3 Common Cat Training Mistakes

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

When it comes to training cats, you might not be sure where to begin. They aren’t like dogs, and they can be quite stubborn.

Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

Whether you want to stop your kitty from jumping on the kitchen counter or you want to train her to do tricks, the first thing to bear in mind is that training is a process that takes time.

Avoiding some common cat training mistakes may help ensure your feline friend learns more quickly and easily. Here’s a list of some of the mistakes that pet parents make when training kittens and adult cats.

Reacting Only to Negative Behaviors

It’s understandable that, before your cat learns the rules, she’ll do things that you don’t want her to do, like claw at your carpet or jump on furniture she shouldn’t be on. But if you react too strongly to unwanted behaviors, you might actually end up slowing the training process, and your cat might even start to use negative behaviors as a way to get your attention.  

Instead, reinforce good behavior by praising your kitty and maybe even giving her a treat when you see her doing things like using the scratching post instead of your carpet. And if your pet does something you don’t want, stop yourself from reacting by shouting or being aggressive towards her. Rather, gently show her the desirable behavior and then give her a reward when she follows the rule.

Using the Wrong Products and Methods 

Sure, there are cat training products on the market, but they aren’t always a good idea. Sometimes, all you need is something simple, such as double-sided tape that can teach a cat to stay off certain furniture.

Remember, cats don’t respond well to negative training attempts. So, again, avoid yelling at your pet and definitely don’t hit her. These actions will only instill fear in your companion. And what about tactics like using a spray bottle? Well, they’ll probably scare your cat and likely won’t teach her anything.  

Also worth noting: when your cat scratches, jumps, and climbs, those are all natural behaviors that you shouldn’t inhibit. The goal is to find ways to let your cat be herself without damaging your belongings. For this, you can use pet products that will encourage your kitty to do what you want while giving her what she needs too. For example, if your cat likes to jump on a tall piece of furniture, she might just need a cat tree or she might enjoy climbing up wall perches to get to the highest spot in the house. As another example, if you got her a vertical scratching post but she doesn’t really use it, she might prefer a different style, such as a horizontal one. In other words, it might just be a matter of selecting the right products for your unique kitty.

Being Impatient

Finally, training pets requires patience, and because each cat is one-of-a-kind, some might require more training than others. Take your time, knowing that changes in behavior won’t happen overnight. 

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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