Covid-19 : Training for your cat
Many cats, especially in the cities, are indoor cats. This suggests that the current corona situation is not a change for cats and their owners, but this is not the case. Unfortunately some people believe that cats are not complicated to keep and do not need to be entertained. But this is far from the truth. Our house cats are curious and very intelligent.
What does the quarantine for your cat change and what should you consider?
- Most cats will enjoy your company, but they may need to get used to your constant presence.
- The constant hustle and bustle can disrupt their resting periods. Make sure you give your cat enough time to sleep.
- Set up a retreat for them where they will be left completely alone.
- You may spend more time on the balcony, making sure it is safe for your cat.
- When you walk your cat on a leash, keep your distance from people, follow the hygiene rules and the Covid-19 measures.
What can you do with your cat at home?
- Make your home cat-friendly . Use the time to make it comfortable for your cat. Maybe you are also talented in craftsmanship and tinker with new climbing bridges and scratching posts?
- Cleaning. After a spring cleaning, you too will feel more comfortable. Make sure you use cleaning products that are safe for your cat, it is best to use natural cleaning products such as vinegar.
- Cats learn quickly! How about some new tricks?
- Vet training, because the next visit is sure to come.
- Making new toys.
- Problems? Cat trainers can also help you online.
What should you consider before training?
- Don’t force things, give your sweetheart time.
- If you force your cat more now, she will continue to demand mental work.
- They learn extremely fast, often only one or few repetitions are enough.
- Especially in the beginning your cat might not be that easy to motivate. Try out with which food or game you can inspire them.
- Be patient, cats are very persistent, so give them time.
- Two faces: As predators they are fast and independent, but as prey they are cautious and ready to defend themselves. Learn to assess and understand your cat.
- Condition the clicker or marker word. Every click is followed by a reward. Repeat this exercise a few times until your cat has understood the principle.
The exercises are particularly suitable for beginners.
- Nose touch: Your cat should learn to nudge one of your fingers with her nose. Present your cat your forefinger. Out of curiosity she will want to approach and smell it. The moment she touches your finger you click and reward your cat afterwards. If you have a very cautious cat, you can also click the approach to your hand and lead her to the goal step by step.
- Paw target: Now we want her paw on our palm. At the beginning put your hand openly on the floor and click again every movement to your hand. If she gives you her paw, raise your hand and continue to reward for giving her paw. Attention do not just take her paw into your hand. Apart from the fact that this is unpleasant for many animals, your cat will learn not to think and understand.
- Object target: Here your cat should sit in a box (or similar). The principle remains the same. Place the box on the floor and click when the cat has sat down in the box or approaches it. Later on you can learn your cat to sit in this box whenever she wants something from you.
Many cats connect the transport box negatively, here are some possibilities for your cat to see the box positively:
- Make your pet comfortable and put a blanket in the box.
- If your cat hasn’t had any bad experiences yet, you can make the box palatable to him in a playful way: Remove the door or open the front of the carrier bag and put one or two treats inside and wait till your cat is inside. Now hold your hand in front of it so that the exit is “blocked”. After a few seconds you give your hand away and start a game at the same time (e.g. with a cat rod). So your darling is allowed to run out of the box and have fun with you.
- Does your darling not go in voluntarily? Put the box open (please remove the lattice door completely so that it does not slam and frighten the cat) in the flat. Make it comfortable and sprinkle some treats. Give her time to explore the creepy box, it can take days until your cat starts to get into it. Give her treats over and over again and do nothing else with it for a few days. If your cat feels comfortable, you can start with the game from point 2.
- If you want, insert a signal, for example “box”. Whenever your cat goes inside, you say the signal and confirm it when she is inside.
- Don’t use the box only for the trip to the vet, because then your cat won’t be happy anymore. So how about a trip to the countryside? A walk on the leash, go to the garden house or to another place your cat likes.
At the vet‘s it is an advantage if your cat has learned to sit in a limited position and lie on its side so that it doesn’t panic when taking blood samples, X-rays, etc.
- Hold one hand behind your cat, the other hand in front of her. If she sits still for a few seconds, click and reward her. If this exercise works well you can go on to the next point.
- You also have several possibilities teaching your cat to lay on her side. You can always click and reward your cat when she is lying sideways. Later you can introduce a signal, for example “Sleep”. Your cat should also be used to being laid down by you, as she may not listen to your words when she is under stress at the treatment table. So start stroking your cat (also on legs) and confirm it. Then grab her legs and put them aside carefully, click and let her stand up immediately and get her reward. Little by little she should be held longer in the lying position.
- So you can teach her all kinds of things: Control of paws, eyes, teeth and ears, coat care, brushing teeth, giving tablets, and much more.
- As you can see you can educate, train and have fun with cats. Surely it is easier if a cat has learned all this from a very young age, but it is also possible to learn new things with adult or older animals.
The Covid-19 virus does not make our cats physically ill, but our constant presence can upset their daily rhythm. So be patient with your darling, respect her space and use the time to challenge her mentally and make her a cat friendly home. Have fun learning with your cat.