Did you know that cats can be trained? Although they aren’t that easy to teach like dogs, train your cat to modify their behavior will promote a happy and healthy relationship.
While your cat won’t “catch the ball” or “snag the Frisbee”, this doesn’t really mean that you can’t train them at all. You actually can in an effective manner. In the process, you can train them to become a much more pleasant part of your household.
Things to Remember when Training Cats
- Stop reprimanding and punishing your cat. When training your pet, it is vital that you focus more on making her experience fun and rewarding. Note that cats are naturally overly active and destructive when they feel bored. Thus, daily plays and relaxing massages may calm them down. When they feel neglected, they tend to stop acting pleasantly (e.g. not using the litter box). Take time each day to give your cat undivided attention.
- Set up a training session where your cat will mostly succeed. Bear in mind that the best way for your cat to learn is through positive reinforcement or the reward system. Create opportunities where you can praise and reward them for good behaviors.
- Create an environment where misbehavior won’t be rewarding. Take for instance when your cat claws your furniture; instead of training your cat to avoid the furniture, let the furniture itself tell the cat to stay away. It’s up to you to find something that your cat won’t like.
- Use a clicker to reinforce timing and gradually cut down on treats. Reward your cat as soon as she does the desired action. A clicker is helpful in terms of timing as it introduces a sound that alerts the cat that they’re doing something acceptable. To train your cat with the clicker, click it while giving treats to your cat without requesting any behavior. Doing so will teach your cat that the clicker noise means good things are coming.
- Let your cat practice the behavior as many times as possible – but not too much though. Repeat your training sessions several times in a row so your cat will learn when she’s given treats.
How to Train your Cat to use the Litter Box
Training your cat to use the litter box isn’t as hard as it sounds. Cats are typically clean by nature; in fact they can do self cat grooming when they feel filthy. They have a natural instinct to bury their waste. Follow these steps on training your cat to use the litter box:
- Place your cat inside a clean litter box that is situated in a confined area in your house.
- Make sure that you give your cat plenty of food and clean water.
- If your cat defecates outside of the box, place their feces in the litter box (while that sounds gross, it needs to be done). The odor of the waste may encourage your cat to use the box when defecating.
- About a day or two of being confined in that litter box, the cat may start using the box regularly.
There are instances when the cat may not use the box after a couple of days of trying. Well, don’t worry, you can do this: after your cat finished eating, place him inside the litter box and then scratch the box’s surface lightly using your finger tip.
If that doesn’t work, check if the box is clean. As mentioned earlier, cats are clean by nature; thus, it is essential that their litter box should be clean. If it’s been used before, clean the litter box using a baking soda and fill with clean litter. Also ensure that the box is placed in a quiet and secluded area. Like humans, cats also need privacy when defecating.
You may have to consult your veterinarian if nothing seems to work. Sometimes, there’s an underlying problem that can result to a cat’s reluctance to use a litter box.
Behavior Training for Cats
If your cat does some things that you don’t like, you can train them to not do it again. But first, you need to understand why the cat is behaving that way. There’s an explanation for each behavior, and for the cats, the way they behave is reasonable.
For instance, if you see your cat clawing your furniture, you need to understand that it is their instinct. They have this instinct to claw something; as a matter of fact, it’s a survival instinct. It doesn’t have to be your furniture though, it can be anything! And since that’s an instinct, chances are you won’t get your cat to stop clawing. However, you can train him to claw on acceptable objects, such as a scratching post.
It is important to note that to effectively train a cat, you need to use positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Never ever hit your cat when he claws on your furniture. The cat won’t understand why you did that and they will just grow scared of you. Instead, praise and reward your cat with treats when they claw a tree or other acceptable objects.
How to Discourage Aggressive Behavior in Cats
There may be times when your cat starts to play rough; he begins biting or scratching you. Fortunately, that behavior can be modified.
When you’re playing with your cat and it begins to get aggressive with you, startle it with a loud noise. Clap your hands or make a hissing sound – anything to startle the cat and stop it from whatever it’s doing. And then walk away. Repeatedly do this when they start to play rough. That way, your cat will learn that the consequence of aggressive behavior is that the playtime will come to an end.
The Misconceptions of Cat Training
It’s a common misconception that cats can’t be trained at all. You can train your cat to become a pleasant part of the household. Believe it or not, you can even train your cat to do tricks if you want.