My cats have trained me. I admit it. They allow me to come and go as I please but other than that, I am under their control. Last night I had a little heart to heart talk with them and asked how they trained me without me being aware it was happening. They have owned me for the last 14 years and I felt it was safe to ask. They looked at each other for a few seconds as if they were debating letting their secret out and finally told me.
They told me it was ok to let their tricks and tips be known to other cats who may having a hard time training their humans. They also want it to be known that these exercises take patience and sometimes there are setbacks but do not be discouraged. A well-trained human can take years.
Here are the 5 ways to train your human:
- Wake Up and Eat – Breakfast should be served at the same time everyday. Wake up your human by jumping on the bed and meow softly. If your human does not move or show signs of waking up, begin walking on the human. When your human moves, stop, wait, and watch. If their eyes begin to open, purr immediately, this is a form of positive reinforcement. Your human will understand that by responding and waking up they are being rewarded with purrs. If they roll over or push you off, do not punish. Try walking on them again. If they are a very deep sleeper, lick the forehead and hair. It will not taste good but it will eventually wake them up. Meow between the licks. When your human begins to wake up and sit up, lead them to the food bowl.
- Litter Box Maintenance – Humans get lazy or forget to clean the letterbox on a daily basis. To make sure they clean it everyday, meow loudly while standing next to it. Your meow should sound sad. Evoke the feeling of despair. Your human will come running thinking something is wrong. Well, something is wrong! Once they have appeared, circle the litter box, look up at them, and stare. They will get the hint. If they do not and walk away, repeat meowing and if necessary, go to the bathroom next to it.
- Fresh Water – Water is essential. Fresh water means replacing the water from the day before or that morning. If your water has become stale, paw at the water bowl. If your human is nearby, look up and make eye contact. If they seem confused, paw harder and splash water on the floor. Yes, your paw will get wet but your human needs to understand that clean water, fresh water, is a requirement. Not an option. Some cats will go as far as to dig in the water bowl and empty all the old water out onto the floor. That can be done in extreme cases.
- Hairballs – Humans must be trained to brush us on a regular basis or else we can get hairballs or knots in our fur. Hairballs and food can create an upset stomach. When the weather gets warmer, we begin shedding more and a gentle reminder to our humans to brush us can be leaving fur on everything. Lay on their shoes, clothes, bed, couch and roll around to leave fur behind. If they do not bring out the brush, sit on their laps and toss and turn to get comfortable but also to leave fur on them. This works best if the colors they are wearing contrast the fur, like black pants and a white cat. If you must throw up, throw up on something the human likes a lot like their bed or where they stand when they make coffee. It will get their attention.
- Doors Should Remain Open – Do not allow any doors to be closed to any room in the house. To get a door to open, sit in front of it and meow. If this does not work, get up on your hind legs and scratch at the door loudly to get your human’s attention. Once your human opens the door, rub your cheek against a leg or ankle and walk away. Remember, it isn’t that you wanted to go anywhere, just that the door should be closed. If your human closes the door, repeat the above steps.
There are many other ways to train your human. Patience, persistence, and positive reinforcement can make for a good human. If they become unruly or unmanageable, a good stare with your ears back against your head along with a fast swishing tail often lets them know that you are not happy with their behavior. Rewarding them with purring and allowing them to pet you works best though. Hissing, scratching, and hostile attitude should only be used in extreme cases. Humans are frustrating and can be stubborn. Deep breaths. They are only… human.
If you want to learn how to walk your human, here’s a simple 7 step video.
Photo from Icanhascheezeburger.com