How To Train A Cat
Training cats can be a lot of work. But clearly, the benefits of having your cat trained outweigh the fact that it compels you to put in your full commitment and time.
Training should always start with the idea of regarding the right behavior and discouraging the wrong. If you are still planning to have your first feline companion, you should be aware that cats are independent animals. At first, they may appear aloof and uninterested. But with consistency, you will be reaping the benefits of having a well-behaved cat in the long run.
- How To Train A Cat
- First, What Do You Want To Train For?
- Things To Take Note Of
- Correcting Inappropriate Behaviors
- Other Cat Tricks & Commands To Try Out
- Frequently Asked Questions
First, What Do You Want To Train For?
In training your cat, the most important thing that you should do is to point out what skill or lessons you would like for your cat to be mastered. From there, you should be gradually achieving these goals by consistently doing a short training every day. Some objectives include, and are not limited to the following:
- Using the litter box
- Coming to you if you make gestures or calling
- Responsiveness to your command like sit, stay, jump, rollover, or high five
- Staying calm and patient during grooming
- Proper social interaction with the owner, another pet animal like a dog, and other animals.
- Calm behavior when traveling with your cat in a car, plane, and other transportation
- Playing with toys, another cat, or other pets
Things To Take Note Of
Start Early & Start Small
If you will bring a young kitten home, you may want to begin teaching them certain positive behaviors. For example, your kitten may start socializing with other animals and people. When your kitten gets used to the presence of other people, grooming would be easier as your kitten grows up. Beginning the training process early will ensure that your cat will have positive behavior and you won't have any trouble with them growing up.
Don’t Limit Them To One Area
Just like litter box training, some other cat training is required to be practiced in different areas of the house. So training to keep them from scratching the sofa or eliminating anywhere should not be limited to only one area.
When your cat has learned new commands or new behaviors, the objective is to practice them in different areas of your household. If you wish to introduce other pets to your new kitty, bring them together in the living room. In this manner, your cat learns that the other animals only exist in that specific spot in the house.
Keep The Training Sessions Short & Natural
Your cat's interests and moods should be considered when planning for the time and duration of the cat training sessions. Unlike other pets, cats have trouble keeping themselves focus or have a shorter attention span. As a highly independent pet, cats tend to do things depending on how and when they want to do it. That is why you need to carefully plan to train your cat whenever they are interested in doing so.
To have your cats trained, you must do the training process in a short but consistent and natural manner. Patience, calmness, and persistence are needed when training your independent and strong-willed kitty as they may not progress quickly as you expect them to be.
Involve Other People
If you have other family members and visitors, it is ideal to have them involved with the training. Every member must know what the common objectives of the training are, and what methods are being used. For example, if anyone has seen the undesirable cat's behavior, that person should apply corrective measures similar to everyone. Being consistent with the corrections of your cat's bad behavior over the course of the lesson will let them know what's good and what is not.
Use Plenty Of Treats
Many cats respond to the system of positive reinforcement very well. So, when having cat training, always reward your pet with praises, scratches, or a treat to eat. Besides feeding them with treats, you may also use a clicker when you reward them. In this manner, your cat will make the association between the reward and the clicker sound. In this way, every time your pet cat hears the clicker sound, they will understand that they did a good job.
Never Punish Your Cat
Generally, cats do not take punishment well, since this type of disciplinary action may often trigger stress, anxiety or leave them being afraid of you. Instead, you may use distractions to impose discipline whenever you catch your kitty doing inappropriate things like scratching on the wall instead of the scratching post. For example, you can make a sound to have your cat distracted every time they do misconduct. To avoid confusion, you must use words like “no” or “stop” consistently.
Correcting Inappropriate Behaviors
Ideally, you should first train your cat with the basics before teaching them fancy tricks.
1.Training Your Cat To Use The Litter Box
As the new kitten arrives home, you may want to immediately litter train your feline pet. The first thing to do is to find the perfect spot to put the box. It should be in an accessible, private, and quiet spot in the house. Make sure that the litter tray is not too far out of the way of your kitten and should be cleaned regularly.
After setting up the litter box, you may now begin with the cat training. For effective litter training, you may start by placing your pet cat inside the litter box right after they finished eating and gently scratch the sand using their front paw until they eliminate inside the box. Have consistency and repeat the process multiple times until your kitten realizes what litter boxes are for.
