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Training Cats?  
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1041 times:

Yet another cat thread. But this one, I'll spare you the pictures and the same old schtick that most of you probably don't care about anyway. This time, I want to discuss training cats. How far can cats be trained?

Now I'm not talking about basic training such as litter box or showing where the food is. Indeed my cats Turbo and Bean required essentially zero intervention on my part. When I had the mother cat, SHE showed them where the litter box was. And they have no problem with their food. I've provided them with plenty of toys and scratching posts. Plus, they have each other to keep company. So other than the occasional roll of toilet paper or paper towels that they sometimes manage to unroll (and rib to shreds), the cats are pretty much well trained.

But I'd like to take it a bit further.

First of all, I'm trying to teach Turbo how to "shake" with his right front paw. I'm actually making some progress. I use a can of kittie treats. I'll get them and call him over and sit on the floor with him. I'll repeat over and over "Turbo...SHAKE.....Turbo....Shake."

He sniffs and licks my hand and walks in circles, trying to get the treat. But I don't give it to him. When he finally sits down and lifts his front right paw, I grasp it, shake it up and down while saying "SHAKE". Then I praise him "GOOD boy Turbo". And I give him a treat and repeat for about 10 minutes.

He doesn't have it down yet, but I'm confident that he will eventually learn to "shake" on command.

The other thing is that Jen said she wants to take him outside for a walk, just like you would a dog.

Now I've never heard of "walking the CAT.

Can this be done?

Since Turbo and Bean are indoor cats, they don't even have collars on. So just putting one on them (to attach the leash harness) will probably freak him out.

So how would I do it? Would I just let him wear it for awhile? I also told Jen that if you put a leash on him, he'll just sit there. Any movement and you'll be taking him for a drag, not a walk, which I don't want.

I thought that, as with the collar, just put it on him, and just sit there for awhile until he gets used to it. Maybe try practicing around the house indoors doing a mock walk. Then, when it's time to take him outside, just do it for a few minutes at a time, preferably in the early morning or evening, when it's semi-dark outside; not in full daylight and not at night.

Plus, I'm a little concerned about him getting fleas or developing a desire to go outside. Since he's spent his whole life inside, he hasn't really missed anything. So he's not going stir crazy or chomping at the bit to go outside.

So what to do?

I won't let him freely roam outside. No way. He could get plowed by a car, mauled by a dog (although he is pretty feisty, and at 14 pounds, could probably put up a good fight), stolen, chased by kids with sticks, who knows what. I'd really just prefer him to stay inside. I'd like to get a full 15 or 20 years out of him.

34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBCAInfoSys From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1030 times:

Lord almighty.. this is out of control. I've never seen a straight guy talk about his cats so much. Whats the deal? I'm starting to worry about you...

User currently offlineScarletHarlot From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 4673 posts, RR: 56
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1027 times:

Easy, Sir Stevie...he's found that he has a heart.  Smile Nothing wrong with straight guys who love cats. I would never be with a guy who didn't.


But that was when I ruled the world
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1026 times:

would it make you happier if I went back to "bashing" illegal aliens or discussing reel to reel machines? Maybe post pictures of my Mustang Cobra again.

I could, if that's what you want.

Seriously. What's wrong with a straight guy talking about [pussy]cats? What? A straight guy can't have cats and care about them?


User currently offlineBCAInfoSys From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1021 times:

LOL.. it's a joke my friends. Even if I do think the scurrying little furballs only have one purpose.. I'll keep it to myself before April tears me a new one.  wink   devil 

Me personally, I liked your thread about best Southwestern BBQ. Now that's something I can relate to!  bigthumbsup 


User currently offlineScarletHarlot From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 4673 posts, RR: 56
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1021 times:

Sir Stevie has never been around cats - he's allergic, poor boy - so he's decided that he doesn't like them. Of course, Mr. Harlot and I are also both allergic to our cats, but that doesn't stop us from loving them.

Don't apologize, Matt. I think there's something wrong with a guy who doesn't like animals (not just cats). I am dead serious that I would never get involved with a guy who doesn't like cats.



But that was when I ruled the world
User currently offlineYooYoo From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 6057 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1018 times:

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 5):
Mr. Harlot and I are also both allergic to our cats, but that doesn't stop us from loving them.

You say you love cats, but do you own any?

If so how do you survive without taking ridiculous amounts of medicine....or do you just "suffer"?

