Motivate cats to exercise: how it works

Most dogs love to learn new tricks and let off steam in dog sports, but can cats do that too? Or are they not motivated to train at all? In fact, it is possible to teach the idiosyncratic velvet paws something. You can find out how to do this here. "Training? Me? But I'm already perfect!", This Burma cat seems to think - Shutterstock / Seregraff

Cats can be both raised and trained. However, motivating them to exercise is a little more difficult than is the case with dogs. After all, dogs were domesticated much longer ago and bred specifically as companions for humans and work animals. Domestic cats, on the other hand, differ only slightly from their ancestor, the fallow cat.

What makes cats so special

The main difference with cats and most dogs is that for a long time the velvet paws were only expected to drive mice and other greedy small animals from farms and fields or to eat the uninvited guests. Dogs should help people work or hunt, and keep them company. As a result, dogs are much more eager to be educated by humans and to be assigned tasks.

However, cats usually choose whether to keep a person company. Their hunting instinct is more original than that of dogs. The free will of the velvet paws means that they only participate in the training if they feel like it. This also applies to dogs, but it is easier to motivate them to work, because they feel more than cats the need to please their favorite people (even if there are certain dog breeds that are in no way inferior to the house tigers in terms of stubbornness) ,

Find the right reward for training

If you want to motivate cats to exercise, the right reward is important. Your fur nose must realize that it is worthwhile for them to show a certain behavior. This can be a particular treat that your cat particularly likes. However, make sure that it is healthy and does not exceed the daily calorie requirements of your room tiger - otherwise treats can lead to obesity in the long run.

However, every cat is different and there are also fur noses that do not care much about food rewards. Watch your kitty what she seems to enjoy a lot: playing together, cuddling on the sofa, praising yourself or taking a trip to the garden. Whenever your velvet paw shows desired behavior, it is immediately rewarded. It is best to simply ignore undesirable behavior; ranting or being punished is counterproductive in cats. This principle is called positive reinforcement and is usually recommended for dog training; however, it also works with our salon lions.

By the way: Clicker training can also be an option for cats. The clicker sound then serves as a reward. You can read more about this in our guide "Clicker Training for Cats: Playful Education".

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Motivate cat: be patient

It takes time for cats to realize that a particular behavior is followed by a great reward. So don't expect too much from your kitty and don't overwhelm her. Be patient and give her the time she needs. With coercion or impatience you won't achieve anything with the house tigers - on the contrary, because then your fur nose will learn that it will cause restlessness and stress when it shows the desired behavior, and of course it wants to avoid that.

Awaken the curiosity of the cat and use it

However, you can take advantage of your cat's natural curiosity to motivate her to exercise or to raise her. For example, awaken the joy of discovery of your fur noses by bringing them a new toy or switching between them more often. Many cats can also be motivated with catnip and love cat toys that are filled with the herb.

If your cat is afraid of something, such as a vacuum cleaner or visiting, her curiosity can also be useful. It is important that she can examine the object that triggers her fear in peace and security, at her own pace. So give her a feeling of security, make sure that your kitty feels comfortable, and just leave the object she is afraid of without imposing it on her. When visiting, the stranger can sit quietly on the sofa, ignore the cat, and read or watch TV. Then your velvet paw will notice that the visit does nothing to her.