NStarz

Ohio State c/o 2016
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Hello everyone!

Background:
So I work (volunteer) at a shelter in the adoptions department and part of my job is to work with difficult animals to aid them in finding their forever homes (ie, I teach basic obedience, do behavior modification, etc.). So I've had quite a bit of experience in positive reinforcement training.

Okay, here's the question:
I know everyone trains their dogs to sit, stay, come, etc. I have, though, used positive reinforcement to teach my kitten to sit, give paw, "off", and we're working on 'down'. Is this something that I should include on VMCAS? I didn't think it was that special, but when it's come up in conversation, everyone is completley shocked that I trained a cat.

What would you do?

Thanks!
 

cowgirla

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You can train a cat?? :laugh:



I think a lot of it will depend on what schools you plan on applying to...Some schools say to include work done with your own pets, other say don't.

Personally, I don't think I would list it as a topic of its own, but would definitely make mention of it under a general "Positive Reinforcement Traning" heading, under the "list of duties" part.
 

Angelo84

Tufts Class of 2011
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I wouldn't include it. Most of the schools don't want you to include your own pets. I would include that you have done behavior work for the shelter however.

Cats are trainable! All of mine do tricks (come, sit, down, beg, speak). We're still working on off--or rather on not needed to use off.
 

AbbyNormal

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Off topic but can you teach a cat to use a litter box? I have tried putting the stool in the box and showing the cat where it is but some cats continue to prefer other areas despite me cleaning the area after they soil it. It seems if I don't teach them as a kitten they don't learn as adults.
 

NStarz

Ohio State c/o 2016
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Off topic but can you teach a cat to use a litter box? I have tried putting the stool in the box and showing the cat where it is but some cats continue to prefer other areas despite me cleaning the area after they soil it. It seems if I don't teach them as a kitten they don't learn as adults.
Yes, you can! It's definitely easier when they're younger, but it's possible with an adult cat. If you see that your kitty is about to urinate/deficate, pick them up and put them in the box. Once they're finished, rub their paws in the litter to 'cover' it. Cats have a great sense of smell so they'll repeatedly return to a place they've gone before if they have access to it (had the same problem with my cat peeing on a corner of the rug). Until things are under control, I would restrict your cat's access to the room/rooms where she/he is going and only allow them to stay in the room with the litter box (at least for a while). Good luck!
 

Angelo84

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Off topic but can you teach a cat to use a litter box? I have tried putting the stool in the box and showing the cat where it is but some cats continue to prefer other areas despite me cleaning the area after they soil it. It seems if I don't teach them as a kitten they don't learn as adults.
A lot of this is dependent on your given cat. Your goal is to create a litter box that your cat finds appealing. Generally open decent sized boxes with sandlike UNscented litter that are scooped daily and cleaned out completely regularly. You also want to make sure that the box is in a good location (in the dark basement next to the washing machine is a bad choice) and that they aren't getting ambushed by another cat when they use the box. A rule of thumb is one more box than you have cats.

A stricter approach than the previous one is to get a large dog crate big enough for the cat to have a bedroom/eating area side and a litter box. Keep cat in the crate when not directly observing until regularly using box then slowly give more freedom, that room, that room and the next etc.

Good luck. A good website is this: http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/2214.htm
 

marycatherine

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A lot of this is dependent on your given cat. Your goal is to create a litter box that your cat finds appealing. Generally open decent sized boxes with sandlike UNscented litter that are scooped daily and cleaned out completely regularly. You also want to make sure that the box is in a good location (in the dark basement next to the washing machine is a bad choice) and that they aren't getting ambushed by another cat when they use the box. A rule of thumb is one more box than you have cats.

A stricter approach than the previous one is to get a large dog crate big enough for the cat to have a bedroom/eating area side and a litter box. Keep cat in the crate when not directly observing until regularly using box then slowly give more freedom, that room, that room and the next etc.

Good luck. A good website is this: http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/2214.htm

agreed on all counts.

OP its super important that you keep the litterbox clean. your cat is just going to go anywhere in the house if the litterbox is dirty.
 

VeganSoprano

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If they are mostly using one particular spot, the easiest solution might be to just put another litterbox there. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
 

twelvetigers

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My cat disliked my litter change, so he decided to use the carpet in one room. This use continued, despite best efforts, until said carpet was removed. Sigh.

He also uses any new rug, nearly immediately. The rugs we have, however, are fine. I need to see how to "phase in" a new rug since the ones in my bathroom are ancient.
 

Minnerbelle

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I wouldn't count cat training unless you were training them for something like a cat circus. What you could do, is maybe make a cute little aside about it in your PS as you're writing about your experience at the shelter.

My kitty sits, paws, is target trained, and jumps through a 1 ft hoop! I'm thinking about getting her to jump rope. She loves her training sessions so much (I'm lazy and don't do it often) that when she wants a session, she'll come to me and offer her paw on my foot as if to say "look look, a paw! now gimme a treat and ask me to do more!"
 

Pouches Rock

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I used clicker training with my kitty's and had great success. One of the commands that they know is touch or target and it worked so well that if they see anything that looks like the target stick they come and put their nose on it and then sit and look at me. Unfortunately sometimes they decide that the pen I am writing with is similar enough for them when they want a treat.
 

Tricolorbadness

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I also trained a cat using the clicker. I put this on my app as part of my animal experience. I think it added to my application so, NStarz, I'd definitely list it!

By the by, I also delved into goldfish training. This also went on my app. :p