Originally Posted by Caelestis
Hello, don't have a go at me i mean this with sincerity and i'm a nuturist not a naturist.
I've got a kitten, lovely lovely little thing, but i'm used to having dogs. I can't have a dog in my flat, which is why i got a cat as i like to have an animal around. I really love the loyalty and affection of a dog, how they greet you at the door and always want to be around you. Is there anyway to train a cat to be more...um, affectionate or demonstrative or clingy? From being a kitten? I am a dog person i suppose, and would like to be able to train a cat to be more dog like. Can you train a cat to fetch and do tricks or alert you to when someones at the door?
Hi! If you expect your cat to be a dog, you will be disappointed. They're just not. However, it sounds like you will be pleasantly surprised to find that what you expect a cat to act like isn't how cats are. If you're willing to appreciate your cat for being a cat, it'll be much more rewarding than trying to push her into a mold of an entirely different species.
Cats are loyal and affectionate, but you might have to work for it. They aren't pack animals who look up to you as the leader of the pack no matter what you do to them. The dominant ones will treat you as an equal with opposable thumbs, the submissive ones will treat you as an older sibling. Neither relationship is unconditional, though cats are much more forgiving than humans.
There is no way to make a cat do... anything. It is about coaxing. For instance Zissou is leash-trained, plays fetch, greets me at the door, follows me from room to room, sleeps on my bed every night (though she didn't for a long time), lets me know when something weird is happening, and comes when I call. I did not, however, train her to do any of these things, and had I tried, she probably wouldn't do any of them. Playing fetch, with any cats I've known who do it, is a spontaneous thing that happens after you play with them interactively enough and they get the concept on their own. If they don't want to do it, they're not gonna do it.
Though one way to help the process along would be to sit at the end of a long hallway and throw bits of dry food down the hall. Then only throwing another one once your cat comes back to you after eating it. This is more psychological conditioning than it is training the way you would train a dog though.
Anyway, your standard reward training with a dog is going to be counterproductive with a cat whether you want it to work or not. Another thing that is different is that you can't teach a cat to be more affectionate to you by being more affectionate to him (her? you didn't say). If a cat wants to sit on your lap, he is going to, if you pick him up and put him on your lap in an attempt to train him to, he's going to be less likely to want to, not more likely. The less you try to force it, the more it's likely to happen.