The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat

The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat

by John Bradshaw, Sarah Ellis

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The idea of training rarely crosses cat owners’ minds, and we often assume that cats can’t and don’t need to be trained. But in The Trainable Cat, bestselling anthrozoologist John Bradshaw and cat expert Sarah Ellis show that not only can cats be trained, but they absolutely must be in order to strengthen the bond between pet


The idea of training rarely crosses cat owners’ minds, and we often assume that cats can’t and don’t need to be trained. But in The Trainable Cat, bestselling anthrozoologist John Bradshaw and cat expert Sarah Ellis show that not only can cats be trained, but they absolutely must be in order to strengthen the bond between pet and owner, reduce their anxiety, and maximize their happiness.

Twenty-first-century urban life can be taxing for cats who historically have been wild and solitary hunters, hostile to change and turmoil. Cats today are forced to live within the confines of cramped city apartments, in the company of unfamiliar people and other animals, and to travel in compact cat carriers. Such living conditions can create scared and angry cats—cats who spend hours hiding under the bed, abruptly bite their owners, or urinate in their houses when new pets are introduced—leaving owners scratched and disheartened.

But a great deal of pet-owner discord can easily be prevented by simply training our cats. Once we understand our beloved pet’s journey from wild predator to domesticated animal, we can train them to overcome their natural inhibitions, fears, and anxieties.

Full of training tips and exercises for nearly every scenario—from introducing your cat to a new baby to helping cats deal with visits to the vet—The Trainable Cat is the essential bible for cat owners and lovers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Renowned anthrozoologist Bradshaw (Cat Sense and Dog Sense) and feline behavioral specialist Ellis provide readers with a comprehensive look at what motivates cats, and explain how to train cats by understanding the way they perceive the world. Training cats, the authors assert, benefits owners and cats by making shared environments less stressful for cats and more pleasant for all. Practical training tips and explanations as to why cats behave as they do—such as scratching furniture or attacking their owner’s feet—are provided in each chapter. Exercises include crate training a cat, ensuring tranquility in multicat or multi-animal homes, and safely clipping a cat’s claws. Cat lovers will appreciate the sensible advice and in-depth explanations of feline behavior. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

New York Times Book Review
“Interesting premise… The goal here is not to get your cat ready for the Big Apple Circus, but to make it easy for you to get your cat to do all the things many cats resist: swallow a pill, go to the vet, take a bath, or stop trying to disembowel your new cat… My favorite tip is this: To get a cat used to a new home, you take some white cotton gloves and basically feel up your cat, then rub the gloves all over the furnishing. Smelling her own scent, the cat will believe she’s been there before and calm down. This is genius.”

Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals
“Do you want your cat to come when you call it, stop destroying the furniture or killing birds, and enjoy taking a walk on a leash? Then this is the book for you. By integrating established principles of animal learning with the latest in feline science, The Trainable Cat will enrich the lives of cats and their owners.”

Steve Dale, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant and author of The Good Cat!
“You can train a cat to do just about anything a dog can do, except a cat may do it better! John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis illustrate how cats are trainable, but, more importantly, the authors bust long-held myths about cats and cat behavior along the way. As a result, both experienced stronger bonds with their purring pals.”

Ilona Rodan, DVM, board certified feline specialist and coauthor of Feline Behavioral Health and Welfare
The Trainable Cat breaks down the myth that cats cannot be trained. Not only can they be trained but training improves cats’ quality of life. This book should be required reading for all cat lovers, including all veterinary professionals who work with cats. The Trainable Cat will change how you think about cats, improving relationships and preventing behavior problems.”

Julie Hecht, MSc, author of the Dog Spies blog on Scientific American
“Typically, your cat doesn't care what you read. This is not one of those times. Cats around the world would be ecstatic to learn that you are not one of those people saying ‘cats can’t be trained.’ John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis are experts in feline behavior, and together they bring clarity to a vastly misunderstood topic. Cat training can help cats lead happier lives alongside the people who love them. And it’s fun! Read this book. Your cat will thank you.”

Miranda K. Workman, clinical assistant professor, animal behavior, ecology, and conservation, Canisius College
“John and Sarah have demystified cat training, making it accessible to all cat lovers—from professionals to owners alike. Clear instructions for training along with real-life anecdotes expose the amazing potential of our domestic cats. This is a must read for all cat lovers who are interested in providing the best life possible while building a deeply trusting partnership with their feline companions. This book has the potential to save lives!”

Mikel Delgado, certified cat behavior consultant, scientist, and blogger
“I love this book! We often greatly underestimate the capabilities of our pet cats, and The Trainable Cat is a thorough yet completely accessible resounding YES in response to the question: Can you train a cat? Training can not only solve behavior problems, but it strengthens the bond between a cat and their humans. This book will enhance the welfare of cats everywhere, and change how we think about what cats can do.”

Jacqueline Munera, certified cat behavior consultant and cocreator of What is my cat saying? Cat communication 101
“Finally, a comprehensive look at how operant training can be used to benefit our feline friends by preventing or modifying behaviors that we humans find upsetting. Bonus, it's really fun too!”

Ingrid Johnson, certified cat behavior consultant, Fundamentally Feline
“Fantastic! The Trainable Cat is an accessible resource for cat parents and professionals alike. The authors debunk common myths and misconceptions about cats and their trainability, all while equipping trainers with the knowledge they’ll need to overcome challenges relating to rewards, motivation, and individual learning styles. I will definitely recommend this book to my clients!”

Jane Ehrlich, Associate Certified Feline Behavior Consultant; owner, Cattitude Feline Behavior
“I was delighted to read this book. The Trainable Cat is intelligent and it's accessible, from discussing a cat's motivations to concepts of learning, to training them (not the owner!) using their own instincts, not for tricks, but for grooming, trips to the veterinarian, getting along with the dog or the other cats, taking medication, so much more. There are many books on cat behavior, many which cover the same material. Not this one. Bradshaw and Ellis' book is original in concept and research, and the authors demonstrate an enormous understanding of a cat's personality—and respect for a cat's needs. There's wisdom and compassion, here. The Trainable Cat is an important book for both feline specialist and owner.”

Product Details

Basic Books
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6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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Meet the Author

John Bradshaw is the foundation director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol and author of the New York Times bestsellers Cat Sense and Dog Sense. He lives in Southampton, England.

Sarah Ellis is feline behavior specialist at the charity International Cat Care and a visiting fellow at the University of Lincoln. Sarah lives in Wiltshire, England.

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