Cat training isn’t as common as with dogs, but if you have a cat who’s easily trainable, the possibilities can be endless (hello “America’s Got Talent”!). In fact, there are cat breeds who can be easy to train.
“Cats are really easy to train because they are extremely smart,” says Pam Johnson-Bennett, a certified behaviorist and owner of Cat Behavior Associates in Nashville, Tennessee.
Understanding their natural instincts can help when it comes to training in play, behavior and even travel.
“The key is to remember that all behaviors, even the ones you don’t like, serve a purpose for the cat,” Johnson-Bennett says. “Instead of viewing a behavior as a misbehavior, look at it as a clue for you to figure out what the cat is trying to tell you. For example, if kitty is scratching the sofa, he’s not doing it to be destructive. Cats have a natural need to scratch, and he may have chosen the sofa because the scratching post is either ineffective or placed in the wrong location.”
Although every feline companion has potential, there are 10 top cat breeds known to be naturals when it comes to training.
Outgoing, affectionate and friendly, the Abyssinian is so intelligent that games of fetch and plenty of exercise can help channel her energy. Many of them can learn to walk on a leash and harness, and some can even do cat tricks.
The more interaction your Aby receives, the better off and happier her will be. Because this breed is so lively and curious, training and regular interaction helps them focus, have fun and direct their behavior in ways that keep everyone happy.
2. American Shorthair
The American Shorthair has a calm, even demeanor that lends itself to learning. In fact, their capacity for learning makes them ideal for acting and modeling roles because they respond so well to positive reinforcement.
You may recognize the American Shorthair’s distinctive silver tabby pattern from television commercials and print ads. Their personalities are just as sparkling as their looks are photogenic.
When you dig into the Bengal’s ancestry, you will find that she descends from the Asian Leopard Cat. Though they now are firmly entrenched in family life, Bengals retain some traits from their ancestors, including their exotic good looks and high energy.
This breed enjoys interactive play with their parents, which means they thrive by spending one-on-one time with you during training. The Bengal especially enjoys learning anything that resembles play.
4. Japanese Bobtail
On an energy scale of 1 to 10, the Japanese Bobtail is about an 11. In addition to their go-go-go personalities, they are known to be smart and love attention from their families and strangers alike.
Their high energy and love for interaction can be directed easily and makes for a very trainable cat. With some praise and rewards, these Bobtails are ideal companions for homes that thrive on quality time with their pets.
5. Maine Coon
The gentle giant of the cat world is known for her laidback disposition and ability to adapt to almost any situation. It’s believed that the Maine Coon sailed to America from England or Scandinavia on ships with seafarers sailing to the New World. Since then, they have survived centuries of harsh weather, rodent hunting in barns and expanding industry.
Now safely relaxing in comfortable family homes, the sharp intelligence and adaptability they honed over the centuries can be used to learn specific traits. The Maine Coon tends to love people of all ages and is eager to please, picking up new tricks quickly and easily.
Curious and adventurous, the Ocicat wants to be wherever you are—and readily will learn to ride in a car, a motorhome or even a boat. Although their spots make them appear as though they have some wild ancestry, they’re actually a crossing of Abyssinians with Siamese.
In other words, Ocicats are smart and active just like the cats that make up their original gene pool. When it comes time to play, this breed enjoys inventing and learning new cat tricks.
This quiet, confident breed also is described as intelligent, interactive and obedient. They look so much like mini bobcats that rumors persisted that wildcats were their ancestors; yet DNA tests prove this isn’t the case.
The Pixiebob can be trained to walk on a leash as well as learn to love bath time, says Shari Fedewa Richards, owner of Living Legend Pixie Bobs in Winter Park, Fla.
The social Siamese thrives on attention and wants to be involved in everything you are doing. The ancient breed has been a staple in the homes of cat lovers for centuries and especially was popular in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Their popularity is understandable. They are social, playful companions that thrive on interaction with their humans, becoming deeply attached to their families.
A people pleaser, the Siamese will love the extra attention that comes with training. And this breed might surprise you with a few cat tricks of her own!
As with its relative, the Abyssinian, you may wonder if you are training your Somali, or if she is training you! The active, playful cat enjoys games of fetch, playing hide and seek and turning on water faucets. Direct your cat’s intelligent curiosity and there’s no telling what the two of you can do.
10. Turkish Van
Channel this breed’s intelligence and curiosity into learning new cat tricks, and she is sure to reward your efforts. The Turkish Van is a social, playful cat who thrives on attention. These cats form strong relationships with their people, so playing and training with a Turkish Van can provide an ideal outlet for fun and bonding. Add a game of fetch to the mix, and your cat will be in heaven!
Cat Training Games
Cats don’t have to be purebred to be trainable. All cats are trainable; they just need the right direction.
A large cat scratching post or cat tree can direct your cat’s natural instincts, such as climbing, sitting on a high surface, stretching her back and using her claws. Cat toys can direct your kitty’s innate need to hunt into fun play and keep her mind and body active.
The most important thing to remember is to keep things fun and positive so your feline friend wants to participate. The result makes for a happier cat and a stronger relationship.
“If you train your cat using love, knowledge and patience, you’ll also end up with the additional benefit of a stronger bond between the two of you,” Johnson-Bennett says.
By: Elisa Jordan
Featured Image: Via iStock.com/MightyPics