Cat Behavior Training
Pet cats have always been in style and will always be a delight for all unbiased pet owners. Getting a pet cat is a fantastic and rewarding experience. As with everything in life, it has its pros, including adorable cuddles, sweet putts, and cute playtimes. It also has its cons in the form of behavior problems such as biting, spitting, and scratching.
Even the loveliest cats can still exhibit these problematic and annoying traits, which some people might not tolerate.
A lot of people often ask, "can cats be trained?" The simple answer to this question is a resounding YES! Contrary to the misunderstanding by most pet lovers, just like dogs, cats can also be trained.
Some people (even cat pet owners) never consider the training of cats vital as they think of cats as free-willed and independent creatures. This assumption is not entirely true, though, as they subconsciously train their cats daily, and this lack of deliberate effort often means they are training the cats to do the opposite of what they want.
Cat training creates a very effective way for you and your cat to communicate.
For example, you might think that you are scolding your cat; meanwhile, you are simply giving it attention, which is better and rewarding in the cat's mind. The best principle for cat behavior training is, "Reward what you like and ignore what you don't like.”
Cat Behavior Problems
Some cat behaviors can be both concerning and annoying. But it doesn't make them any less lovable; it's just something to train your cat on to stop these behaviors. Understanding undesirable cat behaviors can help you solve them. Proper cat training is essential to ensuring that you and your furry friend can enjoy a happier, calmer life together.
- Aggression: Aggressive behaviors include hissing and spitting. It could be directed at people or other animals in the same environment.
- Litter box issues: This problem is common in at least 10 percent of cats. This could be because the cat doesn't like the position of the litter box, the material it is made from, feels you are using too much litter or just thinks the litter box is basic (or dirty).
- Scratching: Cats, like other felines, are territory animals. Cats scratch to mark their territory and also while playing. So when your cats scratch your curtains and couches, it might not be to annoy you but as a fun activity for playtime.
- Biting: Although cats bite to play and show affection, it is also a part of their predator instincts. So, your cat can get quite aggressive and leave you with injuries from these playful nibbles.
Types Of Cat Training
Training your cat to use the toilet can be a lot of work, but it can be done. The first step is to place your cat's litter box next to the bathroom. Then you can use a stool to gradually raise the litter box until it's at the same level as the toilet. This should be done progressively as long as it takes your cat to be comfortable with the graduations.
The next step is to place the litter box on top of the toilet seat. You can make the switch to a special litter box that fits into the toilet seat. This litter box should be flushable too. Once your cat is comfortable, you can reduce the height of the litter till your cat doesn't need it anymore.
Leash training a cat is different from leash training a dog. You must know how to leash train a cat before you start. The first step is to introduce your cat to a harness. Make the cat see the harness as a harmless object and voluntarily put the harness around its neck when you hold it up. Let the cat wear the harness without the leash a few times and slowly take off the harness each time. Of course, you have to use treats to achieve this. Gradually increase the duration the cat wears the harness.
Once the cat is comfortable with the harness, it's time to attach the leash. Allow the cat to move around indoors on the leash without tension. When the cat gets relaxed with the leash, try connecting the leash with tension next. Allow the cat to walk around indoors with the leash, but always supervise your cat to avoid accidents. Walk your cat indoors with the leash on before you proceed to the outdoors. Always remember to use treats every step of the way. If your cat gets frightened in the middle of it all, please stop and continue another day.
It is essential to train a cat to sit as it can be helpful for many things such as grooming and handling. You will need a lot of treats and patience to train a cat to sit.
At the beginning of this training, you can sit on the floor to communicate with the cat easier or stand. The training schedule should be planned to be a maximum of 3-4 minutes 3 times every day before you let your cat rest. Hold a treat in front of the cat for every session as a reward.
You can use a clicker for the first few training sessions, and once your cat has mastered that, you can switch to using a voice cue like "sit.” Always remove distractions. If you have other pets, like a dog, you can train your cat by letting it mimick the dog on sitting and getting a reward.
The best time to train a cat to sit is when it's a little hungry, as treats tend to appear even more appealing.
