CBD For Cats: How To Train Your Cat Using CBD Treats
Can you train a cat? Contrary to popular opinion, cats are indeed trainable. While aloof and independent, cats learn and respond to your stimuli and associate those stimuli with behavior. Whether or not they intend to please you or themselves by their response is open to your interpretation and something we’ll likely never fully understand.
Let’s discuss things you might teach your cat, some of the ways you can train your cat, and how CBD for cats could play a role. You may be surprised to find the answer to can you train a cat, because there may be times when the cat is training you! Or you may have questions about CBD for cats and why everyone is so excited about them. Today, we’ll tackle the mystery of your cat’s motivations and take advantage of those feline temptations that show you how to train your cat.
Can You Train A Cat?
Cats have a reputation for being selfish and independent, with memes circulating about your cat’s desire to complicate your life and take over the world. In reality, cats just want to be cats.
Their predatory instincts often are mistaken for aggressive behavior. Their curiosity, a clichéd warning we give our children, can also complicate matters. But cats aren’t out to inspire memes or entertain us with their antics; they are interested in meeting their basic feline needs, and often, they invite us to be a part of it all.
Training a cat inserts our own wishes into the equation. It also allows us to shape our cat’s behavior to suit an indoor environment better.
Cat Training: Are You Already Doing It?
Whether you intend to or not, you are cat training by your daily habits and behavior. They pick up cues from you and respond. For example, when your cat jumps up on the counter, and you immediately rush to get them down, perhaps scolding them, your cat interprets this as attention from you and may think that is a positive thing. “When I get on the counter, I get picked up.”
A more intentional approach will help you to curb unwanted behaviors from your cat and encourage the behaviors you want to see.
Cat Training: Sometimes Cats Train Us Instead
When your cat reaches that annoying empty space in their food bowl, regardless of how much food they still have there to eat, they may come to you and ask to be fed again. They may jump up in your lap, meow or howl while standing at their food bowl, or push the bowl around with their nose. Sometimes they dig around in the cabinets and try to chew their way into the cat food bag. These behaviors all mean, “I want more food in my bowl.” And we fill the bowl.
Cats have a way of asking for what they need, and while this behavior is entertaining to us, to some degree, it can become annoying after a while. It seems our cats train us very well to do what they want! Why not use this ability to learn and associate to train your cat?
What Kinds of Things Can You Train A Cat?
Let’s be honest here: there are a lot of things we’d like to teach our cats, which some cats do learn, but they are not necessarily the norm. Like teaching your cat to retrieve items for you, for example. But there are some things we need to train our cats to do so they can live comfortably and safely in our homes. Common cat-training goals could be to:
- Come when you call them.
- Allow you to trim their nails or brush their teeth.
- Use a scratching post rather than the corner of your couch.
- Use the litter box rather than your laundry pile.
- Stay off the kitchen table, stovetop, and counters.
How To Train Your Cat: Techniques
Chances are, you already have some things in mind that you want to teach your cat or a problematic behavior in your cat that you are trying to solve. And you are here for the “how can I train my cat blah blah…” portion of this article, and that’s ok! As promised, here are some helpful tips and information so you can find more about how to train your cat and the basics of cat training.
How Cats Learn
Teaching your cat depends on how well you understand how your cat learns. Cats learn every day by the stimuli in their environment and their experiences with those stimuli. Here are some ways your cat learns and interprets the environment around them:
Habituation: This is the process by which cats learn that a sound (like the TV, for example) or a situation has no bearing on them. There are no positive or negative effects from that stimulus, so with repeated exposure, your cat learns to ignore it.
Sensitization: The opposite of habituation, sensitization teaches your cat to have an increased response to a stimulus as they begin to associate that stimulus with the effects it has on them, either positive or negative. This is helpful in cat training. You can build an association with a clicker noise marking a certain behavior and the resulting cat treat your cat will receive for performing that behavior.
Classical conditioning: This involves your cat’s ability to learn predictive circumstances, e.g., the sound of the can opener means they are about to be fed. Eventually, your cat may feel excited, salivate, or run to their bowl every time they hear the can opener.
