TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Anyone ever tried NILF, on a cat
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Anyone ever tried NILF, on a cat

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
For those that don't know NILF stands for Nothing In Life is Free. The whole principle is that they don't get something for nothing. If they want food they have to do something for you. My sister has used this to train her dog. Well last night I was reading an article about "Bully Cats" (it was in a magazine put out by Tufts Vetrinary Shcool) Well this is the best term I've ever heard for my Jordan. He doesn't bully the other cats, but he does like to bully me. In there they suggested using this would help get a bully back under control. So I started last night, basicly before I will feed him I make him sit. I was wondering if anyone else has ever tried this on a cat & if so how did it work? Also, any other idea's for times I can make him to tricks before I do something for him?
post #2 of 18
No, I haven't tried that on my cats. It makes sense to me for dogs, because they are pack animals, and enjoy "serving" the pack leader. My dog's job is watching out the window, and keeping us safe from predators and squirrels.

But cats are so different. I really doubt if you can train a cat to do tricks, unless he wants to learn tricks!

But cats do understand "alpha cat". You say your cat bullies you, how so? My cat knows I am "topcat". If I am eating while sitting at the computer, they come and look at my food, but when I say "No" they leave it alone. Of course if I walk away, they will grab it and run!

The point being, our actions either teach the cat we are in charge, or they are in charge.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Basicly he wants what he wants when he wants it (not uncommon for a cat), but when I don't give in he becomes destructive. He knocks things off walls & off shelves. I've got baby locks on all my cabinets because he would go in them & start knocking things out. He's very stuborn & he can go on & on for hours. To some degree it is my fault because I started getting tired of missing out on 1 to 2 hours of sleep every night & I'd get up to feed him, or I'd leave large amounts of food out. He is in charge there's no question about that, but all other attempts I've made to take control have failed. I know alot of people aren't fond of the squirt bottle, but I've tried it. He decided one day that it was a good way to get a drink. So I sprayed him & he walked over & put his mouth on the end & get a drink.
post #4 of 18
heh I have never used the spray bottle on my cats except as a toy. Elliot likes to drink from it, and both like it when you spray them. hey dont like puddles of water though, or baths? My kitten will turn around in circles and meow as if saying "hey, whats this? what are you doing to me? this si fun! im wet!" O_O :P cuteness.. somecats just like spray bottles.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rang_27
For those that don't know NILF stands for Nothing In Life is Free. The whole principle is that they don't get something for nothing. If they want food they have to do something for you. My sister has used this to train her dog. Well last night I was reading an article about "Bully Cats" (it was in a magazine put out by Tufts Vetrinary Shcool) Well this is the best term I've ever heard for my Jordan. He doesn't bully the other cats, but he does like to bully me. In there they suggested using this would help get a bully back under control. So I started last night, basicly before I will feed him I make him sit. I was wondering if anyone else has ever tried this on a cat & if so how did it work? Also, any other idea's for times I can make him to tricks before I do something for him?
No, i would never do that. At the very least maybe with a treat or something, but i wouldn't take my cats who have lived in my home for all this time and all of a sudden decide that I'm going to start training it like a dog and make it work for its keep.

I would never turn around on them and decide to try something like NILF. I think that's a horrible idea. In my cat's world, EVERYTHING is free. They are required to do absolutely nothing to be cared for by me.

IMO you can't "break" a cat. It's not a horse, lol.
post #6 of 18
I trained my cats to do some things, but they do them only for treats. Aerowyn knows round, up, and walk Elliot knows sit, up, round, and shake. It took a bit to teach them though and they don't always do it, expecially if they dont like/want the treat :P Some cats you cant teach anything because theyw ill lookat you like you are a moron on drugs. xD Im lucky because I have two very calm, compatible, agreeable cats.
post #7 of 18
Get a book on clicker training. Two of my cats love clicker training. They will come when called and shake so far. I wish I had more time to work with them. Clicker training is fun and rewarding for both you, and the cat. If you want a cat to do tricks, try this in addition to the love and food you already provide them with

Bobbie
post #8 of 18
If you feed him and give him treats when he is destructive, you have already trained him. His job is to tear up the house, then you feed him.

