My human always talks about how treat motivated I am. But what she never thinks about is what motivates humans. We cats think about that — a lot! In fact, I’ve put together a list of the different ways humans are motivated… and how cats can make that work for them.
Is Your Human…
1. Praise motivated? A lot of humans respond very positively to praise. All you need to do is rub up against them or give them a headbutt and they melt and do your bidding. This is probably the easiest human to motivate. They are about as low maintenance as you get.
2. Cuteness motivated? These humans are pretty easy too, but you do have to work a little harder. You have to figure out their biggest cute triggers so you can repeat them when you need something from them. Do they succumb more quickly to a head tilt or to the move where you stretch your paws out and touch them? Humans who are cuteness motivated all have their own triggers, and it takes practice and repetition to find the best ones.
3. Treat motivated? Ugh, these are hard ones because they’re like a lot of us cats! They love treats and snacks almost as much as we do. And of course you can’t just wave a cookie at them to do your bidding. (That takes thumbs.) You pretty much have to wait until they’ve settled down with their own snacks and then make it clear you think you deserve a little something too. Eventually they will learn to have some cat treats on hand so you two can snack together. I have to say, this makes for a fun routine, but it takes some effort.
4. Only responsive to negative reinforcement? Yes, unlike cats, you can use negative reinforcement on humans and get results. But these humans are a lot of work! You have to figure out things like… which activity gets them out of bed in the morning the quickest? How often do you need to jump on the counter before you get your dinner early? How much must you scratch up that corner of the carpet before you get a scratcher? The biggest danger with these humans is it’s a fine line between effective action and being annoying. If you veer into the latter, they may start reading books on cat behavior, and you work will have gone to waste. Although you probably will get a really nice scratcher, and it will be well placed in your home.
In case you are wondering which one my human is, she is the rarest one of all: she is trick motivated! Which means I have to do special tricks to get her to do what I want. It’s kind of like cuteness motivated, but it takes more skill.
So which one is your human? Or is yours in a category all his or her own? Let me know in the comments!
Other posts you’ll enjoy:
- Crimes Against Kitties: Does Your Human Do Any of These?
- Human Manipulation Dos and Don’ts
- Four Tips on How to Train Your Human