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We Cat lovers know that Cats are exquisitely intelligent animals andtraining your Cats can be useful and even fun both for us and for our fabulous felines. Before we start training our Cats to do something or to stop doing something we need to look at how they learn. They don't understand English (although sometimes it definitely might appear that they do), they can't read books or attend lectures. They learn by experience. If the experience is good they will naturally try to repeat it. If the experience is unpleasant they will try to avoid it in the future.  Mists do have a lot of common sense which does make them a lot easier than most cats to train.  They may  find raking the furniture with their claws enjoyable so naturally they continue to do it whereas it is quite a shock when they stick their nose in a candle flame or hot cup of coffee so they won't do that again. 

The key to training is to make sure that whatever you want your Cat to do is exceedingly rewarding and pleasurable. Whatever you don't want your Cat to indulge in must never be rewarding or fun, in fact, it must be unpleasant.

Sometimes we unintentionally reward our Cats for obnoxious behavior. A common complaint is that the kitten pounces on the owner at five in the morning, meowing up a storm and generally being a pest. What do the owners do? They get up and feed the kitten, play with him or give him cuddles.  Your Mist has now learnt by this reaction to his behaviour that it  gets him exactly what he wants

What kinds of tasks can Cats learn? Almost anything, as long as they are physically capable and they are motivated. Each animal can learn to do what it was designed, by nature and evolution, to do. For example, Cats are agile creatures that can learn to jump onto high surfaces ie  an Cat may be strongly motivated to jump onto kitchen counters when food is occasionally found there. Dogs, on the other hand, are more likely than cats to lie down in front of their higher-ranking owners and can therefore be trained easily to lie down on command. (Cats are certainly social animals but they do not form highly structured dominance hierarchies the way dogs do.) If you are determined to teach your Cat to lie down on command, it can be done—but the reward had better be exceptional from a feline point of view.

To teach an animal any task, the specific behavior must be reinforced or rewarded. Cats because they love their food will usually work for food, if the food is appetizing. Experiment with your own Cat to find an appealing food reward. What has compelled him to jump up onto your dinner table in the past? Possibilities might include the Cat's own dry food, dired liver, bits of cheese, bits of tuna or something of the like.

It is most efficient to teach your Cat an association between the food and a quick word or sound, such as a word “yes”, clicker or bell. Using a word or clicker eliminates the need for perfect timing of the food reward. Once such an association is learned, the word, clicker (or bell, or other sound) can be used to quickly reinforce a desired behavior while the Cat is then slowly offered and accepts, the food reward. You start the association by simply using the word “yes” or clicking the clicker and offering the Cat a treat. Word/Click, treat and repeat. After a few repetitions, your Cat will understand that sound of this word or clicker means "food is coming."

A simple rule of training is that newly learned tasks are rewarded each time the task is performed correctly and then, once learned, rewarded only randomly. There is no need to have food constantly available. As long as it is periodically offered to him your star performer will continue to do what you've asked.

So what kinds of behaviors or tasks might you teach your Cat? Cats are very quick to learn tricks such as fetching a toy, jumping through a hoop or simply sitting on command. Training can be useful, however, for reasons other than simple fun. Even young children enjoy having a "vocabulary" with their feline pets and such purposeful activity is better for the Cat than simply being carried from place to place. Playfully aggressive Cats or those who exhibit status-related irritable behavior also benefit from learning tricks—again, it provides a way to interact with humans that distracts the Cat from his conflicted social behavior. Cats learn quickly for example that their humans will accept only appropriate behavior (such as sitting) at certain times. Humans learn quickly, as well, that reward-based training results in much less irritability or play-biting than prolonged petting might.

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