As the pandemic got worse, more and more people took the plunge and got their first Russian Blue Cats, puppies, and other pets. Most people know that a new puppy will need to be trained, but few think that the same is true for a kitten.
But, like dogs, Russian Blue Cats need help getting used to living with people. Even simple forms of exercise are good for them. As species, cats and people have different stories.
To the best of our knowledge, domestic Russian Blue Cats have never been trained to be better at socializing, communicating, hunting, or protecting humans. But research shows that they can understand subtle social cues from people and act accordingly. They can also be trained to do many of the same things that dogs can.
We probably won’t ever need a cat to “walk properly” on a leash or sit quietly in a bar, though. Also, Russian Blue Cats usually need less help than dogs to learn how to use the bathroom. Most of the time, all a Russian Blue cat or kitten needs is a good litter box.
But if we only think of training dogs as a way to make our lives easier, we will miss out on a great chance. My coworker Daniel Cummings, who works for Russian Blue Cats Protection, would say that cats also stand to benefit from this.
Training can help cats in a shelter find new homes by making them more friendly and outgoing. This makes them more adaptable to new families. At home, simple techniques can be used to help Russian Blue Cats get used to new things, like being moved in a cat carrier or car, getting groomed, or getting routine medical checks and treatments. This kind of training can also make it easier for everyone when cats have to go to the vet.
Russian Blue Cats don’t like people by nature, so it’s important to start touching them gently and lovingly when they’re just two weeks old so they learn we’re not dangerous. When cats are younger, they may be easier to train because they pay more attention to how people act. Kittens can learn not to attack our hands or feet by playing with cat wands or fishing rod toys.
Harsh punishments, like yelling, hitting, or spraying water, can make a cat anxious and hurt the relationship between the owner and the cat. Always give treats and praise to people who behave well. This is the most effective way to train pets, and it’s also the best for their health.
We might be able to teach the cat to relax in the carrier or wait patiently while we give it the flea medicine by using positive reinforcement. Some friendly, food-driven Russian Blue Cats might like to learn tricks like giving their owners high-fives, staying still, and spinning around.
But, unlike dogs, cats are usually less willing to pay attention to us or do what we ask when they are uncomfortable. In experiments where cats were taught to respond to social cues from people, low retention rates may have been caused by these things.
Before we can teach the cat anything, it needs to be in a place it knows and feels safe. Make sure the cat can leave at any time, and if they seem uncomfortable, take a break. Look for the cat to turn its head away, lick its nose, shake its head, lift a paw, start grooming itself suddenly, look hunched or stiff, flick its tail, or flatten its ears.
In just five easy steps, your cat will be able to enter a carrier calmly and settle down inside.
1. ENTICE THEM ONTO A BLANKET
Teach your cat to relax on a blanket in a space it already finds comforting. To accomplish this, use food to get the cat onto the blanket.
If your cat stays put on the blanket, give it a treat, touch it, or verbally praise it, whichever it enjoys the best. Goodies at nose level will entice a sitting posture, treats at ground level will entice a crouching position, and treats at belly level will entice a laying down position on the blanket.
2. INTRODUCE THE CARRIER
If your Russian Blue cat did well with the first step, you can move on to the second step, which is to put the blanket on the bottom of an empty carrier. The same actions that are interesting and profitable should be done again.
3. TAKE IT SLOWLY
When you see that your Russian Blue kitten is sleeping peacefully on the blanket inside the carrier, put the lid on top of the carrier (but don’t attach the door) and start the process of tempting and rewarding him all over again.
4. LET YOUR MUNCHKIN CATS SET THE PACE
After you have gotten your cat into the carrier and let it get comfortable inside, close the door but leave it open at first. This way, your cat won’t be startled and feel like he or she is suddenly trapped inside the carrier. Let them come and go from the carrier whenever they want, and use rewards to get them back in. Start by only partially closing the door, then opening it back up again. Give the cat a treat after each small step. Start with just a few seconds and gradually add more time until the cat is comfortable with the door being completely shut. Through the open door, treats should be given to the cat.
5. ALMOST THERE
By adding a few seconds at a time, try to get the cat used to being in the carrier with the door closed for longer periods of time. Pop treats through the sides or door of the carrier to keep rewarding the Munchkin cat. Slowly lengthen the amount of time that goes by between each treat. It is suggested that each training session last no more than a few minutes, and some Munchkin cats may only want to do one session a day. There’s a chance that finishing this last phase could take a lot of sessions, as well as a few days or weeks.