I’ve had cats in the past, and most of them have responded better to training than Smacky does. I’ve trained cats to come when I call (every time I called, but never for anyone else in the household, much to their chagrin), to fetch, to sit on my shoulders when I’m walking…
OK, Smacky does do that last one. He’ll jump up on my shoulders when I ask him to and he’s not busy attackin something else. It’s just that, most of the time, he’s attacking something else.
He likes to jump up on the kitchen counter and dragging my dishrag all over the house. I’ll come out of the bedroom in the morning, stumbling around in the dark, half-awake, and step on the damp dishrag. First couple of times it happened I thought I was stepping in some biological waste, but now I just moan “Smacky…” drawing out the final vowell sound in frustration.
At which point, Smacky, who was rolling around on his side and back, stretched out and mewling and hoping for attention since I’ve been mean-spirited-ly ignoring him all night by sleeping, would then take my moaning to be the signal to pounce. On me.
If I was Smacky, I think I would understand a human shouting and yelling and dancing around trying to a) avoid stepping on me, b) keeping my feet out of the way of my sharp claws and teeth, and c) scrambling around looking for the water bottle to mean “Hey, the human doesn’t want me to do this anymore. I should stop.” But, apparently from Smacky’s perspective, a, b, and c add up to: playtime.
I’ve recently begun bribing him with vile-smelling (to me) chicken and liver flavored treats if he would stop biting and scratching me. Unfortunately, I think he has interpreted this to mean, “If I bite and scratch him he will give me treats” so it’s effective in an ineffective way, just reinforcing the behavior I don’t want him to have. Argh.
Smacky is a stubborn learner. Or, actually, he’s an awesome learner but not at learning the things I want him to. Technically I’m smarter than he is so I should be able to train him. But in all actuality, he’s training me.