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Don’t Train Us . . . We’ll Train You! June 19, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Humor, Joke.

Christine is trying to teach an “old dog” new tricks ~ Training Arthur.  Her post got me thinking about Obedience Schools for Dogs . . . and Cats.

Why do we take dogs to Obedience School, but not cats?


Oh, right.

* Dogs enjoy the social setting and party-like atmosphere of Obedience School.  Cats prefer one-on-one interaction with their instructors.

* Cats subscribe to the “don’t train us, we’ll train you” school of thought.

* Cats believe “Everything I Need to Know I’ll Learn in Kitty Garden.”


That’s not to say that cats can’t be trained.  Of course they can.

But not like dogs.

Dogs give to give.  Cats give to get.  Or, to take it one step further:  Dogs live to give.  Cats live to get.


Cats are not inclined to perform circus tricks for our amusement UNLESS there’s an immediate payback for them.

They are unwilling / unable to remember all our self-less acts of benevolence toward them.  Instead, the constant refrain running around their heads goes something like this:  “what have you done for me lately?”

Now, let’s do some Myth-Busting!

Myth #1 ~ Cats can NOT be trained to walk on a leash.

We trained our first two cats, Jazz and Cayenne, to go out on a leash because we lived on a busy road and did NOT want to come home to squashed kitty.

They learned that, if they wanted to go out, they had to wear a leash.


A few tips:

1. Train them when they are young. You might be able to teach old dogs new tricks but old cats are far to smart to fall for any new-fangled invention that involves wearing a tangled noose around their necks.

We trained our first two cats at 6 months of age.  Same with Tigger.

2.  Cats decide whether and when to go out.

Tigger is the feistiest cat we know.  The vet has to have a tech (or two) hold him with leather gloves in order to complete a routine exam, but we trained him on a leash at a very young age.  So it’s never a struggle.  BFF just shakes the leash and Tigger comes running.

Unless he’s busy.  He operates on HIS timetable, not ours.


3. Don’t expect walking a cat to be anything like walking a dog. Cats do not walk for aerobic exercise. They walk to stalk prey.

When they want aerobic exercise, they bounce off the walls inside . . . onto unsuspecting heads . . . preferably while you are busy doing something important . . . like sleeping.

4.  Walking a cat is akin to playing “Follow the Leader” with two basic rules.  (1) They are IT.  (2) Follow them.

Tigger enjoys taking BFF out on a leash.  Having BFF follow him around (like a well-trained puppy) gives him a sense of unbridled power (despite the bridle he’s wearing).

5.  Pay attention.  When cats reach the end of their rope, they refuse to listen to reason or take “no” for an answer.  They will keep pulling, tugging, and struggling for more leash length . . . no matter what!  Even if they are choking.

6. Tigger loves meeting (most) dogs while out and about, and (most) dogs are too confounded by the sight of a cat on a leash to do much more than stare.

Just remember:  once startled, a cat becomes a WILD thing . . . with claws that scratch and teeth that bite.  Keep leather gloves (or a suit of armor) handy.

As Clan McIntosh has been known to intone:  “Touch not a cat bod a glove.”

7. Be prepared to hear your Indonesian neighbor sing out in broken English, “Cat on leash! Ha.  Ha.  Ha.  Very funny.”

By the time we trained Tigger, we had grown accustomed to the stares, snickers, and pointed fingers.  Let them think what they will.

If Tigger’s happy, all is well with the world.  We know that because he told us.

Myth #2 ~ Cats can NOT be herded.

Cats can be herded.  It’s hard work . . . but very rewarding.

Myth #3 ~ Cats rule.


This is NOT a myth.

Cats are deities with a lineage dating back more than 5,000 years.

The Ancient Egyptians worshiped cats long before Christ appeared on the scene.

Killing one, even accidentally, resulted in imposition of the death penalty.

Due to the sacred status and standing of cats, ancient Egyptians mummified their remains at death.

Cats have never forgotten that they are direct descendants of the gods.

Neither should you.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Walking the Cat (Kate Shrewsday) * Make ‘Em Laugh (WP Daily Post)

So . . . do your pets rule the roost?  Or are you pet-free at the moment?


1. katecrimmins - June 19, 2013

We don’t walk our cats but they do train us in other ways.

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

Cats are aces at wrapping unsuspecting cat lovers around their furry paws . . . “you shall do my bidding at all times.”

2. suzicate - June 19, 2013

That’s so thoughtful of Tigger to take BFF for a walk!

