Train cat? – Is that even possible?
Difference between cat and dog
You want to train your cat? First of all, cats are not dogs. While dogs want to please humans, cats do not. Cats are self-determined, independent, and have a mind of their own. It is not uncommon for people to be dubbed can openers or servants for cats. Still, many owners wish they would abide by certain rules.
The nature of cats
Cats don’t engage in certain behaviors just to annoy you, but because it’s in their nature. She does not scratch the sofa exclusively because she is bored, but because she needs to trim her claws. Neither does she romp around at night with the goal of waking you up. Cats are nocturnal animals by nature. Punishment will not help at this point. However, the unwanted behavior can be retrained and you can show your animal certain alternatives. We want to give you an answer to the question “How can I best train my cat?”.
Train cat – What should my cat learn?
Since you share a territory with your cat, you should set certain rules. If these are then also implemented, nothing stands in the way of a harmonious coexistence. Some lessons and suggestions on how to train your cat are presented here.
If a simple dog flap is sometimes enough for dogs, it takes a little more than just a cat flap for cats to avoid leaving messes in the house. You want to educate your cat’s housetraining from the first moment? Then it is best to place several litter boxes with low rims so that the kitten can get in more easily. Use the same litter that the breeder used and place everything in a quiet corner. You can put your kitten in the litter box just like that or after eating, sleeping and playing and play around in the litter with your finger. If your kitten does its business, you must praise it extensively. If it does miss: take the cat litter, sprinkle it over the mess and then put it in the litter box. Get your kitten and put it there so it learns where the right place is.
Cats, like dogs, can tell the difference between what’s off limits and what’s not. If your cat buries her claws in your furniture, you should admonish her with a clear “no”. Shouting is not necessary, otherwise she may get scared. If she automatically stops and refrains from the unwanted activity, you must praise her. Alternatively, pick her up and put her on a scratching post to show her that this is the right place. If she continues to scratch there, praise her profusely.
Listening to the name
To teach her to listen on command, sit a little ways away from her, call her name, and say “Come.” Hold out a treat to motivate her. If she doesn’t come, hold it under her nose and slowly bring it to you so she has to follow. Practice this regularly and increase the distances if necessary. Besides treats, petting and playing are also considered rewards.
Breaking the habit of scratching and biting
Even if playing with the little teeth and claws is still cute as a kitten – as an adult cat it is no longer. However, scratching and biting is often not as naughtiness, but because she wants to mark her territory and pedicure. Again, admonish her first and then put her on the scratching post. Don’t forget to praise her when she continues her activity there. A little tip: cats do not like mint oil. If she ignores you and your commands and continues to scratch your furniture, you can coat insensitive objects with it.
The prey drive
Anything that acts like prey is prey. Cats are and always will be predators. If the cat grabs your feet from under the covers and you pull them away, it will incite him even more to kill his prey. Just leave your feet there and take your kitty aside. If that doesn’t help, ban her from the bed. But don’t worry: actually, they quickly understand that feet don’t belong in their prey pattern – especially yours.
When it comes to claw grooming, not every cat is readily cooperative. However, with the help of a long and probably tedious process, you can change this behavior as well. To do this, you need to break the process down to small steps. Starting with a reward for touching her paw. If she feels comfortable with it, the next step is to gently squeeze the paw so the claw comes out. If that works, you reward that with a treat as well. This process continues until your cat lets you trim her claws without you having to wrestle with her.
Tips and tricks for proper cat training
Train your cat from the beginning
Already in the kitten age you should start to train cat. In doing so, it is important that you both have a trusting basis and that you already know their peculiarities and needs in order to create appropriate training measures. Make sure that you do not overstrain your kitten directly, but start slowly. Kittens already learn a lot from their mother, which is why they should remain in her care until they are 12 weeks old.
Test the limits
Kittens especially test boundaries and see how far they can go. This is exactly what makes direct education so necessary. Scratching the scratching post is okay, scratching the curtains is not. No matter how cute your little cat looks, you should stop inappropriate behavior. Even kittens already understand positive stimuli and sense negative mood when they have done something wrong. Playing with baby paws – okay. But to fight with adult paws and claws is something else.
Rules of the game
You should consider which behaviors are okay for you and which are not. Do I allow my cat to jump on the bed? Is she allowed to scratch and bite while playing? Is it okay if she begs while I’m eating? If you decide not to, educate her accordingly and admonish her with a “no” until she understands.
