It’s funny how many dog-training guides there are available. All the information you could ever want on how to teach your dog tricks; how to communicate with your dog; how to understand what your dog’s thinking; how to prevent behavioral problems.
Why aren’t there more books on how to do all this for cats? After all, cats are just as popular as dogs (if not more so); and, arguably, they’re just as intelligent and just as capable of being trained.
I never even thought about training my cat to do tricks and obedience work. He’s spent his life thus far as a happy free-loader, accepting food and cuddles from me in exchange for …. well, not that much, actually.
Until, that is, I dropped round to visit a new acquaintance recently, where I watched, stunned (and, I’ll admit, more than a little envious) as she got her cat perform what seemed to me to be an entire circus’ worth of acrobatics: rolling over, playing dead, shaking hands, even playing fetch.
“Right,” I thought to myself, “That’s it! If her cat can do it, then mine can, too!” … and thus my search for the Holy Grail of cat-training handbooks began in earnest.
I hunted here, I hunted there – I just about turned the library inside out. I looked through newspapers for advertised cat trainers, I asked my friends, I made phone calls to vet clinics and even dog-training organizations (just in case!)
The two things I didn’t do – but should have – were place a phone-call to that new acquaintance (I’m afraid my pride got in my way: I fostered fond dreams of casually unveiling my cat’s mastery of a stunning array of tricks and obedience work the next time she dropped around); and I didn’t even think of looking online until my husband (who, as chance would have it, works in internet marketing) castigated me gently for not “Googling” the subject straight away.
So I hopped onto the computer, and within five minutes I’d found what I was looking for in the Complete Cat Training Guide; and it was clear to me within just a few pages that the author, Paula Robb, is a woman who really knows what she’s talking about …
So What’s Included?
Let me get one thing straight: although this is a book that will teach you (among other commands) how to get your cat to beg, jump, twirl, stay, sit, come, open cupboards, kiss, play dead, and retrieve, that’s by no means all that you’ll learn.
Something I found incredibly useful was the book’s total-coverage philosophy: pretty much all aspects of cat ownership have been covered, in real detail. Example: as well as cat training, you also get information on how to fix virtually any cat problem (this is no baseless claim – over twenty-five cat behavioral problems are covered, from urine-marking to nocturnal disturbances to aggression); you get a real-life case study for each problem (which is a real help when it comes to putting the information into context); you learn about your cat’s body language and vocals, and how to use that knowledge to understand what he’s thinking and how to communicate with him; plus chapters and chapters of general knowledge on things like choosing the right cat for you; understanding feline behaviors both “good” and “bad”; how to help your cat adapt to your lifestyle and home; how to toilet-train your cat; and two whole sections on cat health and nutrition, all of which goes a long way towards deepening and strengthing your relationship with your cat.
I sometimes find it hard to understand written instructions. It can be kind of confusing, especially when you’re also trying to control a wriggling, energetic cat. That’s why the clear step-by-step photographs and illustrations came in so handy with the training strategies: I actually understood exactly how to position myself and make the most of my body language during the training. It made the whole process a lot easier – and a whole lot faster!
Something else I liked: the book was instantly downloadable. This is a pretty big deal to me; I don’t like paying for something, then waiting days (usually weeks) for it to be shipped overseas, processed through the post, and then – likely as not – delivered to the wrong address. What I do like is instant gratification, which is exactly what I got with Complete Cat Training: seconds after paying my money, the book was downloaded onto my computer and I was gleefully reading through it.
The Best Bits
I don’t really understand how this woman can be making any money off her product, because she seems to be giving away a lot of stuff for free (but hey, I’m not complaining!)
Here are just a few of the handy little freebies that I got with my book:
– Two free bonus books: “The Essential Cat Recipe Book”, which shows you how to prepare tasty, healthy meals and treats for your beloved kitty; and “The Ultimate Guide to Pampering Your Cat”, which shows you how to develop a real bond of affection with your cat through improving his quality of life.
– A free, private email consultation (worth $120) with a team of real live cat trainers. Any problems that you have, any queries whatsoever, and all you have to do is send an email – you’ll get a detailed, personal reply from a team of seasoned cat trainers, to make sure any problems are truly resolved to your satisfaction. Not bad.
In a Nutshell
Two words: highly recommended. You really can’t go wrong here; not only is the whole thing jam-packed with practical advice and hands-on tips, but the price is extremely reasonable: just $37 for the book, the consultation, and the bonus books … oh yeah, and there’s a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee for 60 whole days after making the purchase.
All in all, I have no qualms whatsoever about recommending this book to anyone who’s got, or is thinking about getting, a cat: whether it’s training, behavioral problems, trouble-shooting, or improving your relationship with your beloved kitty, I guarantee you’ll learn something useful.