Posted by: paperbacks | September 21, 2007

Training Cats

While there are many books and classes to help you train your dog, most people do not expect to train their cat. However, you can train your cat in several behaviors that will make living with him much more enjoyable.

The most basic, of course, is for your cat to learn to use the litter box. This is not too difficult, as it is far more natural for a cat to use the sand/dirt that is in the box than to use your floors. When you have a new kitten, make sure to place him in the box frequently, as he may take a few tries to remember to use it, and kittens need to go often! If you have trouble with an older, male cat peeing in the house, consider getting him neutered.

You may also want to teach your cat to come when called, to stay out of certain rooms, off of tables, and not to scratch your furniture. The same training rules apply to cats as any animal: reward them for behavior you like, tell them NO! when you catch them doing something you don’t like, and most importantly, you cannot scold them for something AFTER they have done it, because they won’t understand.

So first you need to find out what your cat considers a reward. This is probably some sort of treat, and maybe a special way of being petted. Knowing your cat’s favorite way to be petted is good for training them where they can and cannot be. If your cat is sleeping on the floor of the living room, you can greet him happily and give him a scratch on the head. If he is trying to trip you up in the kitchen, you can pick him up and put him in a different room.
If he is on a table, say NO! and put him on the floor. He will probably figure it out, the only problem is stubborness!
To get him to come when called, it is the same as a dog. Practice where he can see/smell that you have a treat for him. Eventually, you will be able to call him in at night, if you’d like, because he will know that he will get a treat!

So, there are many things you can train your cat to do, if you can find the right motivation!

Photos from flickr:
Spring Dew
Jerrroen

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