For some, the idea of cat training in New York City or anywhere for that matter will sound strange. Whenever blogs on cat training appear, they are followed by the inevitable questions. Can cats be trained? What do you teach them to do? Even if they can be trained, what’s the point? I believe that people ask these questions because upon hearing the term cat trainer or cat training, some folks immediately compare cats to dogs.
It is in that comparison that the challenge occurs. Most of us can effortlessly envision a loyal dog being trained to listen exceptionally well to obedience cues. We can all picture our canine friends working in law enforcement or helping our troops in dozens of capacities. At the very least, it is pretty easy to imagine a trusty dog willingly fetching a stick or ball or tree. OK, maybe not all will fetch a tree, but I had a 100-pound Labrador that would bring pieces of wood for me to throw to him that were almost the size of small trees.
What’s more, he and millions of dogs just like him eagerly perform for a treat, scratch behind the ear, and the ultimate reward, a belly rub. Now picture a cat doing any of this. Imagine your kitty working for something like a belly rub, and you see where the disconnect lies for some people.
Yet here is the thing. Cats are entirely trainable. What’s more, they can be every bit as easy to work with as dogs, and while I know it’s not a competition and many dog lovers might not believe the following statement, in some instances, cats can learn just as quickly or even quicker than dogs. It’s true!
The key to cat training in New York (well, actually the key to all training, whether it is for cats, dogs, or human beings) is to find what motivates them and use that as a reward for the desired behavior.
That coupled with understanding a bit about what is causing the behavior you wish to modify and you have the elements you need for success.
What do you train cats to do? Most of the time, cat parents are interested in addressing minor but problematic behaviors.
Typical ones are how to teach a cat to consistently use a litter box, how to stop them from scratching up your furniture, how to teach them to be more comfortable around people and other cats.
It’s even possible to teach them to be composed around or at least tolerate other dogs. Another critical behavior for cats to learn is how to be calm entering and traveling in a carrier. This makes it easy to take them to the veterinarian or groomer. So, for most kitty owners, the need is to modify behaviors.
Litter box training in a place like New York City is essential because very few cats will have a yard to go out to for elimination. For these urban dwelling cats, litter box training is a must. This is why New York City cat trainers need to be aware of the different needs people have compared to those living in a more rural setting. Speaking of urban environments, according to PetCareRx over half a million cats are kept as pets in New York City. This means a tremendous number of people need a cat trainer’s services and is a reason why a New York City Cat training school or an independent New York City cat trainer has a lot of potential students.
Will cat parents pay for a cat trainer to assist them? They will if they know such services exist for much the same reason people will pay for dog trainers. If you have a cat or cats that you love, but these furry friends of yours are slowly scratching up thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture or ruining the floors by not using their litter box, will you spend several hundred dollars to work with an expert who can help them address the problem? Yes, although that only happens if cat trainers in New York and elsewhere get their message out.
Where can I find cat training in New York City? Ask your veterinarian for a referral, or try a site like Yelp.
You might be wondering how I know all this. I am the president and director of Animal Behavior College. At Animal Behavior College, we teach animal lovers to be dog trainers We also, and I am very proud of this program, offer a course for cat lovers who desire to help kitties and the people who love them by becoming a cat trainer. We have offered our cat training program since 2016 and have one of the largest cat training schools in New York City. That being said, the purpose of this blog isn’t to solicit people to sign up for my programs. No, we won’t turn down qualified applicants, but the real motivation here is about sharing an important message. CATS CAN BE TRAINED!
Why is the “cats can be trained” message important? According to the ASPCA, each year, approximately 860,000 cats are euthanized. Believe it or not, that number is down from what it was 5-10 years earlier, and indeed, Covid helped with adoptions as people all over the country, including New York City, brought cats into their lives to help them cope with lockdowns and more time spent at home. While Covid stimulated adoptions, 860,000 cats euthanized is still a staggeringly large number. What’s even more heartbreaking is that many of these cats were healthy, needed loving homes, and found themselves in shelters because of treatable behavioral challenges. That last part is why schools like Animal Behavior College have been vocal in our attempts to get “the cats can be trained” message to as many people as we can.