I had just finished a chapter in the Humane Society’s Retention and Cat Behavior course and was feeling quite proud of my ability train both my cats out of undesirable behaviors when Duffy herded me to my bedroom to spoon him while he napped. “Wait a second” I thought, “Who is training who?”
Upon further reflection, I realized that all three of my cats had trained me to be their perfect human. However, it is the unassuming Duffalo who has perfected the art of human training.
It is a little embarrassing to admit, but Duffy has trained me to:
- Fluff his pillow on demand
- Feed him at 4am or get sneezed on or better yet, risk being forced to endure the soothing melodies of a Duffy yodeling
- Open the door to the catio with just a look and a head tilt towards the door
- Wipe his bum after he’s used the litter box by doing a “drive by meep” (the meep and run)
- Spoon him in the location of his choice upon his demand
Here I am giving him encouragement to lay on the pillow I just fluffed for him:
Were all cats so proficient at getting their needs met? Did other humans realize that we were merely the pawns of an intelligent and manipulative master race? A quick survey of fellow cat guardians yielded one undeniable fact. Humans are (happily) dominated by their fuzzy feline overlords. Here are 5 ways cats train their humans:
#1: Your Chariot Awaits
Are you a cat and you don’t feel much like hiking the 20 long feet to the food bowl? Catch a ride on your human!
@yohananddesmond: Yohan has to ride on my back every night while I brush my teeth. I know it’s coming, but it still scares me every time he jumps up! I have to stick my butt out so he can use it as a ledge to stand on, and he puts his paws on my shoulders like a little backpack cat.
@oliveandrye: Rye begs to ride on my shoulder while I make breakfast.
@talktothepaw: I carry Katniss (never Ozzy…K would be really mad if I did lol) upstairs when I’m going to bed every night. I set her in the sink and turn the second faucet in for her for a drink while I brush my teeth and take off my makeup. As a bonus, Ozzy isn’t included in the ritual.
It is so hard to get good help these days, but if you train your human when you first get them, they can quite easily learn your preferred method of food service.
@hyper_n_helios: Hyperion, Helios, and Abaddon have trained everyone in the house to carry them to their meals. There is rarely a time when a cat is waiting or meowing for food. How smart are they? Wouldn’t we all want to woken up from a nap to be immediately carried to your already prepared meal. Plus, they eat on the kitchen table since the dog would eat their food. We, of course, no longer eat at the table.
@stephanieandhiggs: When I make chicken I HAVE to cut off two small pieces (raw) to give to him or he loses his shit.
@yanksgal23: The late, great Lilly would eat exactly half of her food and wait until I rotated the plate for her.
According to these kitties, getting pets at the food bowl aids in digestion:
@squishdelish: Squish used to walk me to the food bowl so I could pet her and tell her she was a good kitty while she ate. Squish had my Mom trained to do this at every meal in three days flat!
@puffjoy: Well much like Squish, Gizmo has taught me how he would prefer to eat. He prefers just the gentlest butt pats. He can’t be fooled either. There have been times when I try to improvise and fake him out, like by using my foot because I was needing my hands. He will stop eating immediately and sit up right on his bum and wait patiently as his eyes fill with “tears”, and then once he gets desperate, he will reach out and tap on my leg to remind me that he’s still there. It’s seems as though he taps me in a sweeping petting motion, as if to show me what I need to be doing on his bum bum.
If your human needs a hint that a snack would be nice, you can follow @lucillethekitty’s advice and politely tap the treat cupboard.
Or you can try one of the techniques Lupin from @mrfuzztonksandlupin has perfected:
- Flop and look cute. Once you have the human’s attention, get up and move closer to the kitchen. Once you have maneuvered your human to directly in front of the cupboard with the cat food, look up expectantly towards the cupboard door (Use those eyes!) and meow.
- Get up on the counter in front of the cat food cabinet. When your human walks by, remind them there are treats and that that they would probably like to give you one.
- Flop on the bed and demand some love. After you have allowed the human to love on you, start meowing for treats. Chicks really dig this move. This move is heartily endorsed by Fergie of @squishdelish.
@ninjachloeboots agrees with Lupin and knows if you use the “baby eyes” your human will be putty in your paws:
Boots has me trained to give him treats each time I come in my room. I think it started because I give him medicine every other day for allergies. I’d give him treats after giving him meds. It progressed to every time I enter the room because he meows at me like he’s starving and just looks at me with big round eyes!
#3: Shaken, Not Stirred
When you first get your human, they will think any old water once a day in a bowl will do. But we cats are quite particular about our hydration, as the humans soon learn.
@piratecatwillie and @bettythegingerprefer prefer their water fresh from the tap:
@piratecatwillie: Willie has me and my mom trained to turn on the sink faucet whenever we go to the bathroom so he can drink out of it. He gets up on the counter and will stare at you with that special one-eye-stink-eye of his until you turn it on. If you walk by without doing it, he swats at you. Sometimes he’ll lick the faucet to make a point that he wants to drink.
@vinnythetooth insists on drinking from crystal and @thefoofy takes her fresh water in the middle of the living room:
@thefoofy: If Lola stands next to her water dish and stares at it I will run and change the water if I haven’t changed it in about the last six hours. Also, this is in the middle of the living room because she prefers water not near her food.
