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MorenoMelissa1's avatar

Can a person train a cat?

Asked by MorenoMelissa1 (1140points) April 21st, 2010

I have a male bluepoint siamese cat named Sam. He likes to follow me when I go for walks sometimes. Just this morning he went for a walk with me and followed every command I gave him. That got me to thinking if my cat is trained to follow me like a dog would. Couldn’t other cats be trained to do so as well?

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18 Answers

Berserker's avatar

Don’t know all that much about cats, although I have two of them. It usually seems like they’re the ones training me though haha…

I don’t know. You can train tigers and panthers in circuses and crap, I suppose you could train cats too, but I’m thinking that the approach would heavily deal on what the cat ’‘perceives’’ as its survival.

Chongalicious's avatar

Mine does what I tell him to, so I can’t think of a reason why not! :) Good kitty!

erichw1504's avatar

Try reading this and clicker training is becoming very popular.

Seek's avatar

I think so, to some extent.

My kitty, Ulthar, really thrives on routine. She sleeps in a closed room, because if she doesn’t she’ll climb into the baby’s bed and wake him up. Every night, at the same time, she starts in on me with her “Mom, it’s time for my room, and my toy, and my food.” She also responds to her name. She’s indoor/outdoor, and I swear she can hear her name from anywhere in the neighborhood, and she comes running.

Still working on training her to stop climbing trees, at least until she figures out how to get out of them. I hate having to spray her out with the water hose.

Lightlyseared's avatar

No, but a cat can probably train a person to think they have.

lilikoi's avatar

I’ve seen cats that have been trained to poop and flush, so I think yes. No idea how people accomplish this, though.

netgrrl's avatar

Dogs are willing to be trained using things other than food rewards, like play or even a verbal reward, but cats are really all about the food.

My car taught me to play fetch w him using a small paper ball, but I don’t take any credit for that.

I’ve read about clicker training cats, and I’m sure it works, sinking as there’s a high-value food reward after the click. :)

Zaku's avatar

Maybe, about as much as a willful human who doesn’t speak your language and feels they have plenty of alternatives to putting up with you, maybe.

Cats following you and even doing what you suggest is intelligent behavior (in my book) but not training, per se. A few cats will play fetch, but only if and when they want to.

I’ve had my cat follow me on a long walk, too, but it was his idea.

wonderingwhy's avatar

At one point we thought we trained her not to dig at the curtains then we realized we just trained her not to do it when we were in the room. Another time we were sure we had trained her not to wake us up in the morning for food until we discovered she had figured out how to get the food herself. Long story short, our cat has trained us well – we tell her to do the things she wants to do when she wants to do them, then reward her as expected – and everybody is happier for it.

Buttonstc's avatar

The Friskies company has a traveling show that they put on at Cat shows and other events in which there are trained shelter cats doing all sorts of tricks.

There’s also a Russian gentleman who’s become quite well known for training cats in his act.

Keep in mind that in both of these shows, the trainers have gone to the shelters and hand picked the cats for this purpose. Some cats are far more responsive and easy to train than others. Most of us picked the cats we have for many different individual reasons than trainability. It does take a tremendous amount of patience and consistency which most of us aren’t dedicated to.

But cats can be trained if you really really want to invest the time and energy into it.

I’ll see if I can find more info about the Florida guy. He’s truly a delightful person and any of his cats definitely know how much they are loved. He’s a unique individual.

Buttonstc's avatar

This is the one I remembered but there are a few others also. The above website is for Gregory Popovitch. I’ve seen footage of him in documentaries.

There is also a French guy currently in Florida, Dominique.

There is also the Moscow Cat theatre. Last year they did shows in the US also and there is an interesting interview with him in the Village Voice. He really understands the cat mindset.
The first link is in English, the second mostly Russian.


ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I think they can. Cats are smart, they’re just more independently minded than dogs and were never domesticated to follow human instruction. It’s been done that people have trained their cats to use the toilet and jump through hoops; it just takes a lot of time and dedication, and a strong relationship with your cat always helps. It probably helps if you start young with training a cat, too.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Cats can be trained to an extent.
You can train a cat to use the toilet.
You can train a cat to wear a harness and leash and go for walks.
You can even train a cat to fetch.

I think it depends on the cat sometimes. Some cats are very independent and wont go for that for a second.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I agree with @Symbeline. More often the cat trains the person. My two Persians have me very well trained. Brush, water, food, litter box, lap, etc.

jerv's avatar

I think that an old RPG book I had summed it up best when they said that cats are actually IQ5 (the average human in this rules system is IQ 10) but can only be trained as if they were IQ3 because they are so damn independent, aloof, and apathetic.

Cats are definitely smart enough to be trained, but they are also smart enough to resist being trained… and most resist.

Dogs need people and people need dogs. Cats need… stuff that they can get without people around, but we are good servants so they tolerate us and occasionally humor us.

tigress3681's avatar

Yes cats can be trained! The methods are different and require a bit more patience than with a dog. Though ultimately the cat is training you :)

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