (I notice that they are preparing training kits for cats, so you might see what they have to say.)

Cats learn what they want to learn. My cat often leaves presents of dead mice on the doorstep which we used to pick up by the tail and throw in the bin. Now she bites their tails off and leaves them on the doorstep! Sometimes two at a time! Fantastic!

my cat knows his name, and my voice. he’s 13 years old and still comes when i call him. my mom’s always been allergic, so he’s only been in her room a handful of times over the course of his life. he knows not to go there. he knows he’s not welcome on the dining room table or the kitchen counters, and doesn’t go there either. he meows to go outside and to come in when he’s ready. he doesn’t do any BS tricks like “fetch” or “roll over” though, those being the true hallmarks of pet stupidity.

I think you have it backwards. Cats train people - not the other way around.

Any trick you think you have trained them, in fact is a ploy of theirs to get you to do something for them.

My cat, a good hunter, has been attempting to train my wife how to hunt mice, birds, lizards, snakes and other wild creatures for years. Two or three mornings a week the cat brings injured critters into my wife and drops them at her feet. At which time they go scampering off and my wife begins jumping around and calling my name. The cat will return in a few minutes with the training aid (the injured animal) and once again drop it at my wife’s feet, increasing the level of shouting and dancing.

It is usually at this time, I arrive on the scene and take the beastie away and am followed by the cat. Who gives me questioning looks asking how I could marry such an ignorant woman. I try to point out to the cat that she does know how to open cans of cat food and empty the litter box, but that doesn’t seem to suffice.

I noticed my cat asking questions of some of the other cats on the back fence and it sounded a great deal like, “Does your human ‘fetch’ or anything?”

TV (reasonably well trained by Honey, Livestock and Spam)

I think you can ‘train’ a cat about the same way you can ‘train’ a sea-monkey. In other words, you can get it to do things, but only those things that it instinctually wants to do anyway.

For example, you can train sea-monkeys to swim in a circle. How? By shining a light in a circle. Shrimp instinctually follow light. Likewise, you can get a cat to chase a toy mouse, because cats want to do that anyway.

But try to get a cat to sit on command, or bring something to you on command. They don’t do this naturally, and almost certainly won’t do it for you.

Dogs, on the other hand, have brains that are wired for social interaction, which means they can adapt their behaviour. That’s what makes them trainable.

My cats are trained for one thing … to come when I whistle. If I whistle for the one cat while the other is sitting right by me, they will meow at me as if to say “Um, I’m right here”.

They are “trained” to come running to the kitchen crying as though they haven’t eaten in 3 weeks if they hear dishes clink together.

I think Tawney has trained herself to be my backup alarm clock. :rolleyes: During the week I get up at 5.30-6.00am. I look forward every weekend to sleeping in and every weekend I’m disappointed. 6.30 Saturday morning rolls around and Tawney starts this semi-crying meow. She will not stop until I am out of bed. Same thing Sunday.

Well, I wouldn’t have believed this if I hadn’t seen it. My buddy Warren has trained his two cats to “sit”. That is, he gets a handful of food in each hand and raises his closed, food-filled fists in the air on either side of his body. The cats stand underneath the food-hands, meowing and drooling.

Warren says, “Sit.”

Most of the time they sit right away, with very little pussy-footing around.

I asked him how long it took him to get the beasts to do that.

He was like, “A long time.”

Oh, yeah.

Then Warren gives them the food treats. Duh.

I trained my cats to come to the sound of a wind chime. I wanted to have some signal that would get them to come running no matter what, which is useful for checking to see that no one slipped out the door with the delivery man, scooping up cats for the vet, etc. Because they hear their names so much and the sound of your voice even more, cats are notorious for not coming when their names are called. It is hard to train to that sound since it is not as unique as something else and will therefore be less predictive of treats to them. I chose a wind chime I had hanging indoors for my sound, but you could use anything, really, as long as it is not a common sound. To train them, I waited until they were in the room, then rang the windchime and gave them a treat they really liked (Pounce, which is kitty crack in terms of its effect :slight_smile: ). I did this three or four times, then waited a few hours and repeated the whole thing. The next day, I did it again. By the third day, they came running when I rang the windchime. Voila!

By the way, the nice side benefit of this was they stopped expecting treats whenever I went in the kitchen, which was driving me bats. Previously, I had kept the Pounce there and had given them a treat occasionally and randomly. Being unable to predict, they expected/wanted one every time I was near where I kept them. After training them to the chimes, I continued to give them treats, but only after I rang the chimes, so that I could keep that in force for them.

I have a cat. His name is Telecatster, Tele for short. Even with a name as terminally hip as that, he won’t come when called. He’s mellowed a bit with age (he’s about a year old), but when he was a little bitty kitty, he was the rowdiest little f***** I’ve ever seen. Hassled the crap out of the dog.

I don’t much care to train him, really. I mean, he’s a cat. The only useful thing he could do is catch mice, but we don’t have any mice here. He caught a bird a few weeks ago, and left half of it on the porch. We petted him and told him he was the Coolest Cat in the History of Cats, and he seemed pleased with that. What else can ya do?

But what’s this clicker training thing? I’d like to try it on my kids. :smiley:

My sister’s cat, Zap, uses the toilet. Not a litter box.


Mrs. G. once trained her cat to piss on the carpet.

My beast comes running when I whistle for him (no food involved), walks on a leash very well, and jumps off my lap when I turn off the TV with the remote at night.

Nearby (Key West) there IS a trained house cat show at Mallory Square. They jump through hoops and do other trick. A photo is on this link.

I’ve heard of cats being toilet trained…

A friend of mine used to have his cat trained to roll over and lie down.

Once he went away for a week and I was left in charge. At this time he was in the process of training the beast, and I was sworn to continue the procedure every day. This involved putting his food in his bowl, standing between the cat and the food, telling him to roll over (with an accompanying hand gesture), and then letting him eat when he did it.

Fucking thing nearly shredded me. He got to skip his training for the rest of the week.


I’ve read that when cats place dead, or nearly dead, animals at your feet, they are actually expecting you to eat them. I even seem to remember reading that to make your cat feel good about being a hunter and all, you were supposed to PRETEND to eat the mouse or whatever in front of the cat! Anyone else heard of this?

I trained my cat Skit to bite me on the ankle. When she was a toddler she and a neighborhood cat got into a scuffle. I turned a hose on them and Skit bit me. Now everytime it rains the little she-devil blames it on me and I get the bite.