Cats are on a whole different playing field than dogs. You are supposed to have control over your dog, that makes them happy. With cats, its more like mutual respect. But if he has no respect for you, that isn't a very good relationship. And if he just wants food, feed him!

And if he gets destructive, can you use a fun toy to distract him? Or pick him up and cuddle with him whenever you feed him, so he associates loving with food, not destructive behavior?

Hopefully Hissy will have some good ideas. But I do think if you try to "train" a cat like a dog, you will be disappointed. Like BigOrange said, you can teach a cat to do tricks, but it isn't like a dog where they always do it. Cats do understand what you are asking of them, and will comply if they feel like it!

Good luck with this cat. He sounds very smart!
post #9 of 18
This principle is sound with a dog and is generally used when trying to "rewire" an alpha dog. The alpha always gets food first, no questions asked, goes through doors first, no questions asked, sits on the couch, no questions asked....

In a house with a dog, its healthiest and safest for the dog for you to be Alpha (and dogs actually WANT you to be alpha..its a hard job!!)....
So, the NILIF concept works on the premise that you as human are the alpha and that the dog knows that he doesn't get it all for free...He has to do something for you to be able to do it..

With dogs, this means he sits or does a down (Or whathaveyou) before going outside, before eating, before getting up on the furniture, you get the point....

With dogs, this is a mutually beneficial way to gain respect.
(I disagree with Beckiboo that its all about control...with dogs, as with cats, its all about respect as well..the alpha is always respected as in the cat world)

However, I do agree with her and with others that you can't just take this simple program and apply it to cats...I think for one, you would soon become quickly frustrated.

For example, you want the cat to sit before jumping up on the couch...
What you would have to do is correct that cat in mid-air!
Now, while trick training for cats (and even dogs) is fun and enjoyable for both if they WANT to do it, you ask a cat that doesn't want to sit to do so while jumping up on the couch in mid-air?? lol...


I don't really know if going into cabinets and knocking things around and off shelves could be considered bullying..? My cat is a little lord and he does this too but I just chalk it up to curiousity and amusing himself..

Like I said, I think that training tricks is completely in the realm of possibility and I think it could be fun...but this is different than the NILIF program...
He does sound smart and maybe just needs some more stimulation..Trick training might be the way to go!

Good luck!!
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Maybe I should explain a few things. First off my cats are on scheduled feeding per their vets recommendation. 2 of the 3 of them are over weight because when I got them I tried free feeding. Most of his destructive behavior revolves around food, but occasionally if I'm not paying attention to him he will do the same things. I had to put 6 extra magnets on my medicine cabinet to keep him out of it becuase every time I took a bath he'd jump on the sink open the cabinet & start knocking things out. I'm sure to most people this may not seem like a big deal, but it's EVERY night. One day last week I got all of 3 hours sleep because I wouldn't give in to him. He has the strongest Alpha drive of any cat I've ever known. It's not that I'm really not going to let him get on the couch, or anything like that, but I need to get some sleep. Certain things he does are very dangerous, for example pushing on the screen of an open window. We are on the second floor & I'm afraid he's going to fall out. Obviously I can't keep the window closed when it's hot out, but I worry he's really going to hurt himself. He is an extreemly smart cat & since I started teaching him sit he will sit every time I've got food for him. I take responsibility for not having control of him in the first place, but I need to do something to make him respect me. I love my boys with all my heart, but I NEED SLEEP!!! I'm sick of being tired & angry at him.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy

With dogs, this is a mutually beneficial way to gain respect.
(I disagree with Beckiboo that its all about control...with dogs, as with cats, its all about respect as well..the alpha is always respected as in the cat world)
I stand corrected! Yes, this is a much better way of describing it. It isn't really control, even with dogs.
post #12 of 18
The more I hear about this cat, the more I like him. LOL I am sure he is a pain at night, but be must be a riot to watch during the day. He sounds too smart for his own good

I wish I could help you. I am sure there is someone out there who can. I myself would probably give in and free feed him. But it doesn't really sound like he is hungry, it sounds like he just wants your attention. Maybe he needs a kitten to play with, or a fish tank to watch? Maybe a good round of play time before bed? Laser pointers work great with my cats, so do feathers on a long stick to get them jumping and tired.

