Do you ever trick your cat into doing something?

Do you ever trick your cat to achieve certain goals and do you think it is ethical to do so? Perhaps the word “trick” is the wrong one. It implies deceit which is unethical. Not that your cat understands the question of human deceit.

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I think it can be useful sometimes to trick your cat in order to get them to do something or to not do something. I’ll try and give two examples.

Let’s say I am stroking my cat and he gets a little bit excited. Or he wants me to go on stroking him so as I remove my hand from him he wants to grab it with one of his paws. I want to avoid this because he is liable to stick its claws into my hand. What I do is I use my other hand to distract his attention for a couple of seconds. I do this at a distance. He turns his head towards my other hand and in doing so he fleetingly releases his grip on me which allows me to remove my hand which he has grabbed.

Let’s say my cat brings in a mouse and it’s alive so I feel that I have to catch it to release it to the outside. In order to remove the mouse from the room I need to remove my cat from the room. I therefore walk into a neighbouring room, attract his attention and call him. He walks into the room to join me. I then quickly walk out of the room and close the door behind me. This confines him to the adjacent room allowing me some freedom to tackle the mouse. If I didn’t do it my cat would possibly object to me removing the mouse from the home and he might intervene, grab the mouse in his teeth and possibly kill it. In short he’d just get in the way of me rescuing the mouse. I apologise to him afterwards!

I believe that it is ethically okay to trick your cat to achieve certain goals. Humans are meant to be more intelligent than their domestic cat companions. People should be able to use their intelligence to get their cats to do something provided that what we are making them to do is morally acceptable.

Tricking a cat to do something is perhaps the opposite to forcing a cat to do something. It is impossible, practically, to force a domestic cat to do something. It will lead to issues such as being scratched. Unless of course the cat then decides that he wants to do it.

Also tricking a cat to do something is an alternative to cat training. In fact it can avoid cat training on a one-off basis. In my experience cats don’t learn that you are tricking them which means they can be tricked indefinitely. That might not be true because I have not tested it as I don’t employ the ‘cat trick technique’ very often.

A lady on the website says that she tricks her dogs. Her dogs think of the front door as leading to an exciting world. They become excited when she walks through the door. Conversely, they know the back door leads to the backyard and are disinterested in it except to poop. If she wants to leave the house without her dogs becoming excited she goes through the back door and returns through the same door. The dogs are silent and calm. This is another example of how to use human intelligence to get around a problem and make your pet do something without them realising it.

Do you trick your cat into doing something?

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2 thoughts on “Do you ever trick your cat into doing something?”

  1. Those are all clever “tricks”. One I’m using lately is to make sure I lightly rattle the stainless steel feeding dishes in the sink (while washing them) to get one of my cats to come inside for the night. Or if they’re already washed, rattle them as if I’m washing them. She sits on a chair in the front and will not come in otherwise, for a few legitimate reasons and she’s good at avoiding my attempts to pick her up to do that. And yeah I’ve noticed that when you force a cat to do something they resent it, which isn’t something you want to do to a cat or anyone really. They can understand trickery too and can resent that as well, unlike dogs who when you “fake the throw” they don’t seem to care. Other instances of trickery may involve little slights to fake my movements or noises involving when I give a cat medicine… they remember that stuff that leads to giving the meds which they don’t like and try to avoid.


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