Operant conditioning: Similar to classical conditioning, your cat can learn that certain stimuli lead to certain consequences. This can be helpful for teaching your cat that you are busy reading a book and will not pet them right now. If you stand up and walk away at your cat’s insistence when they shove their face between you and your book, you let them know that you are not going to pet them right now. Or, as I like to do, place the book on top of the cat and continue to read, which annoys him, and he decides to get down and try to be petted another time.
Observational learning: This is the type of learning that occurs when your cat watches another cat do something and learns from them, like a mother cat teaching her little ones to hunt in the wild, or where the food bowl and water bowls can be found at home.
Cat Training: The Basics
The basics of cat training involve teaching proper and safe indoor behavior or even some fun things like cat toilet training or shaking a paw. Whatever your goals, you’ll want to use your understanding of cat training with techniques that work for both you and your cat.
You can use a clicker to associate the sound with a behavior and then reward your cat with a treat or affection. Or you could use simple voice commands associated with a behavior and reward with cat treats.
Consistent efforts over a period of time will yield the most rewarding results. Your cat is learning every single day, and when you become intentional in cat training, they may first react with alarm, skepticism, or indifference. But try again, and use the same cue with the same reaction every time. Soon, your cat will make the association and learn that behavior leads to calming cat treats
How To Train Your Cat To Do Something
Example: Train your cat to shake a paw by using classical conditioning. Sit with your cat in front of you or on your lap. Tap their paw and say, “shake.” You may have to lift their paw and tap it on your hand to demonstrate. Then place a treat in the same hand and offer it to your cat. Repeating this a few times a day will teach your cat to place their paw in your hand when you say “shake,” and they will receive cat treats. If your cat tries to play this game with you at their provocation, ignore them. You want them to learn to shake when you ask them to and not to paw at you when they want cat treats. Keep your reactions consistent, and they will learn shake means treat.
Example: Teach your cat to come by calling out their name and at the same time, offer a stimulus that would get their attention, like shaking the treats box. Eventually, you can eliminate shaking the cat treats box and simply offer them a treat when they come. Also, if you call them in the same way right before you fill their bowl with a meal, they will have more positive reinforcement to come when they hear the sound of your voice calling their name.
Teach your cat NOT to do something
First of all, it is not recommended to punish a cat for its behavior. This makes your cat fearful and stressed, and neither will help your cat be calm or comfortable in your home.
Example: Train your cat to not jump up on the counter. First, eliminate reasons they want to be on the counter. If they are after running water, try a trickling pet fountain instead of their boring water bowl. If they just want to be up high, provide a climbing tree for them.
Second, if your cat is still roaming the counters, you can make this behavior less fun and interesting for them by using operant conditioning. For example, my cat really hates the sound of a spritz of water from a water bottle. I can say “No!” or “Get down!” and spritz the bottle into the air. This prompts him to get down: “This isn’t fun anymore up here!” Works every time; no need to squirt the cat.
Also, when he climbs up on his cat tree – something I want him to do – I’ll often stop what I am doing and place a cat treat on the highest perch. He loves these “scavenger hunts,” and it encourages him to climb or use the scratching posts on his cat tree. In this way, multiple learning methods are used to reinforce one lesson: climb on the cat tree but not the counters.
CBD For Cats
CBD for cats and other products like, CBD oil cats are becoming more widely used and available for our feline friends. And for a good reason: they offer all of the CBD benefits for our beloved cats.
CBD Oil for Cats
There are two common types of CBD for cats: CBD oil for cats and CBD cat treats like CBD soft chews for cats. Whichever one you choose to use (or both) depends on how you want to give CBD oil to your cat. If they aren’t into the whole treat thing, tinctures are easy to add to their regular food. Some cats balk at anything suspicious in their food and are quite picky eaters but will gobble up a cat treat that smells like catnip and then beg for more! Whichever is easier and done on a regular schedule is best.