@omgdeedee’s Gary (always the original) has trained his human to give him water from the garden hose:
@vhamster’s Bailey used to require his humans to “water” him in an ancient claw foot tub before he crossed the rainbow bridge: It was a pain in the butt because it was nearly impossible to get the dribble from the faucet just right for him to lick from and dip his paw into. Walter would actually get up multiple times a night – sometimes five or six times! In the middle of the night! – to water this faucet-crazed cat. Then I was the one who got the cuddles when Bailey came back to bed to spoon with me after every watering.
#4: The Royal Flush
Does your human think they get private time? Are they under the mistaken impression that the bathroom is just for human’s? Set them straight. What’s theirs is yours and what’s yours is yours:
@danglingsquid: I can’t use the bathroom alone. Blobcat always busts the bathroom door in and waddles over to demand pets. Then he flops on the floor.
@lynx.meownuel.purranda: If my bathroom door is open and I’m not in it, Lynx will sit and howl at the top of his lungs until I close it. If it is closed, he will howl until I open it. There is no winning.
@moofabulous: Every morning, when I take a shower, Cake demands to be picked up and put on the bathroom sink/counter and open a drawer for her to sit in. She can jump there herself but isn’t confident, and if I don’t put her there she’ll scream through my whole shower.
@scrappknittermom: Ponyo used to go sit on the bathroom counter after I got back from dropping Natalie off at school on the morning and beg to have her face washed.
@lolasbrownchin has taken bathroom time to the next level. Queen Lola has her servant trained to get on the bathroom floor for morning love sessions:
At first (when she was still a tiny kitten) she’d wait ‘til I was about to step into the shower, and then would do the rub your legs thing while purring her head off. Who could resist that? So, I’d pet her a little but then I’d get the big owl eyes so I’d get on the floor and she’d head butt me and rub her body all over my head. I was immediately a goner. Of course, Lola doesn’t even let me have some bathmat to kneel on so I kill myself on the tile plus my bathroom is tiny – so not a comfy situation. But she purrs so loud and is so happy.. it’s my fave time of day.
#5: Bish, I MIGHT be! (the Queen of Sheba)
What’s the point of being the most amazing animal on the planet if you are not getting properly spoiled? A well-trained human will let you herd them towards the bedroom for bedtime or cuddles, sit on their lap so they can pet you until their legs fall asleep, or let you get away with murder…
@studleycat: Lockhart first gets under the sheets and then insists on me facing him to sleep. If I turn over he yells and walks across my body to make his way back up to my face. Oh and god forbid any other cat tries to interrupt this game.
@ihavecat: Petie would only let me cuddle with him when he led me to my bed for “loving time” …he would start walking up my stairs (which lead to my bedroom) and look back every few steps to make sure I was following.
@vhamster: Chipotle leads me to bed. But he doesn’t like taking the direct route; he wants to lead me on a circuit through the whole house ending on the pillow above my head. He also wants to teach everyone he meets to “twirl” with him. You must sit on the floor while he winds through the chair and table legs “twirling,” until he starts to head butt your hand on every pass. Then he’ll start to want more pets on every pass. Until, finally, he flops over for belly rubs, writhing and lovebugging and purring like crazy.
@darthvaderandtony: I leave the other side of the bed uncovered besides the bed sheet.
YOUR LAP IS MINE
@squishdelish: Fergie hangs her bum off the arm of the couch until I slide under her with a pillow in my lap and give her a massage. She also insists on “helping me” make the bed.
@starfloof: Starman’s trained my mom to sit in the rocking chair, let him jump in her lap and take a bath, and then rock him to sleep for an hour every evening. I think that trumps anything I do for Lola.
@yohananddesmond: Packard needs me to put a blanket on my lap before he’ll sit on me. He will stare at me and tap my leg over and over to let me know he’s ready for the blanket every night. It’s so sweet!!
GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER AND OTHER ADORABLE KITTY ACTIVITIES
@scrappknittermom: Natalie orders so much stuff on Amazon that Khaleesi thinks that the doorbell rings just so that the guys in the brown uniforms who drive the noisy brown trucks can give her boxes. She insists that I open the boxes ight away and remove the contents that are in her way so that she can get in the box.
@i.am.zombie: Voodoo insists he have his shower at 7am every morning and now I am sitting here watching Zombie and Ouija play in my sweater jacket hanging on a chair. I ask my husband to grab it cause they are making holes in it and he says: “Oh, they are having fun and you can always get a new sweater.” I swear they winked at him. Talk about pussy whipped!
@lynx.meownuel.purranda: Every time I tried to move my hand, he extends his claws and I stay put. He is a very good communicator.
@oliveandrye: Fig demands I hug her after my shower, she doesn’t care if I’m still wet- she will even bite me on the butt if I turn my back.
@sabidarake: Both our kitties would tap us to ask for petting, though I think that is fairly common. Patton does this cute purr-meowing we call “poodle-oots” to ask to go outside and it usually works. Dan and I actually send each other sucker emoji to let the other know we got suckered into taking her outside again.
However Chipotle from @vhamster is the clear winner in the spoiled cat category. Chip has trained his human to give him supervised visitation with his favorite plant:
What has your cat trained you to do? Leave us a comment!
Stay tuned for Part II of this series where we find out exactly *how* our cats train us.