Simple Cat Training with Bo & Macy

Right now I’m working on several behaviors with Bo. None of these behaviors are new, but he knows some better than others. Macy shows up to show-off as well! For rewards, I use things each of the cats likes- such as deli turkey, petting, and praise. Below are some tips from different times of the video to give some additional detail on the behaviors! 

0:13 Bo is just learning the paw behavior and this is the second session he’s worked on it. Now that he is understanding the paw behavior I am working on adding in the vocal command, “paw”. When adding in a new cue, start by presenting the cue slightly after they do the behavior. So, I start to add the verbal cue “paw” slightly after he touches his paw to my hand. Eventually you can move the cue up, so it precedes the behavior. Then you can say “paw” and they will give you a high-5. 

0:19 Bo knows the jump behavior but he can be lazy sometimes! I know he can jump higher, so I only reward if I think the jump is worthy. This allows me to variably reward the jump behavior – meaning sometimes I give a treat, sometimes I don’t. Never knowing when the treat is going to come, Bo will try harder and give me a higher jump. 

0:46 Instead of using a closed hand for targeting like I do for Bo, I use a tap target so Macy can hear the area I want her to approach. Macy is blind so an auditory cue works best for her. 

0:50 I give Bo some treats for doing a good job and to divert his attention away from Macy’s treats!

Webinar! The Social Lives of Cats

The social lives of cats: What science says about cat behavior and the human-cat bond

Although domestic cats and humans have lived with one another for thousands of years, relatively little scientific research has been conducted with cats- especially when compared to the body of research on the domestic dog. Many questions regarding cat behavior, especially their social behavior with humans, remain unanswered. Currently, pet cats outnumber dogs by almost 10 million in the US alone and millions of cats live in shelters or are free-roaming outdoors. Over 3.4 million cats enter already crowded shelters each year and of those surrendered by owners, approximately 27% are surrendered due to behavioral issues or incompatibility between cat and owner. Therefore, there are many applied benefits from future research in this area. This talk will cover our scientific understanding of various aspects of cat behavior and cognition and current research being conducted in this area. We will also discuss ways to utilize this knowledge to improve cat welfare and strengthen the human-cat bond.

KristynHeadshot2_ETrainingSpeaker: Kristyn Vitale Shreve
Live Webinar August 9th, 2016, 8:00 PM EDT, Midnight UTC/GMT
Cost: $25.00
Click here to register for the lecture! 

Building the Bond Between Cats and People

New Media Mention: Kym Pokorny, Oregon’s Agricultural Progress, Summer 2016
Link to full story

hatcatsShreve is a National Science Foundation graduate fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in animal sciences at Oregon State University. As part of Monique Udell’s Human-Animal Interaction lab, Shreve’s research focuses on cat behavior, cognition, and human-cat interactions. She’s had her share of people wonder why—or even if—cats can be trained and socialized……

To read the rest of the article click here!


Training Videos

Cat Training Demo

Kristyn shows you how to start training your cat!

Basic Behaviors

Showing off- Sit, Give Paw, Stand Up, Come, Go to Mat, & a trick!


Beginning Clicker Training

How to “load the clicker” to associate the click sound with a reward. You can then use the click to mark a behavior you want to train. The animal then associates the click signals a reward.


Training Sit


Target Training

Train cat to touch their nose to the end of a stick. Allows you to lead their behavior!


Go to Mat & Stay

Trained using Shaping, or marking small steps to build a more complex behavior


Trick behavior: Write on chalkboard!

Trained using Shaping, or marking small steps to build a more complex behavior