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

Tigger makes sure we get exercise throughout the day. If we’re sitting down, he encourages us to get up and get moving ~ tossing treats for him, helping him to ferret out toys from underneath the couch, bending to scoop out his litter box, and doing curls by opening and shutting the fridge to get his food. 😛

3. sued51 - June 19, 2013

Funny, but accurate post. Cats definitely train their humans!!!

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

Dogs do too . . . but they are patient. Cats are impatient, imperious, and impervious to criticism. :mrgreen:

4. Andra Watkins - June 19, 2013

Very optimistic post, Nancy. Every cat I’ve ever known has trained its owner.

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

Absolutely. That’s their job . . . and they take it seriously. 😀

5. Jodi - June 19, 2013

As a vet tech, back in the day, dealing with an angry cat s serious business. Those things are equipped to cause serious damage, should they choose to. I am very grateful that they all come with a scruff!

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

They are well-clawed warriors, indeed. But they can also be well-mannered little beasties. That’s why we love them. 😀

6. Grannymar - June 19, 2013

Nancy, alas here we must part. I am not a cat lover by any means. My late MIL had a cat for years, Alas, I never knew her. She lived in a small Co Durham village in the North of England. The cat would go shopping with her every morning and walk beside her and and then move a little ahead to sit outside the first morning call: The butchers. Once my MIL came out, the cat stood up and headed on down the street to the next shop and so on. The cat never crossed the threshold of any of the buildings, quite content to wait outside and when all was done, headed off in the direction of home. No leash required.

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

That is an AWESOME tale about a tailed feline! I would love to have met that cat.

Alas, twas not to be. 😀

Grannymar - June 19, 2013

We were not even born then. It was in the late 1920/30s.

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

A neighbor in Maryland did have a cat that wandered around the neighborhood with him . . . but it was a quiet island with few distractions. Not nearly as impressive as Alas.

Grannymar - June 19, 2013

I never heard of it happening before, but then, I came from a city.

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

Cities are paved with distractions. 😯

7. kateshrewsday - June 19, 2013

Ha! Taking notes here, Nancy…I think I could use a lot of this with Clive…

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

Perhaps you can train Clive to walk with you as you explore old pathways this summer . . . that might be intriguing to the folks at Penguin Books.

I hope Clive doesn’t mind camping . . . or getting his paws dirty.

8. 2e0mca - June 19, 2013

There is nothing wrong with Cats that a 12 bore won’t cure…

Sorry for my violent outburst but I’m trying to improve my garden and I’ve had it up to the highest place it’s possible to go with shovelling Cat Manure. It would be really great if cat owners would take responsibility for their pets – or should that be pests? But, they don’t have the same legal requirements as those applied to dog owners. So their pets are allowed to make the lives of the rest of us a misery. Picture cat pooh on hands, gloves, gardening tools, etc. And, of course, on kids hands and in kind mouths if they are playing in the garden…

I’m seriously considering taking punitive action because I’ve had too much of this ‘wonderful cats’ culture. The owners get the joy, the rest of us suffer 😦

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

Wow! I’m glad I posted this post so you would have a place to air your grievances, Martin. That sounds NASTY! 😯

Our cats have never done their business outside. They use a litter box. Inside. Which we clean up. Several times a day.

I’m sorry the cat owners in your neighborhood don’t do the same. Pet owners should be responsible for their pets. That’s why we walk our cats on a leash. Minimizes the mischief.

2e0mca - June 19, 2013

You may find that they actually have – it’s part of marking territories My neighbors have litterboxes that their cats use but it doesn’t stop them from messing in my garden 😦

Last time I used an air rifle I put 10 pellets into the space a UK 5p piece occupies on the target. I don’t want to do that to a living creature but I’ve really had enough of the cats round here 😦

My distase of harming living creatures will prevent that from happening but I just wish Cat owners fully understood the damage their pets do – seedlings dug up and plants destroyed.

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

When Tigger is outside, we are standing right next to him. So he doesn’t get into any mischief. He wanders around smelling smells, chasing lizards, and eating grass.

Maybe you should have a chat with your neighbors to share your concerns?

9. Barbara Backer-Gray - June 19, 2013

That’s hilarious! Also reminds me that it will be possible to have a cat when we retire and live in an RV. Have you ever trained your cats to go on the toilet?

nrhatch - June 19, 2013

My niece trained her cat to use the toilet. I prefer NOT to share the bathroom with a cat. :mrgreen:

Tigger used to travel with us quite a bit. We’d let him stretch his legs at rest stops! He created quite a stir.

