Sign Up for Cat Talk
Get the latest health and behavior news and
advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.


Can My Cat Train Me?

Excerpt from Why Don't Cats Go Bald by Dr. Skip Sullivan, DVM, and David Fisher

Your cat will train you — or drive you insane trying to do so. They have the ability to communicate their basic needs and desires — and trust me, communicate it they will.  When you cat wants something from you, you'll know it. Cats usually use a form of behavior modification when they are trying to teach something to humans. Typically, they'll just keep getting in your way until they get what you want.

The Cat's Step-by-Step Human Behavior Modification Plan

1.  Meow.

2.  Rub against something, preferably human.

3.  Meow again. Rub again.

4.  Knock something over.

5.  Knock something else over.

6.  Scratch something, preferably human.

7.  Bite something, preferably human.

8.  Repeat steps 1 through 7 as needed.

As a vet, I'm well trained; after all, some twenty to thirty cats a day for almost thirty years have subjected me to behavior modification techniques. Yet even after all that time — and training! — I still sometimes misread a cat's intentions and pay for it by being bitten or scratched. Severe pain — now that's some downright negative reinforcement. But that's how cats teach us what we need to know. And we don't forget it.

To learn more about your cat’s behavior, purchase Why Don’t Cats Go Bald? from Catnip. This is one purr-chase you won’t regret!


Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

New to Tufts Catnip? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In