Andreas  spin 



I am so smart, i am so smart... S-M-R-T... i mean S-M-A-R-T
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1014 times:

I think that another reason why some people don't like animals (cats in particular) is that cats, unlike most others, make you earn their affection and attention. Although I like dogs, most dogs have no loyalty and will let anyone pet them. Plus, cats are a lot more independant. Provided that enough food, water, and toilet facilities are left behind, cats can be left alone for several days at a time and will do just fine. You can't do that with dogs.

When I was growing up, my dad and I had a couple of Lab/Shepherd mix dogs. Don't get me wrong. They were great pets and I miss them a lot. But they were dangerous. We had to warn everyone that came over that if they weren't careful, they risked being knocked to the ground and licked to death.

BBQ ribs for dinner.....that sounds yummy. Maybe I'll go to the store and pick some up (I took today off), and take step-by step photos of it and share the recipe with you all tonight.

Thanks for the suggestion.


User currently offlineSkidmarks From UK - England, joined Dec 2004, 7121 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1010 times:

Someone tell me how to train our youngest cat to stop howling everytime someone enters the kitchen! Seems to think our sole role in life is to feed him!

Seriously, I don't think you can actually train cats to do very much other than not to shit on your carpet. Our two do their own thing (unless you go in the kitchen) and treat any sort of training with complete disdain.

Andy  old 



Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
User currently offlineScarletHarlot From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 4673 posts, RR: 56
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1008 times:

Quoting YooYoo (Reply 6):
You say you love cats, but do you own any?

Hell yes, I have three. We do none of the things you're supposed to do when you're allergic. They sleep on the bed, I rub my face in their fur, they cuddle up to me all the time.

I should amend this - as much as anybody can "own" a cat.  Smile

I take Claritin-equivalent and a steroid nasal spray daily, and steroid asthma meds twice daily. Mr. Harlot does nothing except take the occasional Benadryl when his allergies get too bad. I don't know how much of this I would have to take without the cats, because I have other allergies. But the cats don't help. Doesn't matter. I'd never be without them.



But that was when I ruled the world
User currently offlineS12PPL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 1006 times:

Well, I would have to say "yes" it is possible to train your cat.

My cat is very different from any cat I've ever seen. He's a scardie cat. If I spelt that right, but whatever. If ANYONE but me or my dad comes in the house, he freaks out. He finds the nearest bed...usually mine...and hides under it until the guest leaves. When it's just us alone, he's cool. Affectionate. He's more drawn to me because he sees me more, and sleeps on my bed. Anyway, he's an outdoor cat. We want him to be an indoor cat as he's getting older, and he gets in fights. He's come home with gashes that required trips to the vet to check out. We followed they're advice and kept him indoors. However, he would have none of that, and started spraying all over the house. He is fixed, before any of you ask. He just refuses to be an indoor cat.

What worries us about him being an outdoor cat is that he's solid black. No white on him anywhere. So, as it's getting dark, just for fun one night we said "Ok, be home by 9:00." Sure enough, to our suprise, he was home at 9:00 on the dot, I shit you not. So the next night. "Ok...Be home by 9:00." Again, home by 9:00. Whenever we tell him what time to be home, he's home at that time, or VERY close to it. Sometimes early, sometimes a little late. Only two or three times has he been an hour or more late.

I've also got him trained to get up off my lap without touching him. All I have to do is say "Up, up, up , up, up." like that, and he's off.

There's other weird shit about my cat that I'll save you all from.... Smile


User currently offlineJap From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 997 times:

You'll need lots, lots and LOTS of treats to make him to what you want  Silly

With that said, I recommend that you don't use a collar- I think you should use a harness. That way, if he does pull hard on the leash, he won't get hurt and it's more comfortable, for both cats and dogs (it's easier to get out of the collar too wheras you can probably get to him before he gets out of the harness if he tries).
But of course, you need to get him used to the harness  Smile I did it this way with both of my cats:
First, put the harness on him. Wait until he lets you put it on him (as in: You don't want him to wriggle and such, of course he won't think it's funny anyway). He may be uncomfortable for a while, but let him walk around with it on for 5 minutes (unless he franticly tries to get it off of course- then, it has to be taken slow). Then take it off. Next time (next day if you have time), put it on for 10, then 15, etc. He should be pretty used to it after 10 minutes though  Wink But stop when you've reached a couple of hours, you don't need to go up only 5 minutes each time if he seems to be comfortable. Mine got used to it after 2 minutes the second day, and I let her walk around with the harness on for 1 hour.  Wink

Once he's ok with the harness, the time has come to put the leash on. Put his harness on and let him walk around with it for a while. Then put on the leash and let him drag it around for a while. It's the same procedure as the harness, and he should be used to the leash pretty fast too. Of course you have to keep an eye on him so he doesn't get caught anywhere. You can try to pick up the leash and follow him around too after a while, just to let him know that the drag he might feel in the harness sometimes is only you.

