Cat Training 101:
- By Karen Nowak
- 20 Jun, 2016
The Educating of Humans and Dogs
Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.
Owners of dogs have noticed that, if you provide a dog with food, water, shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide a cat with food, water, shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.
―Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
Cats are the only animal that are both prey and predator. They have independent natures, fastidious habits of cleanliness, and can come of as aloof. They are strong in their convictions. Anyone who has been in a close relationship with a cat knows the above quotes hold truth. Cats are comfortable being alone. They are not pack or herd animals and do not depend on what both offer. Thus they don’t need to work within a pack for survival. That is not to say they do not work together on occasion for hunting, or other common causes, such as training a dog.
A Master of Training Dogs
Cats choose what they will partake in. They do not do something simply because they are asked, as does the nature of dogs predispose them to do. Several years back we had an already established feline family when Cleophas came to be with us. Cleo a large Portuguese Water Dog did not like cats. So we divided the house between the two. It wasn’t long before Q came along, sized up the situation, and implemented his plan to train Cleo to do his bidding. It took a few months before this cat-hating dog began to come around to this determined cat’s plan. Q was working out how best to work things to his advantage.
And so the transformation of five-year-old Cleophas began. Q worked diligently at desensitizing this cat-aggressive dog. It’s not to say there wasn’t an occasional close call, but Q let me know he could handle it. By the time Cleophas left this world, he was cleaning Q’s ears and head whenever he was asked. They slept together as the best of friends.
An Unexpected Training Opportunity
I recently dog-sat for some friend’s four dogs while they where away. That brought the total of animals in my house to six, for ten days. One dog, Eddy, a 50-pound Beagle-cross was not accustomed to cats. He had only the year before retired from being a food-testing dog. Still timid and
untrusting in the strange new world he found himself in, cats were an animal to be preyed upon. None of the other dogs payed attention to the
cats, just Eddy. Everyone knew who the king of the house was (it was Q, of course)—except Eddy. My dog Sophia outweighs Q by a mere 10
pounds. They wrestle and play often. Eddy got a chance to see these two in action. I am convinced that was part of Q’s training plan.
I kept a close eye on the situation,since I was not yet convinced of Q’s prowess with Eddy. It had been several years since Cleophas’
training. Q assured me he had not lost his edge. He deliberately came closer and closer each day. By the time Eddy went home,
he was sleeping on the couch with Q just a few feet away, paying him no attention. Once again Q was successful in implementing his
training. First Cleo and now Eddy had graduated.
Not every cat has the desire, expertise, or opportunity to train a dog. A cat will let you know if they are capable and willing by their non-plussed behavior. Close supervision is always required.
Do not assume your cat wants to do this.
Last But Not Least:
Cats Training Humans
I came to the realization that cats train humans as Q was tap dancing across my head at 4:30 am one morning. This is a ritual he partakes in
most days now, joined often by a second of our four cats, Walter. On occasion, they mix it up and get their engines running during the
Catanapolis 500, with my body being a pit stop. They have effectively trained me to get up and do their bidding. Cats are well aware that if they
just remain steadfast in what they believe we
can accomplish, we generally do what they ask.
Tips About Cats
from their Perspective
Cats hold our behavior with them to a very high standard. They, like all animals, desire honesty and would like humans to listen to their requests. When there is a repeated behavior by your feline, ask yourself, what are they trying to get me to see? An example of this is in the
case of Q waking me up every morning. He pointed out the best hunting is done at dawn and dusk. Fortunately i am an early riser. I couldn’t argue with that.
It became self-evident in thecase of Q that cats can train us to do what they want. If we take the time to think about their point of view, and the logic involved in what they are getting us to do, we just might agree with them and shift the equation to do the same behavior out of understanding without the need for training. Cats appreciate that. Lastly, respect is vitally important in our everyday interactions with our fellow humans; it is of equal value in your relationship with your cat. Lest we not forget,they hold us to high standards.
• Be honest with them and yourself in all interactions.
• Think about what they are asking you to see.
• Think about their point o view and the feline logic involved.
• Bring respect to all your encounters.
• Enjoy the privilege & the education.