How to Train Your Cat to Use Speech Buttons
By now, you may have come across some videos on social media of cats using speech buttons to communicate with their owners. A great example is Billi, a cat who uses a wide range of buttons—she has a total of 64, according to her website.
If you want to teach your kitty to talk to you with the help of speech buttons, there are some things to keep in mind. There’s no guarantee that your cat will use the buttons, as every pet is unique and some might not be interested in learning this technique. If you have a multi-cat household, you might find that certain kitties are willing to use the buttons while others ignore them. Also, the entire process takes a lot of time and patience, so try not to get discouraged if you don’t get results right away.
Below are some basic tips to help you get started.
Purchase the Right Buttons for Your Cat
There are several options when it comes to speech buttons for pets. Some are larger than others, and some are pricier than others. Check product features and customer reviews so you can uncover the pros and cons of various sets. Consider how easy they are to press, how clear they sound, how long the batteries last, etc.
Also, think about what your kitty would prefer. For instance, would she prefer using small buttons or big ones? It really depends on your cat, and you can find videos of kitties using different types of buttons to get an idea of how they work.
Choose Your Words
Once you have your buttons, it’s time to consider which words you’ll use to begin teaching your kitty to talk to you. It’s also wise to start with just a few, or even just one button, before adding more over time.
It may be best to begin with words that represent items and actions. For example, you might record one button for “treats” and another for “play” or “cuddle.” If your kitty is already familiar with these words because you use them often, it may help her better understand what the buttons are saying.
Use Modeling to Teach Your Cat to Use the Buttons
Place the buttons in an area where you and your pet will be able to use them with ease. Some kits come with mats that make it simpler to organize your buttons, or you might use stickers to differentiate between them.
Then, use what’s known as modeling to teach your cat that each button corresponds with something she can ask for. For instance, if you have a “play” button, you can ask your cat if she wants to play, press the button, and then grab a toy. Remember, you’ll also need to teach your kitty to press the button herself, and target training could work well for that.
By being consistent and using the buttons every day, you may increase the odds that your cat will learn to use them. And, before long, you might be communicating with your pet in a whole new way.
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. An advocate for better treatment of all animals, she enjoys producing content that educates others, helps them understand animals better, and inspires them to help, whether that means volunteering at a shelter, fostering strays, or simply giving their own pets a safe and happy home to live in.
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