Cat Trainers Extraordinaire
If you don’t believe cats can be trained, take a minute and Google “Savitsky Cats.” These beautiful, athletic animals charmed viewers during the 18th season of America’s Got Talent. Trained cats doing circus tricks may be entertaining, but such acrobatics are not a high priority for most feline owners. The average cat owner would be happy if their pet would just use the litter box or stop scratching the furniture. Let’s face it, as cute and furry as felines are, they can engage in some pretty unwelcome behaviors.
Cats are intelligent creatures and can be trained to become delightful well-adjusted companions. Instead of using proven positive reinforcement techniques, however, all too often frustrated cat owners resort to negative tactics to curb unwelcome behavior. Punishing a cat rarely achieves the desired effect but instead teaches the animal to fear you. Sadly, many cat owners unable to address completely treatable behavioral challenges give up and surrender their pets to a local animal shelter.
The Benefits of Training Cats
Training cats benefits humans, but it is important for the cats themselves. Preventing unwanted cat behaviors makes for a more peaceful household. Additionally, because some behavior problems are caused by stress, learning to address these behaviors from the root cause properly can not only result in successful behavior modification but can also strengthen the bond between cats and the people who love them. Because trained cats can learn boundaries and expectations, they often live happier and safer lives. Animal shelters have learned that training cats makes them more adoptable. Training cats can literally save lives.
Cat Training Is Serious Business
Cat owners who want help training their pets often turn to websites, books, and documentaries on cat behavior looking for help. The Trainable Cat, by biologist John Bradshaw and feline behavior specialist, Dr. Sarah Ellis, was a New York Times Bestseller. Jackson Galaxy, the self-proclaimed “Cat Daddy,” has 1.49 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, “For the Love of Cats.” The Netflix documentary, The Mind of the Cat, skyrocketed into their top 10 this fall.
Cats are big business. According to a 2023-2024 survey by the American Pet Products Association, 46.5 million U.S. households have at least one cat. That figure represents plenty of jobs for talented cat trainers!
Why Consider a Cat Training Gig?
Anyone who is passionate about cats should give serious consideration to earning your cat trainer certification. Whether you want to train cats full time or just need a steady side gig, it’s a worthwhile career for many reasons:
- You get to be around cats all the time!
- You help pet owners minimize chaos caused by problem cat behaviors.
- You can save cats from being surrendered to shelters.
- You can set your own hours and be your own boss!
- In 2023, the average cat trainer salary is a healthy $53,902 per year.
If you already have a dog training or pet grooming career, you know how rewarding it can be to work with animals. Adding cat training to your skills would double the fun! And since many of your current clients likely own dogs as well as cats, you may already have a built-in clientele list!
Be warned, though, working with cats is very different from working with dogs and calls for a whole new training toolkit!
Dogs have been bred to work for humans for thousands of years and seem to be hard-wired to please. A dog will often sit in front of you, look up adoringly, and wonder what you want him to do. A cat? Maybe not. The vast majority of cats still carry wild genes. Stand in front of a cat and she’ll likely look at you disdainfully and walk away. (Fortunately, cats are highly motivated by food.)
How to Become a Certified Cat Trainer
People may smile at the idea of training a cat, but these intelligent animals can learn just as well as their canine counterparts. Knowing the differences in their learning styles and motivation as well as studying cat training theories can set you up for success. If you love cats and you’re looking for a unique career or side gig that offers a lot of perks, why not explore earning your cat trainer certification? Visit Animal Behavior College online to learn more!