Trainer: You can teach an old cat new tricks

Posted on October 5, 2009 under Industry News

Cats can learn and perform tricks as well as dogsThough many pet owners think of cats as independent and stubborn compared to dogs, one animal expert says he’s developed methods to train cats to do just about anything.

Gregory Popovich, a trainer who leads the Comedy Pet Theater in Las Vegas, will release a book later this month explaining his techniques for affecting the behavior of household felines, USA Today reports. The book, You Can Train Your Cat, is set to be for sale on October 13.

Though Popovich’s cats are well known for performing skits, jumping through hoops and dancing on their hind legs, the trainer advises that his methods work for preventing clawed furniture as well.

The cat connoisseur explains that his pets respond best to praise. He claims that changes in pitch and volume of his voice motivate the cats to achieve the goal the trainer sets out. He warns, however, "I never shower the cat with effusive praise except during training."

Popovich, a fourth-generation circus performer from Russia told the news source that that Las Vegas’ animal shelters allow him to keep his performances fresh, and provide a home for his favorite animals.

The U.S. Humane Society advises that when training cats, punishment is only effective when it does not come directly from the owner. For example, double-sided tape on couch cushions may prevent the pet from scratching furniture more effectively than a squirt with a spray bottle.