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I have two small cats, one of which is a black/very dark navy furred cat that is about a year old. The other is a slightly younger and smaller white furred cat that is about 4/5ths of a year old. I simply wish to teach them how to come when I say, and sit when I say sit.

I tried the "force them to shake or sit, say the word, then give them treat" and my cats are quite loving so they didn't mind me pushing their backs a bit to allow them to sit, and they do somewhat come when I tap or clap. Sometimes they just want to suckle (my little white kitten just almost relies 24/7 on suckling for stress relief as he's very shy) or they want to be pet by me.

It didn't stick though. Are cats just naturally non-listeners? Some people have told me that due to their "sassy" prideful or completely opposite (scared) attitudes, they are very tough to teach them to do really anything. I don't think its impossible though.

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    Welcome to Pets :) Are you asking if there is a professional that can train your cats or are you just asking how to train a cat? – Henders May 10 at 15:03
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    most cat owners do not activly train our cats but the cats still learn what we want.but there is a lot you can find on the net about training of cats like here agility.cfa.org/clicker-training.shtml – trond hansen May 10 at 16:40
  • we do have some similar questions on this site so you can do a search on top of this page,and on the bottom of the linked page you will find links to more information about this. – trond hansen May 10 at 16:52
  • @Henders Im asking How to train my cats myself – TaylorS May 10 at 19:05
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    I taught my cat to come, go, stand on hind legs, jump on something, get down, jump on me, close the door, sit,get in a box, get out of it, walk on a leash, "play time", "NO", and of course I got her litter trained as well...the only thing I regret is not teaching her to meow on command :( – toothless199 May 13 at 4:04
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Are cats just naturally non-listeners? Some people have told me that due to their "sassy" prideful or completely opposite (scared) attitudes, they are very tough to teach them to do really anything.

Dogs understand intention. When a human gives feedback, the dog understand that the human is conveying a message, and the dogs puts effort in understanding and learning from the experience. A dog also inherently wants to please its master because it knows that the master will take care of it when it is helpful.
A dog who listens to its master can be taught to not do something without ever having done it. If the master says no, then the dog knows to not to the thing it was about to do. Even if the dog doesn't understand it, it will defer to its master's judgment.

Cats don't understand intention. They are smart, but they simply do not register our voice as a message meant for them. Cats can learn, but only through practice.
A cat will only learn after learning the negative consequences of the action it took, and it will probably need repeated experiences before they learn. A cat will not defer to its master, it only acts on its own thoughts.

This is why cats are much harder (but not impossible) to train.

I tried the "force them to shake or sit, say the word, then give them treat" and my cats are quite loving so they didn't mind me pushing their backs a bit to allow them to sit, and they do somewhat come when I tap or clap.

While this is sometimes nothing more than a theoretical difference, a dog will come because it knows that you want it to come to you; but a cat will come because it wants to come to you.
That is a subtle but significant difference, and it dramatically impacts how you teach your pet.

I simply wish to teach them how to come when I say, and sit when I say sit.

Teaching your cat to come is quite simple. Call for them, and give them a treat. Do this even if the cat is already beside you, so you get the chance to prove to them that calling them means they get a treat. Next time, when your cat is not in the same room as you but it hears you calling, it will independently decide that it should go to you because you're probably going to be giving a treat.
Do this often enough, and the cat will learn that when it hears a particular sound (its name), that a treat is likely incoming.

My cats don't always come when I call them (I've never expected them to). But when I call all three of them (in the same order and tone of voice), they will always come, because I only do that as I'm putting food in their bowls.
One of these cats, however, is incessantly playful and always deeply interested in anything new. You cannot bring anything into the house without him inspecting it inside out. This cat always comes when I call him, I haven't even needed to train him for that. Because he respond to every impulse and he's just always up for some interaction.

Getting a cat to sit is a different thing though. Cats don't do something because they are told to. Going back to the example of calling them and giving them a treat, you are presenting them with an opportunity (a treat will be given) and it's up to them to decide whether they want that treat or not. This is exactly why my cats don't always come when I call them; sometimes they just don't want to get up out of a comfy spot (partly because another cat might take it).

Sitting on command is not an opportunity which the cat can choose to engage in. If the cat wanted to sit, it would already be sitting. The fact that it doesn't means that it doesn't want to sit.
It's not impossible, but it's not going to be easy to get a cat to understand that you want it to do something and expecting it to comply just because you are telling it to do so. That is something that dogs innately understand, but cats cannot comprehend.

The best way to approach a training it to put a cat in a situation where the intended behavior is beneficial. For example, a cat I used to have sat by the sliding glass door and meowed nonstop. I tried punishing him with a plant sprayer but he wouldn't stop.
What got him to stop is that I would used the plant sprayer from behind the couch, I did not have direct line of sight to the cat and needed to arc my shots over the couch. I used his meows to pinpoint his location. If he did not meow, I was not able to figure out where he was and I could not hit him. If he meowed, I could zero in on his position and had a good chance of hitting (or inconveniencing) him.

It took about 2-3 weeks for him to figure out that he would be safe if he didn't reveal his position. And that is exactly what I wanted him to do.

But I can't think of a way that you can use this tactic to get them to sit.

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The first thing you need is that the cats feel comfortable around you. Second is to feed them a little less than what they should be eating on a daily basis, this way they will be excited for the extra treats. And don't worry, feeding them a little less than what makes them satisfied doesn't mean that they are hungry. It's actually healthier for them and YOU to eat like that. Third is get a whistle or make a special sound with your mouth instead of clapping as to not make them confused for when to come ( I'm pretty sure that you will someday clap without intending to call your cats, as people clap for multiple reasons.). Forth is always have a treat to give them when asking for a certain command. Fifth, do not give treats unless they obeyed your command And Sixth, repeat what you are doing again and again and do not trick them by not really having a treat available.

Suggestion: Have a word that lets them know when they did good and that a treat is on its way to them, such as "good kitty"

  • My cats are generally addicted, and our youngest kitten (white shorthair) will constantly meow and suckle when he wants food. Hes a very needy cat, so I doubt Ill be able to train him due to his "want for us to do everything for him" including feeding, playing with toys, opening the doors for him (he has 2 cat doors outside -_-) and also meowing for attention. ALTHOUGH, I do have a larger black longhair (jack) and he loves attention but rarely meows unless he is in pain. I believe I could possibly teach him. – TaylorS May 13 at 12:22
  • If you want to spoil the kitten , it's okay, but it would be harder for you to teach it tricks later when it's older and you may just regret it later :/ – toothless199 May 16 at 9:52
  • luckily, this is more of a sub-hobby of mine, and if it goes wrong, it will be okay. – TaylorS May 16 at 12:22

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