Playing Cat & Mind Games

One of the things I like about cats is their independence. Especially since I have two, I know that they will be okay if I am away for long periods of time.

On the other hand, that independent thinking can be a challenge to one’s patience. I fully understand the saying “like herding cats.” Since I can’t leave my cats unsupervised in the rooms outside my bedroom, I have to keep them in my room while I am away or sleeping. Well, sometimes my cats refuse to follow me to the room even though I beckon them.

Sometimes, they’ll come if they hear the sound of me putting food in their bowl. I will also try to entice them by bringing out their treats, and rattling the bottle to ensure their great hearing gets a load of what they’re missing. The last resort I want to take is physically catch my cats since they are more agile than I am and can hide in places that I can’t reach.

One of my cats tends to be more cooperative than the other, so I will use that in dealing with my cats. When Mr Knightley comes as beckoned, I will reward him with treats. Mr Darcy will hear that and come to the room to get a piece of the action.

Basically, we have to accept that it’s hard to make cats do what we want them to do. The trick is to make them want to do what we want them to do. That’s also how we can train cats to do tricks. They don’t do tricks to please us the way dogs do. They want the treats. They’ll do what it takes, even if it means condescending to perform tricks to amuse us humans.

Oh, and reverse psychology can work, too. Since my cats are sociable, they don’t like to be on the other side of the door from where I am at. So if my cat refuses to come into the bedroom, I’ll close the door as if I’m keeping him out. Then he gets sad and waits for me at the door, meowing.

Of course, there are the times where no amount of psychology could help. When it was time to put my cat in his carrier to take him to my car for the long road trip, he put up quite a ferocious fight. He threatened me with his teeth but didn’t inflict damage. He hasn’t been so opposed to getting into the carrier like that. I think it might be because the last two times I put him into the carrier, it was to take him to the vet. I was finally able to get him into the carrier by using a tactic from when my cats were kittens: grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and holding on to it as I guided him into the carrier. That trick is like magic to anyone who has ever had to contend with a misbehaving kitten or cat.

3 thoughts on “Playing Cat & Mind Games”

  1. I have a ragdole and he has learned several tricks. Up, down,go into your home, lie down, come and stay. I am working on hello but without much success. Would love to teach more tricks and would be interested to see what you have done.
    Brent

  2. When I got my cat four years ago I had his front paws declawed to save my furniture. I kept him in the house until about 4 months ago. He is a large cat and he would always look so sad when I would go out to the yard. The yard has a secure wooden fence around it so I feel it is a save haven for Cuddles. One day my daughter put him on the patio table and he stayed there for quite a while. The next time we out he decided to venture off the table and explore the patio. That was fine. The next time he decided he could step off the patio onto the grass and he really liked that. I was always out there with him. I would call his name several times and each time he could come running to me. Soon he went completely around the fence…of my what fun! Again I would call his name quite often and he would come running to me. I would talk to him and tell him he was a good boy and say I am proud of him.
    I feel letting him discover on his own and call him every once in a while worked great. Now, I let him out and I go into the house and when I come out and call him he comes to running. When he doesn’t I tell him OK we won’t go out for awhile! I think he has only failed not to come in maybe 2 times.
    When in the house and he wants to go out he will meow to get my attention and I ask him what he wants and he runs to the door and looks out. When I let him out the first time out in the morning I usually go out with him.
    He also looks into the window sometimes to let me know he wants in or he will paw on the door.
    There is a large bush in the corner of the yard and loves to go exploring there or just lay down and go to sleep.
    He still like to curl up on the cool cement patio floor and snooze there for awhile.
    I think to talk to your cat when letting them out, have a totally enclosed yard, and calling them to you is the best way to train a cat. Anyway it worked for me and he is a much happier cat today.

  3. When I got my cat four years ago I had his front paws declawed to save my furniture. I kept him in the house until about 4 months ago. He is a large cat and he would always look so sad when I would go out to the yard. The yard has a secure wooden fence around it so I feel it is a save haven for Cuddles. One day my daughter put him on the patio table and he stayed there for quite a while. The next time we out he decided to venture off the table and explore the patio. That was fine. The next time he decided he could step off the patio onto the grass and he really liked that. I was always out there with him. I would call his name several times and each time he could come running to me. Soon he went completely around the fence…of my what fun! Again I would call his name quite often and he would come running to me. I would talk to him and tell him he was a good boy and say I am proud of him.
    I feel letting him discover on his own and call him every once in a while worked great. Now, I let him out and I go into the house and when I come out and call him he comes to running. When he doesn’t I tell him OK we won’t go out for awhile! I think he has only failed not to come in maybe 2 times.
    When in the house and he wants to go out he will meow to get my attention and I ask him what he wants and he runs to the door and looks out. When I let him out the first time out in the morning I usually go out with him.
    He also looks into the window sometimes to let me know he wants in or he will paw on the door.
    There is a large bush in the corner of the yard and loves to go exploring there or just lay down and go to sleep.
    He still like to curl up on the cool cement patio floor and snooze there for awhile.
    I think to talk to your cat when letting them out, have a totally enclosed yard, and calling them to you is the best way to train a cat. Anyway it worked for me and he is a much happier cat today.
    August 4, 2013

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