5 Helpful Cat Training Tips To Control Your Frisky Feline
Dogs aren’t the only pets that benefit from training. Cat training is possible – here’s how to teach your kitty a few new tricks!
Even though many people think it’s too difficult or even impossible to train cats, this simply is not true. You just have to understand how to motivate your cat to listen to your commands, keeping in mind that many of the same tactics that are used on dogs simply won’t work on felines because they are more independent and, unlike dogs, they are not always ready to do whatever it takes the please you.
With the right strategies and tactics in place, you can train your cat successfully while strengthening your bond with your beloved pet. Below are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Stick with Positive Reinforcement
Whenever you attempt cat training, it’s best to stick with positive reinforcement by rewarding good behaviors. Punishing a cat for bad behavior will not work and will only result in your cat being fearful and anxious around you, and your pet will simply avoid getting caught making the same mistakes in the future. Punishment also results in high levels of stress, which can contribute to health and behavioral problems, such as eliminating outside of the litter box or grooming excessively. Also, if you punish a cat for bad behavior after some time has passed, he will not associate the punishment with the behavior anyway. That’s why it is always best to stick with positive reinforcement that lets your cat know what behaviors are acceptable and will result in rewards that he will enjoy. This will make him more inclined to do the things that make you happy and, in turn, produce rewards like treats that he loves.
Related: How To Toilet Train Your Cat
2. Use Treats and a Clicker
Choose treats that your cat can’t resist and use them to get him to behave in the way that you want him to. For example, if you want to reward him for being quiet, you can give him a treat. If you want to get him to sit quietly while you prepare his food, hold the treat to his nose and then move it in an arc over the top of his head so that he will naturally follow it and end up in a seated position, at which point you can give him the treat. Do this several times and your cat will get the idea. To make your training more efficient and effective, you can use a clicker at the moment your cat exhibits the desired behavior and follow the click with a treat. Once again, repetition is the key to successful cat training, so be patient and don’t expect changes overnight.
3. Avoid Bad Behaviors Through Play
Training your cat to release excess energy through play is yet another way to prevent him from acting out in destructive ways. Set aside time each day to play with your cat, which will strengthen your bond and prevent negative attention-seeking behaviors. This activity time will also tire him out so that he will no longer have energy to expend and he won’t be bored.
4. Keep the Training Sessions Short
Felines have short attention spans, so you want to keep your training sessions short. About 15 minutes or so should be long enough, but your cat may become bored even sooner than that, so just work with your pet and stop the training once you notice that he is no longer interested or paying attention. Again, consistency is key, so train every day if you can, preferably before mealtime so that he is motivated by the reward of food.
5. Wean Your Cat off Treats
Although treats are great motivators at the beginning of the cat training program, too many treats are not healthy for your kitty and can lead to weight gain. To wean your cat off the treats, begin incorporating other rewards. This can include positive statements like, “good kitty,” a toy, or a petting session. Gradually reduce the number of treats you give to your cat after a good behavior until they are no longer necessary.