You may want to reward and praise your kitten right after they finished doing their business. Never punish the kittens for not using the litter box. Giving them punishment would only make them nervous and will not learn from it. Worse yet, “punishing” your kitty can induce stress leading to behavioral and health issues.
2.Teaching Cats Not to Bite
Before you reprimand your pet, you must first know why the cat bites in the first place. If your cats play a bit rough and start scratching and biting you during play exercises, stop immediately before your kitten starts to play more aggressively. Stand up or sit still and ignore your kitten, after you stop from the activity. Have consistency and patience to repeat this method and after some time, they will realize that they should not be playing too rough.
Moreover, biting may also be a sign that your cat is not getting enough exercise. These kinds of behaviors can be addressed by providing outlets for their predatory instincts. It is a good idea to give them toys to have fun with and keep them preoccupied.
3. Training Cats To Not Scratch Furniture
Your cat needs to scratch in order to sharpen its claws. To train your cat, you may give them their own scratching pillar to scratch on. For your kitten to be trained not to scratch the furniture, you may create weird sounds to distract and alert them whenever you spot them in the act of destroying your furniture. Practice this method, until your cat understands they should not scratch something, not unless it is their scratching post. As a form of training, you may incorporate positive reinforcements and give them some treats.
Other Cat Tricks & Commands To Try Out
Training is one of the best ways to connect the feline and the trainer. Aside from the behavior commands, you may also teach your cat some tricks. You may also incorporate rewards like some treat, or use clicker training for your cat to respond accordingly.
Training your cat to “come” begins the moment they enter your home. To do this trick, put cat food inside a container, shake, and then reward until your cat acknowledges the sound coming from the container. You may incorporate clicker training by clicking while rewarding when your cat arrives as you command. Gradually increase the timing of your command and the shaking of the container until your cat comes on cue. Intermittently give rewards and slowly remove the clicker.
2. Find It
To teach your cat this trick, toss a high-value treat at your cat's paw until your cat can follow your toss- say the phrase “find it” afterward. Playing the shell game after is ideal to increase difficulty. You can use a dab of cat paste to encourage licking. As you play the game, reveal the hand or the container that contains the food whenever your cat chose the correct one. You may incorporate the clicker and give a reward if needed.
To teach your cat to do the trick “target”, you may buy a target from a store or use your finger instead. Begin your training and teach your cat to be alert by presenting the target two inches from the nose of your cat. As your kitten touches it, use the clicker and give a reward. To have this behavior on cue, say the word “target” once your cat is reliable enough to move to the target.
Start by encouraging paw movements from your cat through positive reinforcement (giving rewards whenever the paw moves off the ground). Then, clasp your hand with the treat inside and wait for their paw to reach in and grab your hand. Every time their paw touches your hand, reward them. Gradually use the cue “high-five” as you train them and eventually your cat does the trick when prompted.
Immediately give your cat a reward whenever you see them sitting naturally on the ground. You may try luring your cat using a pointing signal or a “target wand “or you could simply say “sit” if you can predict the behavior of your kitten.
6. On Your Mat & Stay
Have your kittens learn this trick by creating a cat-mat out of a towel, or any cloth. Once the cat steps on the cat-mat, click and toss a treat away from the mat so your cat will have to step off the mat and come back for more food. Slowly incorporate the cue, “on your mat” and once it willingly stays there, cue “stay”. Once kittens acquired the behavior of staying on the mat, it would be very helpful whenever you go on a vacation, or to the veterinary clinics. You can also use this to encourage your cat to sit still while you do tasks like cooking.
7. “In The Box” Command
It is a common behavior among kittens to be jumping in a bag or any boxes, mostly to have fun. This cue comes in handy when you need to go outside and have your cat go inside the carrier. Whenever you notice your cat jump into the carrier, click and don't forget to give rewards for the gesture. Add the cue “in the box” when your cat prompts you and simply carry them around, rewarding after each ride.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cats easy to train?
Yes, cats are easy to train. Contrary to popular belief, you can teach your cat commands for certain behaviors and some novelty tricks. You can also train your cat to compete in agility tournaments. However, cats are less instinctively work with their humans, unlike a dog.
What is the best age to train a cat?
The best age to train a cat is around 2 weeks. You may start early, and start training your cat twice a day, ideally for five to ten minutes–the more often your training sessions are, the better.
What is the easiest way to train a cat?
There is no easy way to train a cat. You must be patient, calm, and dedicated to improving your cat's behavior. Just like in dogs, there are no shortcuts if you want to train your feline companion.