Once he's used to both harness, leash and you holding the leash, I'd say you're ready to head out- he might want to take his time exploring, or he might want to just leap out and run around. He might want to hide under a bush or something too- either way, it's pretty normal, and you just kinda tag along  Silly Of course, if it looks like he's going to hide under the bush for hours, you'll probably be better off taking him inside again and trying again later. However, none of my two cats have done this- they've been happy with it all and just leaped out to explore, with me attached to the leash  Wink

This is the kitten way- but I feel it's the best way as you're not stressing the kitty and he pretty much decides the pace  Smile

My cats didn't try to get outside without me either- they LOVED being outside, still do, but they knew they were only getting out if I was coming with them. I'm sure Turbo will accept this too.

I wish you good luck with your wonderful cats, whatever you decide Big grin


User currently offlineScarletHarlot From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 4673 posts, RR: 56
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 983 times:

Okay, as for training. Matt, about the shake a paw thing, it sounds like you are on the right track. Just remember that you've got to make it worthwhile for your cat. And watch for his cues about how best to train him. If you give him huge loves and pets after he shakes, and he responds well, remember that for next time. Or maybe food is his thing.

Jefferson is trained to sit in a certain spot when he's hungry. It was a kind of mutual training, actually. He often doesn't eat all his food so we put his dish on the counter when he's done, or in the pantry next to the counter if Walker's on the prowl. (Walker will eat until he pukes and then eat that, so we have to portion feed.) Jefferson figured this out and started jumping up and sitting patiently on a spot on the counter next to the pantry when he's hungry. We learned that that meant he was hungry and gave him his bowl out of the pantry, so now he's trained and we're trained.

Another example of this is Walker "turning on the skritches". We noticed that he responds to snapping fingers, so we'd reward this with skritches. We also noticed that he loves to rub our fingers with his mouth so we started snapping our fingers and then holding out an index finger. He comes running and then stands up and rubs his mouth against our finger. This "turns on the skritches", as we also say when he does this, and he gets a ton of good skritches. It's very cute.

So bottom line is to watch for their responses and behaviours and use them to your advantage. It's more of a mutual training exercise than with dogs.

As for the leash - you can certainly train cats to walk on a leash. I've had my cats out on leashes and harnesses. Don't just hook a leash to their collars. Get a good harness. BTW - since you're in earthquake country, like me, you have a risk of your cats getting outside and scared so they should at the very least be microchipped and preferrably have a collar and tags on too to make it obvious that they're someone's cats. But I digress. You do run the risk of fleas and of making the outside desirable. I only took mine out a few times and then stopped.

I definitely agree with you about not letting them roam. It is too dangerous. There are cats who refuse to be indoor cats, and there's not much you can do about that. But if you can avoid it it's much, much better for them.



But that was when I ruled the world
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7773 posts, RR: 16
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 981 times:

I don't think training a cat is an impossible task. They just won't take to it as naturally as a dog does, afterall dogs are breed to do certain trainable tasks.

But starting now when they are kittens is a good way to go. The little buggers are probably more receptive to it too. As for the "walking the cat" thing. Not as crazy as it might sound. I had a neighbor in my apartment complex who would go out in the main courtyard with their cat, and the little guy stuck around at their side for the entire time (no leash too). Not sure how they did it, but it is doable.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 14, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 979 times:

afterall dogs are breed to do certain trainable tasks.

I know exactly what you mean. It would be ludicrous to string a hundred Chiuhuahuas together in the hopes of pulling a snow sled in Alaska when a couple of Malmutes will do it almost instinctively and on command.


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 15, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 976 times:

Cat tricks:

Shred the couch Ginger!
Good kitty.

Ignore me!
Good kitty.

They are companionship but they are no more domesticated than fieldmice.

A dog looks up to you.
A cat looks down on you.
A pig will treat you as an equal.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20487 posts, RR: 62
Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 962 times:

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Now I've never heard of "walking the CAT.

Can this be done?

Since Turbo and Bean are indoor cats, they don't even have collars on. So just putting one on them (to attach the leash harness) will probably freak him out.

Easily done, I do it with mine occasionally using a harness that goes around his belly. Had to learn how to do it since I live in a nature preserve, and dogs and cats aren't allowed to roam free in this area. A friend down in San Jose takes his 20lb. brute in a similar harness while shopping at PetSmart, and intially people think it's a dog.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7773 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 958 times:

Quoting Matt D (Reply 14):
It would be ludicrous to string a hundred Chiuhuahuas together in the hopes of pulling a snow sled in Alaska when a couple of Malmutes will do it almost instinctively and on command.