What breed, if any is this guy? He sounds like my Bengal, but luckily my kitten is only 8 months old, and tires out easily, so he sleeps through the night. My Ocicat on the other hand requires little sleep and has been know to drop mice on my head in the middle of the night in hopes of a game of fetch. Not likely!

Bobbie
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Jordan definatly is too smart for his own good. I've got 2 other cats & they will play with him, but he's a very demanding guy. I've been very tired lately which makes me even more frustrated by his behavior. I really love him, but sometime he makes me nuts. I also worry he's going to hurt himself with his crazyness. Just recently he discovered that if he scratches his claws down the inside of the window Mom wakes up really fast. The problem is not only does it wake me up, but he is also cramming his arm between the window & the screen & I'm just so afraid the screen is going to pop out. This won't be a problem once I get the window air conditoner in, but until then I worry. He's my Bug (as in love bug) & truth be told I can't imagine my life with out him. I just need him to let me sleep a little more. He's just a regular old D.S.H.
As a matter of fact here he is.....
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just a little update, I did find a way to get a good nights sleep. I can't do it every day, but when I absolutely need a good nights sleep. Friday I gave him a can of food followed by some cat nip. I woke up at 8:00 am & was amazed he let me sleep through the night. On a daily basis I'm doing my best not to give in when he starts his naughty behavior & I'm trying to find ways to keep his smart little brain occupied.
post #15 of 18
I'm following this thread with interest...I think your Jordan must be related to my Mr. Underfoot!

If your vet will OK canned food for Jordan, it might help to do what you did Friday night on a regular basis. Just calculate the amount of canned + dry to meet his diet requirements, and feed him dry during the day, and canned at night after a nice play session. The combination of a play session & a nice meal seems to help my cats calm down for the night. Also, canned food seems to satisfy them more than dry alone, which has helped my ever-hungry Mr. lose some weight.

We also have a 'cat room', set up with toys, cat trees, beds, etc. where the cats sleep at night. My dear little love bug tyrant cat Mr. Underfoot goes in there when his behavior gets out of hand - it's not a punishment, just a time out to help redirect his behavior. I leave him in there for about 10-15 minutes, then when I let him out (always when he's quiet, never when he's in the act of meowing) he's usually forgotten about whatever he was getting into.

Not much help re: the NILIF idea, but it's what has helped keep things calmer (somewhat) in my house.
post #16 of 18
Oh what a cute little face. I've been having some good sleeps lately because currently no cats are staying in my room. I would do anything for Elmo to be here though(he's at the vets)
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedokitties
Mr. Underfoot goes in there when his behavior gets out of hand - it's not a punishment, just a time out to help redirect his behavior. I leave him in there for about 10-15 minutes, then when I let him out (always when he's quiet, never when he's in the act of meowing) he's usually forgotten about whatever he was getting into.
I've tried something like this, but Jordan's sort of like a ball obsessed dog. 15 mins is not long enough. I let him out he goes right back to what he was doing. He's a smart guy. Whenever I hear people say they want a smart cat, I tell them "No you don't I've got one & trust me the smart ones are over rated." I was just not prepared to deal with this little smarty pants.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rang_27
I've tried something like this, but Jordan's sort of like a ball obsessed dog. 15 mins is not long enough. I let him out he goes right back to what he was doing. He's a smart guy. Whenever I hear people say they want a smart cat, I tell them "No you don't I've got one & trust me the smart ones are over rated." I was just not prepared to deal with this little smarty pants.
Wow. Mr will be persistent like that over food, but not over anything else. You have quite a cat on your hands!
Maybe someone else will pop in with ideas. Or perhaps you could contact a feline behaviorist?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Anyone ever tried NILF, on a cat