10 Tips For Training Your Cat
It is often said that cats train their owners; make it the other way around with 10 tips to train your cat. Many people think that dogs are the main domesticated animals which can be trained, but cats can be trained also. They may not be as eager to please as dogs, but with consistency can be introduced to rules, expectations, and even tricks.
- Be consistent with teaching and expectations when you train your cat. Cats are very routine oriented and generally have good memories. If they notice inconsistency, then they will not bother to be consistent either, and like children, will test their boundaries. For example, if you want your cat to stay off the kitchen counter, always pick her up and take her off. Make sure everyone in the household maintains the same expectations all the time, or kitty will take advantage the more relaxed family members.
- Train your cat with positive feedback. Most cats love affection, so be sure to pet or otherwise show love to your cat when you catch her doing the right thing. If she has done something against the rules, like jumped on the kitchen table, but jumps down when she sees you coming, reward her for making the right choice. You can offer a small treat, or some affection. Cats will make the connection between the good feelings gotten from you and the decision they just made.
- Train your cat by showing her what you want her to do. You will need to repeat this frequently at first.
- You can pair the desired action with a word or a gesture. For instance, if you need her to go into a certain room at a certain time of day, you can begin by showing her what you need her to do, and teach her to connect the action with hand clapping. Eventually you will be able to just clap, and she will know what to do.
- Deal with even the feistiest rebel kitty. There are some cats who will understand what you want them to do, but will learn to run away from what you need them to do. Find out what motivates this particular type of cat, whether it is food or love, and reward and entice accordingly.
- Use a squirt bottle with water to train your cat. Use this as a last resort; it is better to use positive feedback than negative association. A squirt bottle can be a useful tool to train a cat to keep off certain furniture items or stop annoying behaviors such as scratching at a door. After a few uses, you will only need to pick up the bottle and she will get the hint.
- Don't yell at your cat. Take the time to show her the right thing. You can be strict and loving without using scare tactics. Yelling or swatting will only result in increased rebellion and distrust of you.
- For complicated maneuvers, train in small steps or increments. Reward for successful completion of part of an action.
- To train your cat to scratch a post instead of your expensive couch, use catnip. You can place dried catnip on a scratching post to make it more enticing.
- Spend time with your little friend and the bond you create will make it easier to train your cat. Cats will act out or make the wrong choice in an effort to get attention from you. If they get adequate attention and affection, negative behaviors will be greatly reduced.
Take heart, it is very possible to train a cat to not scratch furniture or swat your face with her paw while you are sleeping. It is easiest to start when they are kittens, but even an older rescue kitty can be taught new ideas. Feed your cat a high quality holistic food and she will be healthier and more willing to make the effort you need her to.