10. 2e0mca - June 20, 2013

Hi Nancy – Thanks for giving the opportunity to get it off my chest…

Ahh!… That’s Better 🙂

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

You’re welcome! I’ve been trying to think of how to discourage the cats from visiting and leaving their calling cards . . . some kind of “scarecrow” might work. Maybe tin pie plates blowing about in the breeze making a clanging sound would scare off the scaredy-cats?

11. Perfecting Motherhood - June 20, 2013

Cats sure own us. And the worst is, we let them!

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

I can think of no better reason for owning a pet . . . than to spoil it! 😀

12. Pix Under the Oaks - June 20, 2013

Hello Tigger!
Kodi walking his human is too dang cute!
Pet-free for now.. 🙂

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

Isn’t Kodi adorable. I went looking for the herding cats video and stumbled into that. It seemed purr-fect for this post.

13. Nancy Curteman - June 20, 2013

Great post on cat training. What I’d like to know is how to train a cat to stay off kitchen counters.

nrhatch - June 20, 2013

Tigger never gets up on the kitchen counters . . . because he doesn’t know that he can jump that high. Unless there is a chair for him to use as a stepping stool, he doesn’t attempt it.

But we can’t really claim credit for “training him.” It just happened because we provided him stepping stools when he was a kitten. Outside, he knew he could run and jump 5-6 on a tree branch, etc. But he never made the connection inside.

And we didn’t bother filling him in. :mrgreen:

14. Three Well Beings - June 21, 2013

Number 7 has me laughing out loud, Nancy. Cats are just intelligent, and I think they do train well, or at least they train us! And until recently i thought of myself as fairly animal independent, but when i realized how I obsess over a tortoise I now know I’m as “flawed” as everyone else. We are out of town at the moment and I had to get a house sitter because I was worried about him. And I still hope my friend can manage…I’m hopeless! 🙂

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

That is the first time I heard of someone getting a house sitter for . . . a tortoise! Good for you. Our pets depend upon us for food, shelter, love, and companionship. 😀

15. jannatwrites - June 21, 2013

I’ve not trained a cat to walk on a leash, but we did have a cat trained to roam the back yard on a leash. She would run out the sliding door but stop right by the stake in the yard where her leash was. We’d follow her out and hook her up. She would meow when ready to come inside. (Side note: back yard was fenced and the leash was short enough she couldn’t strangle herself trying to jump into a tree.)

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure who was better trained: cat or human 🙂

My cats have worked hard to train me. I’m a slow learner, but they remain persistent.

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

Same here. We have had very persistent (and persnickety) cats. While staking cats in the backyard doesn’t work for many cats, seems like it was the purr-fect practice for your little gal.

16. shreejacob - June 21, 2013

LOL..more the reason for me to stick being a doggy person! 😉

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

We both had dogs growing up. As a result, our cats have a few dog like traits ~ they run to greet us when we come home, they walk on leashes, and . . . the rest of the time they are cats.

17. bluebee - June 21, 2013

Glad that Tigger is doing OK, Nancy.

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

He’s hanging in there . . . a real trooper. His weight has stayed fairly constant since January and he continues to enjoy chasing his treats and stalking lizards on the deck. 😀

18. CMSmith - June 21, 2013

That’s interesting, Nancy. I was wondering the same thing, why don’t people train cats? I guess they do.

And it makes me wonder if Arthur perhaps is part feline.

nrhatch - June 21, 2013

We trained our cats NOT to scratch the sofa and recliners with water pistols and water bottles. A loud noise followed by a blast of water (especially if they don’t see where it came from) usually gets their attention. 😯

We were never able to train them to tidy up their toys. 😉

19. How to train your humans | theseeker - June 23, 2013

[…] You tube came from: Spirit Lights the Way […]

20. Tokeloshe - July 4, 2013

Tigger’s looking great!
I enjoyed the videos 😉

nrhatch - July 4, 2013

Thanks, Tok. Tigger is hanging in there. He’s not as perky as he used to be, but his appetite is good and he’s managing to maintain his weight. And he still enjoys chasing his treats. 😀

21. Tigger Had A Busy Summer | Spirit Lights The Way - October 25, 2013

[…] Previous updates:  It’s Tigger Time! * Eat, Drink, and Be Hairy! * Tigger is NOT Your Average Cat * Don’t Train Us . . . We’ll Train You! […]

22. Tigger is . . . Ten! | Spirit Lights The Way - July 21, 2014

[…] is Sick * Tigger is NOT Your Average Cat * Eat, Drink, and Be Hairy! * It’s Tigger Time! * Don’t Train Us . . . We’ll Train You! * Tigger Had A Busy Summer * Tigger’s End of the Year Wrap Up * Stand Your Ground * […]

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