I finally finished my course this week. It was an awesome course in advanced animal training. Most of my fellow students were horse or dog trainers, although several had cats, but I think I was the only one mostly focused on cats. I learned a lot but the most important thing I already knew. Cats can be trained. This is important because so many cats are surrendered for their behavior. There is absolutely no need for declawing cats. If you think declawing is a solution you have already made the determination that an inanimate object, ie. the sofa, is more important than a living being, the cat. Cats can be taught what is for scratching and what is not. Cats can be taught a lot of things and if you are doubtful, watch the videos at this link and this link.
Contrary to the image of the lion tamer, coercive methods don’t work well with cats. You have to make them collaborators. Of course they will avoid adversives but they also respond to positives like treats and scratches and petting. It does take some work and you have to be patient but you can convince the cat that behavior A gets rewarded whereas behavior B does not. Learning routines where your cat gets to do what it would do naturally, like run, jump and climb, plus get your attention, praise and treats will be fun for your cat. It provides exercise and environmental enrichment your cat needs and it can be fun for you, too.
My cats more or less trained themselves to hide when someone knocks on the door, a legacy from the days when we we over the occupancy limit for felines. Dolly and Mi Sun are still hiders, but Cloud slept right through the freezer delivery. He was on the dining table in front of the open window and too comfortable to move. He loves his sunbathing. Charlie doesn’t hide either. She’s fine as long as strangers don’t approach. Only Rose, my cleaner who retired, was OK. But Rose had a cat and knew the proper etiquette. Since most of my cats are seniors I am not going to expect them to do complicated routines. I have trained them to come when I call and to jump up to a surface where I can examine them. Mi Sun no longer is required to jump up because of her arthritis.
It would be nice if you could train people. The lawn man showed up a week ago Wednesday and said he would come the next day. This was after over two week and the grass was very high. The next day was off and on rainy by mid-day and Friday was the same so of course, no lawn man. All this week and no lawn man. No lawn man and no word.
Yesterday mid-afternoon, the weedwackers started up next door to Merv’s. That racket gets on my nerves. As I started to get annoyed, especially as they parked in front of my house and blocked me in, that little voice said, “Wait a minute, don’t grouch over this. It might be the answer to your lawn problem.” So I went and asked one of them if they were relatives or a business. They were actually friends of a relative and had just started a business, their cards were on order with Vistaprint. But he wrote down all their info for me and next week I will be calling them.