Does Clicker Training Work with Cats?

This is our tuxedo barn cat boo sitting in one of the horse's feet bowlsDoes clicker training work with cats? Of course it does! I often hear people say that clicker training works with dogs (or a different species) but they are still skeptical about it working with certain other species (such as cats or horses). Cats, of course, have a bit of a reputation for being independent and untrainable. The trick, as with any other species, is finding a high value treat or activity that the cat will be very willing to work for.

Here are two great video clips I ran across today of shelter volunteers at the Michigan Humane Society. In this short clicker training session, they are working on teaching this young cat to go lie on a blanket. They reward the cat with a few seconds of play time for every correct response. What I like about this video is how eager and engaged the kitty seems. He is a quick learner and he is definitely enjoying his clicker training sessions.

Check out the two videos below. I think that you’ll agree that cats are trainable! These two clips are each about two and a half minutes. However, even in that short time you can watch the cat figure out what he’s suppose to do to get the reward. What I really like about these videos is that they use play as a reinforcer. Play keeps the cats active and moving around. This means that the cat is offering lots of behavior that they can then shape.

I’d love to hear more about cat training from anyone who’s tried it with their cat!

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