What if I change my mind?
Training away foibles later in life is possible, but very difficult and requires a lot of patience. Learning successes are destroyed because of spontaneous change of mind and confuses your velvet paw. Who can blame her? Cats love routine and if it was fine before, why not now? That’s why it’s all the more important to clearly define rules of the game beforehand and have everyone in the household enforce them consistently over the long term.
In order not to overtax your cat and especially your kitten in the beginning, only one playful training session per day is ideal. Also, you should limit yourself to one thing that you teach your cat. This way, they won’t be distracted and can fully concentrate on the task at hand. Training sessions should not be too long and if your cat decides it’s enough for the day, leave it at that.
As said before, it doesn’t help to first let behaviors go through and thus allow them, only to ban them a few months later. A small example: You don’t want your cat to beg while you are eating, but you give it something from the table every now and then? Then – to be honest – you have only yourself to blame. Cats notice this and hope that something will fall off as soon as you eat. Wouldn’t you think the same? So to get her out of the habit again, you have to consistently ignore her during your meals. It’s hard, but it helps!
Praise and reprimand
If your cat listens to you or does something well, she gets a treat. However, it can not be convinced merely with the normal food, but it must be something special. Special treats can be bought for this purpose. But be careful: either take very small treats or reduce the food so that your cat does not become overweight. Besides the favorite snack, you should also reward your cat with balanced petting and a play session. This way she knows that appropriate behavior will get her more than a “no” or being ignored.
Choose a word to make it clear to your cat that she has done something wrong. The easiest word to use is “no.” It is important that you say it with an emphasis that is always similar and that you say it in a clear and understandable voice. Your cat will notice the negative vibes directly. If the command “No” does not help, try irgnoring, because cats hate to be ignored.
The deadly sins of cat training
If you want to train cat, there are not only praises and rewards, but also reprimands. Among them are many actions that you should definitely refrain from. You should avoid the following actions if you don’t want her to become afraid of you and your relationship to become unbalanced:
Roaring: Cats have a much more sensitive hearing than we do and so they perceive the smallest sounds. Roaring as an action is unnecessary and is similar to a verbal blow, which can lead to fear and distrust in your cat. It is quite enough if you raise your voice.
Violence: Violent actions have never been an appropriate means of education for animals. You could hurt them physically and emotionally by such actions. Not only will they be afraid and feel intimidated, it will also destroy any trust between you.
Grabbing by the neck: In the same way, you should avoid grabbing your cat by the neck and picking him up. This is what mother cats do to their kittens and it should stay that way!
Scolding afterwards: Scolding afterwards does not help at all. Your cat doesn’t even know that he has reduced the sofa to rubble two hours ago, even if you think that he must see it. Scolding is done immediately after the misdeed, not hours later.
Coercion: Forcing a cat to do something is useless. They will not learn what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do. At most they will lose their trust in you.
Droppings: If your cat has done its business in your apartment, this is not the end of the world. And certainly no reason to press the nose of the velvet paw in his droppings. This is not only disgusting, but also a method from the Stone Age. You can make most dirt residues disappear with vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners, carpet cleaners and Co.
Train cat – When a “no” is not enough
If neither a clear “no” nor ignoring helps, then you can resort to some educational tools. One of these is the clicker. With the click sounds and the subsequent handing of a treat, you express success. She knows that she has done something well as soon as the sound is heard and comes to you.
Another tool is the water spray gun. It should help when no command brings something. You watch your cat and whenever it does something forbidden, you spray it briefly. The jet should not be too hard and should not be directed at the head or ears. This method does not hurt your cat and is far better than yelling at it or hitting it. If used in a targeted manner, bad behaviors can be broken off quite quickly. Last but not least, loud noises also help, as cats are very sensitive to them. A clapping of hands or a tin can full of screws, which is shaken, often create remedy.
Conclusion: Train cat
Educate cats is not so difficult in theory. For a harmonious coexistence, however, it is up to you to set rules of the game and to educate your velvet paw consistently. From an early age, you should enforce the training measures. This includes a clear command like “No!” or “Down!”. Your cat will notice the change in your voice even without raising it. In an emergency, you can also use tools such as the clicker or a small water pistol. Basically, yelling, hitting or subsequent scolding are not conducive in education, but destroy your relationship. Therefore: With a lot of patience and calmness you should teach your four-legged friend some behaviors that are desirable and expel those that are not. Then the perfect cohabitation can start!