Cat Behavior Training Tips
When it comes to changing your cat's behavior, training is way more effective than yelling. Patient training helps to establish positive behaviors, while punishments can lead to anxiety and more behavioral problems. Before you begin your cat's training, you should consider things like:
- Creating a cat training schedule;
- Research on your cat's breed. Just like other pets, cats have behaviors that are peculiar to specific breeds, and this knowledge can make the training easier for you and your feline baby;
- Visiting a veterinarian to make sure there are no underlying medical conditions behind your cat's behavioral problems;
- Check for environmental triggers like dirty litter boxes, the addition of a large furniture piece, or a change in routine. Any of these can contribute to a cat exhibiting bad behaviors;
- Provision of fun times to stimulate the cat mentally. Investing in toys and having fun, active playtimes with your cat will achieve this.
- It would help if you also considered what commands you'd want to use for your cat and what types of behavioral actions you want your cat to learn. Your options include things you have wondered about in the past, such as: how to train a cat to sit, how to train your cat to use the litter box, cat toilet training, etc.
Keep Training Sessions Short
Each training subject should have its designated time to prepare the cat to get used to the idea.
If you are training your cat for something like playing with toys and you, it is best to take the training gradually, let the cat explore each new item while you give it space. You can participate when it is acquainted with the toys.
Start slowly and small
For successful cat training, you should start practicing one lesson at a time. Do not get too excited and attempt to teach your cat everything at once. Once your cat has successfully mastered one skill, you can move into the next one.
During cat training, it is essential to use rewards to establish good behaviors. Saying things like "good job" in a kind, cheerful voice while petting your cat shows that you mean well, and the cat will associate it with a reward for good behavior.
Much like dogs, cats are food-motivated. When your cat masters a command you are training it in, reward it with treats. Cats respond well to treats. Using the "clicker" system to sound the click and give the cat a reward to signal a job well done will reinforce good behavior.
Do not limit the cat to one area
Try practicing every command you have trained your cat to obey in different parts of the house. Some training may require using areas of your home. For example, if you train your cat to stop scratching furniture and carpet, you will need to do comprehensive training in all the rooms where these items are found.
Enlist other people
You want to train your cat to be social, not territorial. If you have a large family, everyone must be a part of the cat training. All other reasons apart, it is crucial for consistency and building a relationship with the cat. Everyone should be aware of the training goals and methods to use.
If you stay alone, invite your friends and family shortly after bringing your cat home so they can socialize with the furry creature in your life. Remind them, however, not to be too forward with their introduction.
What To Do If Training Isn't Working?
No creature, including cats, can learn things overnight, so mistakes are bound to happen. Your cat can always bounce back from the mistakes, so it's up to you to keep your cool when they relapse.
Punishments do not work on cats. It only makes them reclusive. Do not slap, shake or hit your cat during training and always try to keep your voice calm. You don't want your cat to become scared of you.
You can use quick vocal cues like "whoa" to distract your cat from destructive behavior. Avoid words like "no" and "hey,” which you might be using regularly to avoid confusing your cat.
Training your cat can be a fun experience for you, your family and your cat. Always remember to be patient and positive.
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How to train a cat?
The first step to cat training is communicating with the cat from a short distance. Make some noise, use the clicker when the cat responds and give out treats as rewards. As time progresses, you can try calling the cat from a longer distance.
How to train a cat to use a litter box?
Cats generally like to hide the evidence of their deed, so training your cat shouldn't be a hard thing to accomplish. But if your cat needs pointers, you can help your cat by showing it the litter box and letting it sniff and examine it. Set the cat in the box after each meal and nap. Give rewarding treats each time you notice your cat using the litter box. Don't scold or punish the cat for times when it makes mistakes in using the litter box. This can lead to anxiety in the cat.
How to train a cat not to bite?
To know how to train your cat not to bite, you need to understand why cats bite. Play toys, treats, and setting boundaries are good ways to train your cat not to bite. Get your friends and family involved in the training, and please don't ruin your cat's fun day.
How to harness train a cat?
Introduce the harness as a harmless object to your cat before you begin the training. This can be done using treats to reinforce positive associations with the harness in your cat’s mind. Then get your cat to voluntarily put the harness on themselves when you hold it up. Make sure the strap is super loose at the early stage. Get your cat comfortable with you buckling the harness, and then start moving around with the harness. Try doing this for short periods every day.
How to train a cat to sit?
Teaching a cat to sit should be easy as all cats sit. Clickers, treats, and vocal cues are what you need while training your cat to sit. You can start using the clicker sound and give the cat treats when it successfully understands the command and sits. When it gets this 9 out of 10 times, you can train the cat with vocal cues by saying "sit." Of course, always reward the cat with treats.
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