CBD For Cats: CBD Benefits
There’s a whole lot of talk about CBD for cats, though you’ve perhaps heard a lot less about it than CBD for our cats. To understand how CBD affects our cats, we must first look at the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a major lipid signaling system in your cat that plays a vital role in feline (and human) bodies. The ECS helps to maintain homeostasis or balance. When this system is imbalanced, your pet can experience a variety of health complications, making them feel bad or behave differently. The endocannabinoid receptors are in your cat’s brain and throughout its body, functioning as a complex nerve-signaling system. CBD oil for cats supplies the CBD cannabinoid that can promote balance within your cat’s biological makeup.
And the question you’re all asking, “What do the endocannabinoid system and CBD for cats have to do with cat training?” It seems like a lot of things to consider when you just want your cat to stop jumping on the counter or come when you call them.
But it all is important, just as much as understanding how your cat is thinking and what motivates them to learn or do a new action or behavior.
Here’s how it works:
- We know cats have the same kind of endocannabinoid system as humans.
- We know what the endocannabinoid system does.
- We can take advantage of that knowledge and apply it to our cats.
- We can work on cat training when they are feeling their best!
Very much in the same way that drinking more water helps your work at the gym pay off, or putting oil in your car before you take a trip means your car will run more efficiently; we do one thing to support another. Providing supportive CBD for cats helps to set the stage for cat training efforts.
CBD For Cats Are Only Part of the Equation
You can’t give your cat CBD each day and expect it to be a magical cure for bizarre cat behavior. It is only a piece of the puzzle. CBD for cats,, like those for dogs and humans, must be used regularly, consistently, and as a part of an overall health and wellness routine for your cat.
Consistency Is Key
CBD works best when given regularly. Begin your cat’s CBD regimen and be consistent with their daily amounts – this is the first step, especially if you are using CBD oil for cats.
The name CBD “treats” for cats can be a bit misleading. They are not to be used widely and excessively, but more as a regular “daily amount” kind of thing. If your cat responds well to treats, give them their daily cat treats with CBD at the usual times, and either follow this with a cat training session or use secondary cat treats without CBD for extra treats that you can use to encourage your cat to learn a trick. There are two ways to do this:
- CBD Cat Treats: Encourage your cat to perform an activity and reward them with a treat. Repeat this until your cat’s daily amount of cat treats is reached. Or split their daily amount into two different cat training sessions. This method means shorter training sessions, and it may take longer for your cat to associate the yummy treat with the behavior, but consistency and patience are key!
- Give your cat their daily CBD amounts at the times you normally would. But for longer cat training sessions, when you need a more generous supply of “temptation” for your cat, use secondary cat treats (without the CBD) so that the amount you give them is less important. This way, you can encourage the behavior, reward the response, repeat – as many times as your cat is comfortable.
Of course, you need to be patient and loving with your cat. When they get done with an activity or training session, follow up with cuddles or hair brushing – something they love to do with you. Or give them some space to relax in a quiet place and take a nap. Never force your feline companion to cooperate when they are communicating another need to you or if they are showing signs of stress.
Meet Your Cat’s Health Needs with Regular Veterinary Care
It is important, when considering cat behavior, to make the physiological connections between an unwanted behavior and a potential underlying health issue. For example, if your cat is suddenly chewing on the furniture or having hypersalivation, could there be a dental issue? If your cat is urinating in various places around the house but seems to be avoiding the litter box, might there be an underlying issue with their kidneys or something else?
Only your vet can determine your cat’s health needs and advise you medically. If you never take your cat to the vet, you are missing opportunities to catch a problem early and get the treatment your cat needs. Discuss any issues of concern about your cat’s diet, exercise, sleep patterns, overall mood, and any problematic or odd feline behavior with your vet. These veterinary partnerships help us to help our cats.
You can also discuss your plans to use CBD oil for cats with your cat’s veterinarian. They can help with more information and guidance and offer other helpful, supportive care measures that you can provide for your cat.
CBD For Cats And Cat Training
Whether we are cat training or they are training us, we all want our cats to be their best, feel their best, and have a relaxing, comfortable life in our homes. They bring us so much joy, love, and entertainment every day!
CBD oil for cats, like the CBD soft chews for cats and the CBD cat tinctures, can be a helpful part of that equation to keep your cat well-balanced and support all your other care measures.
Check out our other blog posts for more helpful cat-loving tips!