So you have a cat! Ok, so you have two cats or more…well, if that’s the case then you can’t afford to be without some quick and easy training tips.
Let’s talk about some cat training techniques that cover a litany of issues that most cat owners encounter. My guess is that the more your read the cat training tips that these little tidbits will trigger some ideas of your very own.
Consistency… it is absolutely the key to effective cat training. Without it you will be left scratching your head and wondering what on earth happened. With cat training you will want to do it on regularly, otherwise, it will be your fault that your cat doesn’t get the message since you’ll be doing nothing more than sending your cat mixed signals. At that point, you really can’t blame your beloved kitty; mixed signals will only make it that much harder to train your cat to do what you want her to. Forget about cat training in 10 minutes…it just doesn’t work! Consistent training is the key to success.
If you want to get through those first few days and weeks of cat ownership, the keep reading. Let’s talk about the ten “must have” tips that will successfully walk you through your initial phase cat ownership.
First of all, while it might come as a bit of a shock, cats really don’t care that you punish them. Really! Now the same is not true for a dog. If you’ve owned a dog, you know that punishing him will help change his behavior. But with a cat…not a chance! Cats could care less. Bottom line. Don’t waste your time punishing your cat. They’ll just sit there purring at you, looking at you with those sweet kitty cat eyes and just repeat the same behavior that you were trying to avoid.
Next, corporal punishment is out of the question. Think about it. The design of a cat’s body is quite delicate and you simply cannot “spank” a cat the way you might swat a dog to grab their attention. You have to be smarter than the cat. When you are working with your pet and training your cat for appropriate behavior, you seriously have to match wits with your cat…think like the cat! While there are cat training products out there such a the infamous cat clicker, it is just not one of the products I would suggest. There are better options.
Now, this is a no-brainer. The next “must have” cat training tip is to use some type of positive reinforcement. If you have owned cats before then you can attest to the fact that catching your cat in the act of misbehaving is next to impossible. So, it goes without saying that it is easier to catch your cat doing something right. When you see your cat behaving appropriately, then it is important to reward your cat for getting the behavior thing right! It is easy to keep some cat “treats” on hand and to share one with your cat when he is behaving in a positive manner. For example, when your cat uses the scratching post instead of your couch leg or uses the littler box instead of the stack of clean clothes, these would be perfect times to feed your cat a treat.
Next, it is very important to maintain a nice stash of toys around the house. Cats are picky in this area, in fact, the toys can be from the local pet store or they can be toys that you make. Many cats misbehave because they are simply bored! Wow…it seems such a simple concept…keep them entertained and they are more likely to behave. By nature, the feline is a predatory animal. Just think about this concept for a moment. In the Disney movie, The Lion King, there is a heartwarming scene where little Simba gets “pouncing lessons.” He is practicing to be a lion. So it should come as no surprise that your cat also needs to practice his predatory skills. So when you walk in and your cat is literally bouncing off the walls, hanging from the curtains and seeming a bit nuts, he’s only practicing his predatory skills. Your job is to give him an alternative. If you give him other choices, then he will calm down a bit.
Remember, that when you are away from home that you need to keep your cat busy. Don’t forget, a bored cat will look for trouble.
When your cat is used to you and your family being in the house and then suddenly you are all gone to work and school, your cat might get a touch bored and start looking for a little action. Your cat can quite quickly turn into a destructive little machine while you are at work or are gone for any length of time. Many cat owners use the television on a timer trick. With the purchase of an inexpensive timer for your television set, you can tune the TV to an outdoor or animal friendly channel and then set your timer to have the television turn on and off at various times during the day. Your cat will definitely notice. Cats can see the image on the screen and will stop what they are doing and investigate the noise. Most cats will even take the time to stay and watch the show…well, at least for a little while.
Next, any cat owner will tell you that you should never be without a trusty spray bottle of water. There is real value in that little spritz of H2O. For many cats, a little spray from a harmless bottle of water is all it takes to grab their attention and to make them knock off the bad behavior. The next time you are at your local super center, pick up simple spray bottle, like the ones you use to mist plants with, and then when your cat acts up, use the water bottle to squirt him. It won’t be long before your cat will get the message and will know not the repeat that behavior.
If your cat is one of those who literally cannot get close enough to you and is right up in your face, then just blow a harmless puff of air in your cat’s face. While it sounds nutty, it does work. You need to teach your cat about personal space and by blowing in her face, you will confuse and startle her, all at the same time. It won’t be long before your cat associates the puff of air and getting too close to your face and she simply will stop the behavior. After all, who wants to keep enduring an unpleasant sensation!
Now, this is quite important for the long term health of your cat. You must provide your cat with “a room with a view”. We’ve already talked about how cats often get into trouble just because they are bored. Remember the old saying, “curiosity killed the cat.”
Well, you should also remember that a curious cat can drive his owner insane! Bored cats will absolutely find something to entertain themselves with. Curiosity and cats just go together. So plan ahead and do what you can to keep your cat entertained. A room with a view, such as a den or family room with a large picture window is perfect. Make sure that you give your cat several windows to look out of and he will enjoy the movement and activity in the yard just beyond. A window ledge or window sill is just perfect for bird watching and your cat will enjoy watching the squirrels as they scurry among the tree branches. If you have a home with narrow window ledges, then check out the options for ledge extensions available at most pet stores.
Now this is one of the most fun cat training tips. It is so easy…make time to spend quality time with your cat. Ok, you might think that this is an unorthodox training technique, but actually it is really quite smart! Remember how we talked about matching wits with your cat…this is one of those times. The more time you spend with your cat, the better you’ll be able to communicate with her. Kitties definitely communicate and the better that you know your cat the more you will enjoy your relationship. If you know your cat, then you can better guess when he is about to act out. Knowing your cat will let you intervene and make a move of your own before your cat gets a chance to misbehave.
Finally, if you have ever owned a cat before, then you know that cats are extremely territorial and when you have more than one cat, you are going to have the occasional cat fight! It is going to happen. So what can you do? First of all, if you see the fight, then step in with your trusty spray bottle and squirt the bully cat. Do your best to avoid spraying the victim since you don’t want to punish the victim. Once you have the cats separated, then further deal with the fight but confining the aggressor cat to the less desirable space in your home. While the bully is confined, then spend some quality time with the cat who did not attack and even reward her with a little treat or free reign on the house. Once you are ready to allow the cats together again, you will want to keep an eye on them so that the fight doesn’t flare up again.
So as you can see, there are many ideas to training your cat. So many of them are quite easy to implement. Take the time to get to know your cat. The more you know about your cat and the more he or she knows about you the better you will be able to communicate. The better that you know each other, then you will discover that eventually you will be able to read each other’s body language.
There are little nuances in everyone’s communication style, and that includes your cat. With a little investment of time, you will find it easier than you ever imagined to teach your cat just what she needs to know to be a fabulous addition to your family.