Training A Cat?
Believe it or not, you can train a cat. However, training a cat is more about teaching them not to do something, rather than teaching them to perform a certain behavior on cue, which is common for dog training. Cats are highly independent creatures and will require your utmost attention and patience if you want to succeed in training them.
What Do I Teach My Cat?
Ideally, you should start training the moment you bring your new kitten or cat home. If you have an older cat, while it will be considerably tougher and require much more patience, you can still successfully train them, too! The important thing to remember is to be consistent and don’t give up. Keep up with what you are training- don’t slack! If you let your cat get away with something once, chances are they will remember, and make their training all the more difficult.
What Types of Behaviors Should I Teach
The first type of training you do should be for the safety of the cat. Getting your cat to understand the “No!” command will be important if, say, they are heading for the opened front door, or about to jump up on a hot stove. Another important thing to teach your cat is off-limits areas. This can sometimes require an amount of ingenuity. For instance, if you would like to keep your dark-colored cat off your white couch: First, while you are at home and witnessing the behavior, a quick squirt from a spray bottle will give your cat the message. However, when you aren’t home to catch him in the act, try putting chairs long-ways on the couch so there is no comfortable area for your cat to sit and get cozy. Eventually, your cat will choose a different spot for its afternoon nap and won’t even bother with the couch. If you have any other problem areas that your cat seems to frequent, there are special deterrent mats or sprays that you could try. The mats feature uncomfortable pointy bumps that your cat won’t want to walk over, and the sprays are designed to mimic a cat’s pheromones, which causes them to stay away from the area.
Other Areas of Training
Of course your cat will need to learn proper litter box etiquette and the proper place for scratching. However, these behaviors rely more on the owner providing an adequate litter box with a litter that kitty likes, or a good scratching post or mat that kitty can use instead of the sofa. If the option is there, more than likely your cat will choose the correct one.
For traveling cats, it may be prudent to teach them some leash and harness tolerance. Trips to the vet or visits to “Grandma’s” will be easier, and there’s less chance for kitty to escape and run away! Simply introduce the leash and harness with a few treats and let the cat get used to it in the comfort of their home. Always have treats handy when you work with the leash and harness so your cat associates a good thing with them.
Sometimes, cats decide that 2 am is a good time for a good romp and play. If a weary owner gets up and tries to dissuade kitty with a nighttime snack, they will inadvertently be rewarding her, and tomorrow night may bring the same wake-up call! Instead, try to wear out your cat before bedtime. A good 20 minute or half-hour playtime will easily tire your cat, and the chance for an uninterrupted night’s sleep is much better! Sometimes, shutting your bedroom door will work, though other times, it will create a crybaby who sits right outside your door every night. If kitty refuses to cease and desist, perhaps placing her in her own “bedroom” for the night is a good idea. Make sure this room has her litterbox, food, and water available.
Training isn’t just for dogs, that’s for sure. Don’t let your cat wrap you around his paw. With a little tenacity and patience, you and your cat can build a strong, respectable relationship!