I'd pay to see that!  thumbsup 

But the thing is cats are pretty smart animals. Certainly as smart as dogs. And being smart little critters they need stuff that can challenge them. So training a cat to do stuff is a worthy endeavour. Now if you can leash train em, take pictures of that and post them here.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13547 posts, RR: 62
Reply 18, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 949 times:
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Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
The other thing is that Jen said she wants to take him outside for a walk, just like you would a dog.

Now I've never heard of "walking the CAT.

Can this be done?

As was mentioned earlier, the harness is the way to go. We're still in the process of getting our cat Chloe used to it - we just moved into a new house and while she was a stray when we found her, she doesn't know this area. So we figure we can take her out for "walks" around the neighborhood and sorta let her get the lay of the land in the event she ever does manage to slip out if our guard is down.

So - the harness. It's a two-man job, especially if your cat's a squirmy one. I just grab Chloe by the scruff while Jamie slips it over her head and around her legs. Snaps into place securely, and has a link on the top for the leash.

She still wigs out when the leash is on - she jumps all over the place trying to get away from it but eventually calms down. We took her out in the backyard on it once just to see the reaction and she bolted back into the house as far as the leash would allow.

I guess all cats are different when it comes to this, but so far this has been a challenge. I'm hopeful it'll be a worthwhile one though.



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8450 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 933 times:
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My cats have learned to look at humans with disdain and ignore what they are told to do, that didn't take long to learn at all!


After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineTPAnx From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1021 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 916 times:

Food would seem to be the training trick. My cat has spent the day asleep.
My wife, who doles out the kibbles just came home, and Kissa Licka, the
Queen of All Cats, went crazy. Ignores me even when I hand out the goodies.
TPAnx  scratchchin 



I read the news today..oh boy
User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 908 times:

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 2):
I would never be with a guy who didn't.

I like cats and I'm straight  scratchchin   Wink

Quoting Skidmarks (Reply 8):
Someone tell me how to train our youngest cat to stop howling everytime someone enters the kitchen!

Stare at him untill he walks away, always does the trick or attach a fog horn to his/her back and connect a wire to his mouth so that every time he/her opens his/her mouth, the fog horn goes off, it'll be a barell of laughs,
But seriously I love cats and you'll just have stroke him/her before and you enter and after you leave the kitchen until it keeps quiet.


Alistair



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineScarletHarlot From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 4673 posts, RR: 56
Reply 22, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 904 times:

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 21):
I like cats and I'm straight

That's nice dude, I'm married!  Smile



But that was when I ruled the world
User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 909 times:

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 22):
That's nice dude, I'm married!

I am very sorry  sorry   sorry 
I was thinking of HorizonGirl when I typed that, I'm going to sit in a dark corner and never come back  Wink

Wrighbrothers



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 900 times:

I've taken my cats out on walks on a leash. Boo and Chaka (named after Chaka Khan because as a kitten she used to go nuts whenever I played "Feel for you" on the stereo) don't much care for it, but as long as they're on quiet side streets where there is no traffic, they're ok. Boo even has a dog friend, a pug who belongs to a neighbor. Both the pug and Boo get all excited when they see each other.

25 ScarletHarlot : Don't be silly, dude, it's quite all right. Just want to remind you!
26 BMIFlyer : I also like cats, i'm straight as well. I'd rather have a cat than a dog actually. Lee
27 TNboy : I hope you have lots of patience MattD. It will be the cats who will train you. One of ours is desperate to come with us when we walk the dog, and usu
28 PROSA : Humans cannot train cats. Cats train humans.
29 Post contains images Wrighbrothers : Oh, good. Ok I'm a silly person We are a dying bread. Wrighbrothers Good wishes to all, Alistair
30 ScarletHarlot : gotta add cute cat story here can only type w/ one hand cos furss is asleep on my lap w/ his head on my left hand, he just moved it, I can type better
31 4holer : I lost the cats in the divorce. Pretty bitter about it. But Skipper was trained. Best cat in the history of felinity. L'il guy thought he was human. H
32 57AZ : Actually training a cat is possible. The problem is that most people do not have the required amount of patience to do it properly. Of course, that is
33 TNboy : OK, 4holer, Dusty and Blue have just been scratched on the head! They say thanks, man! (They are both pretty cool cats). And now the dog wants a scrat
34 Post contains images ScarletHarlot : 4holer, that's awful. I couldn't stand to lose my cats. Have you considered adopting new cats? Not to replace your old cats, of course, but to rescue
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