I’ll rephrase the question: ‘Do domestic cats respond to words of praise?’

Image by rihaij from Pixabay.

I say ‘good boy’ to my cat when he does something that I have informally trained him to do which benefits both of us. The words alone are not enough. You have to accompany the words with a reward of sorts. I don’t believe that the reward has to be a food treat. It might me a gentle stroke and more warm sounds. The words ‘good boy’ don’t of themselves convey anything to a domestic cat.

The cat understands that he has behaved in a way that pleases you if he hears the sound of the words because the words are accompanied by something pleasurable. Cats do respond to ‘good boy’ over time if the phrase is applied constantly as praise and if it becomes associated with a tangible treat. It is a form of training. In the end the sound alone becomes pleasurable in a small way to the cat.

But don’t expect a smile to break out on your cat’s face. Don’t expect him to give you much of a sign that he knows he is being praised or thanked. The response is dry and enigmatic. But you’ll still say ‘good boy’ because it is pleasurable to you as well.

Calling your cat

There was a lot of talk about cats not responding to the call of their name. It was said that they might come or they might ignore you. I disagree and I think one point was missed.

In my experience the response time for cats is slower than for dogs. There is no immediate response and the cat does not come bounding down the corrider towards you. My cat waits. He thinks and digests the sound of my call and about 3 minutes later he comes. He nearly always comes on my command but it is far from instant. A response, however, does depend on the relationship that the cat has with his human. It has to be one in which they have a connection in the classic interspecies sense.

It looks like my cat has ignored me and then suddenly he arrives after I have forgotten I called him. If I am right in how domestic cats generally respond to a call people should be patient. Patience is a big word in the world of cat ownership. You have to be patient with domestic cats. Perhaps humans have become too impatient due to the pressures of modern life as everything has become speeded up due to the internet.

SOME MORE ON TRAINING:

Should I use a spray bottle on my cat?

There are different views on this and some websites actively recommend it as a cat trainig method. Apparently in a ...
Read More

Operant conditioning explains why this domestic cat always jumps over the same spot

This sweet black cat, aptly named Leapfrog, elegantly and athletically leaps over the same area of hard floor at a ...
Read More

Example of using positive reinforcement to socialise a cat (video)

We hear a lot about positive reinforcement in socialising feral and stray cats. Positive reinforcement is a way of training ...
Read More

Video shows how cats can be trained like dogs

I am not saying that cats are as easy to train as dogs. Of course not, but looking at this ...
Read More

Seven reasons not to train your cat to use a human toilet (and Jackson Galaxy doesn’t like it either)

No doubt there are benefits if a domestic cat has been trained to use a human toilet but the benefits ...
Read More

What is the purpose of a clicker in cat or dog training?

It could be any distinct sound but the originators of clicker training Marian and Keller Breland (in the 1940s) choose ...
Read More

Pavlov’s cat is alive and well

You have probably heard of Pavlov's dog experiments on classical conditioning. At a simplistic level they proved dogs (and other ...
Read More
Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

View Comments

  • I'm lucky that I have cats who respond immediately to my calling them. It's pleasing and reassuring, because if I see trouble coming down the street before they do, (dogs or something) I want to be able to get them out of harm's way to safety, usually at my side or in the house. There have been times though that some will hide and I had no idea where they were and they didn't come to my calls. Frustrating and unnerving.

Recent Posts

Coronavirus may benefit companion animals and owners by encouraging remote diagnosis

In the USA, and I expect elsewhere to a lesser extent, veterinary telemedicine is being…

3 hours ago

Pictures of cat tapeworm and tapeworm segments

Here is a collage of cat tapeworms and tapeworm segments that I have prepared because…

4 hours ago

Why are white tigers white?

It is believed that white tigers are white because of the result of a genetic…

12 hours ago

Spanish authorities have poisoned companion animals and wildlife with street disinfectant against coronavirus

SPAIN - NEWS/OPINION: It's been reported that local authorities governing the Costa Del Sol and…

16 hours ago

Picture of a ‘tiger cat’

This is an excellent picture of a 'tiger cat' which is unrelated to the cat…

19 hours ago

Chinese study says that coronavirus can replicate in domestic cats and transmit between cats

Because I am very concerned for the welfare of domestic cats (and all animals), I…

1 day ago