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!
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Sue Janson says
Oh Summer, what an enlightening blog. I’m sure this will help me understand my cats more clearly. Thank you.
I do just nothing ! I don’t like treats, I don’t like other food then what she gives me each day, but she loves when I sit on her lap or I snuggle against her in the bed.
Timmy Tomcat says
Our Dad is definitely Cuteness Motivated. I can give him my special look and have him wrapped around my paw. Even that Rumpy can charm Dad. That guy is as cute as he is bad. Well almost
Catherine Lingg says
Well Summer since I’m a human that responds to your blog, I must confess, it’s the cuteness one. Rosie can get a belly rub and lots of attention whenever she wants. Often I’m busy or exhausted ready for bed. Not the best times for me. However Rosie follows me, trolls her adorable voice then literally plops down with a little vocal when she hits. It’s over, I’m on the floor giving rubs and cuddles
I’m pretty sure my mom and dad are praise-cuteness-treat motivated hybrids! MOL – Ava
Lone STar Cats says
I’d say she’s mostly cuteness motivated, but she can be motivated by loud meowing too.
Melissa & Mudpie says
My Mommy is both cute and treat motivated. I always get a squeezie when she sits down to have coffee and a snack, and a cute little head tilt gets me anything I want!
The Swiss Cats says
Claire is hard to motivate (she’s born with cats after all, she knows almost all our tricks), but #1 works well with Momo. Purrs
Eastside Cats says
Sweetie is chest motivated, Summer!
When I lay down in bed, I pat my chest, and she runs right over and sits on me!
Not sure if she trained me, or if I trained her…
The Florida Furkids says
Mom is definitely treat motivated.
The Florida Furkids
Ellen Pilch says
I am definitely treat motivated. 🙂
Angels Pipo & Minko: Petcretary was kind of the cute, (Roll over and make ‘air biscuits’), and praise (Rub up on her) kind, but actually she was more of a combo of all of those!
Us hooligans work with the cute/trick/annoying/praise , (put our heads onto her lap and stare into her eyes), kind of human.
OMC my mom is all of those, to some extent! She melts when I give her the head tilt and stare at her and she loves it when I give her headbonks. She’s pretty motivated by human treats, like coffee and chocolate and movies with some guy named Benedict Cumberbatch (that one I don’t get), but the negative reinforcement seems to work the best.
Arden Moore says
Pet Safety Cat Casey and Rusty the Purrformer here (we ‘charmed’ our hoo-man, Arden Moore, who has thumbs, to type our reply). First, thanks Summer — once again, you provide meowvalous insights into our lives with people. Arden responds to Casey’s little chirps and head butts and to Rusty’s showing off of a new mastered trick. Both work every time as Arden quickly pays us with healthy, yummy treats!
Marv, Jo Jo, Kozmo, Cinnamon & Barb says
Motivate our Human! We have been trying everything (including yelling) to motivate her to give us treats! We think he is TIME motivated because we only get treats at bed time….Seriously though, She melts when we rub up against her.
Pat K says
The human here is both praise and cuteness
motivated. Cats know all the tricks don’t they?
Memories of Eric and Flynn says
Hmmm, I have to admit it takes a lot to get me motivated lately.
Brian Frum says
That’s a fun bunch sweet Summer and ours is in the cuteness category I think!
Katie Isabella says
If I place my paws both on her chin, and lean into them slightly, she melts like better in a fry pan. That warmness from my pads and the slight feel of nail tips…does her in every time. She loves the stretch of my arms to do it, too.
Katie Isabella says
Mine is the adorable look/cuteness motivated one.
Ernie from the ISland Cats says
The mom is hard to motivate. But treats always seem to help.
I’m a very happy “only” cat and since I have all my Mom (and Dad’s!) attention, I find I don’t really need to motivate them – they are MINE all MINE and try to keep me happy 24/7. I realize that I’m a lucky guy too believe me!
mickeys Musings says
#1 and 2 work best.
Mum and I have a great bond and I love that.
I also love being an only cat as I believe mum is all mine and not for sharing 😉
I get lots of hugs and scritches and attention 🙂