Thoughts for Thursday – Is the Cat Trained or is it Conditioning?

We talked about training cats yesterday and I asked if you’d taught your cat anything. I believe that most of us have rituals with our cats and routines that involve them. Is that training or conditioning? What is the difference? Does it matter? I mean, if you have a sweet routine with your cat that the two of you enjoy, it really doesn’t matter if it’s training or conditioning. It’s sweet. And it helps to endear you to your cat and vice versa.

That’s the theme of today’s blog post. But first, I’d like to share a link to one of my recipes. Yes, I said recipe. It’s off topic, I know. But Kaycee at My Crafty Zoo expressed an interest in my Klepto Cat Mysteries. She’s a reviewer of books and other things. She posts reviews, giveaways and recipes. So I submitted a recipe for Quinoa Squash Soup. Here it is if you’re interested:

In the meantime, here are some of the things I’ve enjoyed with my cats that may be considered conditioning, training, or simply habit. My Himalayan, Katy, used to tuck me into bed. She’d come and “get me” when it was my usual bedtime, accompany me to the bathroom, then the bedroom and hop up onto the bed with me. She’d lay on my pillow for a few minutes with one paw on my shoulder. After several minutes, she’d take off to parts unknown. It was like a doting mother putting her baby to bed.

Winfield, our white odd-eye cat, always checked his water and food bowls when we started closing down the house, lights, etc. preparing for bed. If they were low, he’d sit next to them and wait for us to walk by and notice. I’d say he had us trained.

Lily comes into the living room about 15 minutes before bedtime and stares at me with big eyes. When I head in to go to bed, she follows me through my night-time routine, watching, waiting. As soon as I get into bed, she takes one last bite of kibbles and sip of water, then joins me.

Sophie, on the other hand, waits and watches for me to leave my spot on the sofa, then she curls up there for a couple of hours sleep.

Of course, every cat I’ve had quickly learns my wake-up time and routine. And if I don’t wake up on schedule, they will start a plan to wake me. Does your cat do that?

I find it interesting that a cat will change her routine from time to time. Lily, for example, will come into my office after eating in the morning and curl up in my lap. I call it our cuddle time. She’ll do that for weeks, then stop all of a sudden. I used to think it was the weather—if it was chilly, she’d cuddle, if not, she wouldn’t. This week, however, we’ve had some extreme heat (for this time of year). And she’s been requesting early morning lap time. We’re also having workers around the house during the day this week and that scares the bejeebers out of her. So she might be seeking comfort by curling up in my lap.

Experts say it’s good to establish a routine when you have cats. It can actually help you to train them. I guess you might say that I’ve trained Lily in a way. She’s a beggar. Well, that’s my fault and I’ll take the blame. Lily LOVES food and eating. But it wasn’t always that way. She had a period where she stopped eating. She was a very sick little girl. And we tried every ploy and enticing food we could think of (as directed by a team of veterinarians) to get her to eat. I think it was then that we created our little monster glutton. Now she wants every morsel of food in sight, including whatever I’m eating.

At least I’ve trained her or conditioned her to sit and wait until I’m almost finished. If it is something okay for her to have (no heavily seasoned food, etc.), I’ll leave a tiny morsel for her at the edge of my plate and she gently reaches over and takes it only when I give her the okay. I love that little fur-girl.

Here’s an interesting article on the value of routines for cats.

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2 Responses to Thoughts for Thursday – Is the Cat Trained or is it Conditioning?

  1. kathy says:

    My Lil Bit used to wake me up in the morning first she would put her paw an my cheek if i didnt open my eyes then with a little nail poke then a little love nibble till I opened my eyes then she would run to the kitchen for breakfast and she didnt know the difference between a weekday or the weekend. I was well trained I sure miss her she was almost 18 years old when she passed

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