A lot of people are under the mistaken impression you can’t train a cat, but this isn’t true. Cats are as smart as dogs (and, in some cases, smarter), meaning they can be trained as well. Training can sometimes be a bit more complicated, though, as felines aren’t as big of people pleasers as dogs. So, training one will take time and patience, but if you have that and the tips below, you can train a cat.
But can all cat breeds be trained? Yep! Some will take more time than others, of course (depending on how stubborn they are), but you can train any cat if you know how to do so. The Bengal cat is no different. Many people think because this cat is so playful and mischievous that training them will be impossible, but this breed is highly intelligent, which works in their favor when it comes to being trained. If you have a Bengal cat you’d like to train, you’ll need the six great tips listed here to get you on your way to having a fully trained feline sooner rather than later.
Before You Begin
There really isn’t much to prepare before you begin training your Bengal cat. Items you’ll want to ensure you have on hand include:
Other than that, anything else you might need to have handy will depend on what you’re training your cat to do. For example, if you decide to teach your pet to walk on a leash, then you’ll need to have a harness and leash ready. If you’re training them to fetch, you’ll need a toy of some kind to throw.
6 Great Tips to Train a Bengal Cat
Below you’ll find the tips that will make training your kitty a much simpler process!
1. Only do one type of training at a time.
You might have a lot you want to train your Bengal cat to do, whether that’s keeping off counters or how to go for a walk with you. However, you need to take these things one at a time to make life easier for both you and your cat. Training your pet to keep off counters might take a little bit of time for it to learn—it is, after all, the nature of felines to jump on tall things they shouldn’t—and you want to be sure your pet has mastered that skill before moving on to the next.
2. Keep training sessions on the short side.
Bengal cats are known for having tons of energy and, at times, very short attention spans (particularly in kittenhood). Trying to force in a half-hour of training with your cat each day will only result in your cat becoming bored while you become frustrated that it’s not paying attention. So, stop a training session before your pet loses interest. Doing this will make things easier for both of you as training continues.
3. Grab the kitty’s attention.
Cats live by their own rules, which means they often only respond to you or their name being called when they feel like it. Clearly, you’ll need to grab your feline’s attention to do a training session, though. One way to manage this is by calling your pet’s name while enticing them with a treat. Once they’ve responded and come to investigate, give them the treat, then begin the session. Soon enough, your cat will learn to come when it’s called, and you’ll be off the hook for giving them treats when it does. (And you’ll have officially trained your pet to do something!) This method can work with other things, such as litter box training for kittens, as well.
4. Use a clicker to train your Bengal cat.
Bengal cats are excellent with clicker training (and this method of training is useful if you’re training more than one feline at a time). How does clicker training work? Well, a clicker is a small device that makes a clicking noise obvious enough for your cat to pick up on. Whenever your pet has done what you want it to, click the clicker, then give it a treat or reward. Soon, your cat will learn to associate the clicking sound with a treat. That does mean you’ll need to give your cat a treat whenever you click, so be careful you don’t over-click or click by accident!
5. Reward good behavior right away.
When your Bengal cat does what you want, give them a treat, lots of love, or whatever else you might be using as a reward! And be sure you reward them straight away, so your pet associates the behavior with the reward. Treats, in particular, are an excellent form of positive reinforcement as our feline friends are quite food motivated. Just remember—if you’re doing something such as giving kitty multiple commands during training, that your pet knows where in the command chain the treat will be coming (and wait a few seconds between commands to make commands clearer).
6. Never use punishment.
Finally, here’s one thing you should never do—punish your cat. Punishing a feline for bad behavior won’t work; instead, you’re more likely to do harm. Bengal cats can become very irritable and stressed in the face of punishment, so rather than learning not to do something again, your pet is more likely to do things such as hide from you or refuse food.
If you’re the owner of a Bengal cat, you can absolutely train your feline to do a variety of things. Whether you want to train your kitty to use the litter box, play fetch, or walk on a leash, utilizing the tips above will help you immensely. Training a cat involves time and patience, so be sure you have plenty of that before beginning (you’ll probably want to have some treats handy, too!). And remember to never use punishment with your pet as it will stress them out and could result in negative behaviors such as hiding from you.
Featured Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock