One of of the key aspects of cat training is establishing a routine. If you get this right then a lot of the other aspects of training a cat fall into place quite easily.
It is often said that people are creatures of habit — but the same is also true of cats. The happy result of this is that it is easy to persuade your cat to adopt a fairly strict routine, which makes your life a lot easier to organise. In most cases, establishing a routine with your cat seems to work with such clockwork precision that it is hard to believe that your cat does not have a watch although, even if it did, it wouldn’t be able to tell the time!
A lot of people have a builtin-clock and are therefore not particularly surprised when their cat displays a similarly good sense of time.
What is perhaps more surprising is that cats seem to be able to keep track of a time period longer than 24 hours. In the majority of households, their owners get up early on Monday to Friday, when they have to go to work, but sleep in at the weekends. Many cats appear to be able to deal with this change in routine, and are able to allow their owners an hour or two extra before they demand their breakfast. However, on Monday morning, it’s back to the week’s normal routine.
Cats have a remarkably efficient sense of time, with the result that they seem to know when it’s time to get up, when it’s time for breakfast, when it’s time to go out, when it’s time to come home, when it’s time to have supper, when it’s time to go to bed, and so on.
Many cats even know when it’s time for their owner to come home from work and will be sitting on the doorstep, waiting, when they return.
CREATURES OF HABIT
Cats are, in fact, remarkably keen on regularity in their lives. A cat that roams free will visit its favourite places in a set order, hunting at particular times and sleeping at others. It is hardly surprising, then, that a house cat will accept the schedules that are imposed on it by its owner so readily, nor that it is so keen for those schedules to be maintained.
FELINE ALARM CLOCK
This will be a familiar situation to every cat owner, who will most probably confirm that, since they have had a cat, they no longer need an alarm clock. If Tiddles is accustomed to being fed at 7.30am, he will be scratching on the bedroom door at 7.00am.
Cats seem to be able to count. A mother cat will notice if one of her kittens is missing, rather like a schoolteacher checking that all her charges are present.
If a cat is used to sleeping on its owner’s bed, it may come and `fetch’ its owner at what it considers to be its usual bedtime.
Cats’ schedules do not change at different times of the year, so it is the time, rather than whether it is dark or light, that dictates their behaviour.
Considering cats can be insistent about routines, it’ll make life easier if you have a cat flap so that they can come and go at the appropriate times.