Allison's Book Bag

Cat Training in 10 Minutes by Miriam Fields-Babineau

Posted on: November 17, 2014

Cat Training in Ten Minutes by Miriam Fields-Babineau was a smart impulse purchase. I bought it shortly after my husband and I adopted Cinder. Over the past year, I have used it on an almost daily basis. It has brought an added pleasure to my relationship with my young cat.

The majority of the chapters are dedicated to teaching obedience. Using the step-by-step procedures within this easy-to-follow guide, I have so far taught Cinder to Sit, Jump, Twirl, Stay, and Walk. We’re still working on Come, Down, and Fetch, with some days being more successful than others.

There are a couple of other features which I appreciate about Cat Training in Ten Minutes. First, its clear steps are always proceeded by a brief overview of the obedience procedure to be taught. For example, in talking about Sit, Babineau explains that sit is a base behavior for many more complicated behaviors. Because cats also have an inherent inclination to rest on their haunches, Sit is also a quick command to teach. Second, a reason the guide has engaged Cinder and I for all these many months is that Babineau also provides a numerous variations for each obedience procedure. For example, in talking about Jump, Babineau suggests one teach Come Up (on chair) and Come Off (chair), as well as jumping onto other surfaces. Of course, Babineau also cautions that once a cat learns to jump onto diverse surfaces, a cat might also jump onto unexpected places such as the top of the shower. 🙂

Following the multiple chapters on obedience, there is a chapter which describes tricks for cats. I respect that Babineau acknowledges that cats come with all kinds of demeanors and temperaments. My Lucy girl who died in December of 2014 was an older and quieter cat. While I did attempt to teach Lucy what I had learned from dog obedience classes, she wasn’t all that motivated by treats or toys, and so training didn’t always inspire her. She might however have responded to Babineau’s suggestions of tricks for the sedate cat: Speak on Command, Kiss on Command, and Use the Toilet. In contrast, my Cinder girl constantly craves food and loves her plush mice. I’m eager to teach her Babineau’s suggestions of tricks for the more active cat: Play Dead, Ring A Bell, and Weave Through Legs.

Finally, there is a hodge-podge of chapters. Babineau overviews how to correct improper behavior, talks about other ways to involve one’s cat such as therapy and shows, and even highlights cat stars. While Babineau does cover the worst of a cat’s misbehavior, if your feline is proving a struggle, a book dedicated to the topic would probably better serve you. As for therapy and shows, alas, your ability to include your cat in them will depend on what your area offers. I’m still looking…. 😦 These complaints aside, I must compliment the appendix. It provides a useful visual guide to the cues used in teaching obedience.

Miriam Fields-Babineau has been a professional animal trainer since 1983. She has degrees in Psychology and Zoology, directing her studies and research into animal behavior, both in the wild and in captivity. She has taught pet owners how to work with and understand pets of all species since 1978. In Cat Training in Ten Minutes, she draws on all this expertise to provide an important and practical guide. Your cat would love for you to use it!

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