Cats are rather intelligent creatures, and training them can be necessary, like teaching them proper litter box habits, or for fun, like training them to learn silly tricks. Either way, it’s important to make sure you’re training your feline pal for the right reason and using strategies that your cat will best respond to. Take a look at these helpful tips for training your cat to learn different habits or skills:
Tip #1: Train with purpose
What will be the purpose behind training your cat? What do you hope to achieve? Picking a positive objective is the first step in teaching your cat a new behavior or training them to stop a bad behavior. The primary purposes cat owners choose to train their cats include:
- To use their litter box properly
- To stop inappropriate scratching or biting behaviors
- To keep away from certain areas of the home (like a baby’s room or on top of furniture)
- To respond to vocal commands (sit, stay, come)
- To teach them new tricks
Tip #2: Patience is Key
Cats can be easily distracted, so to better keep your cat’s attention focused on the task at hand, training sessions should be short yet frequent. Your cat’s mood and interest at the time you decide to start a session will likely affect their responsiveness, so don’t get frustrated if you can’t seem to hold their attention. Remember that felines are naturally strong-willed and independent creatures, and be patient with them as they learn.
Tip #3: Use Positive Reinforcement
As you probably already know, cats love when their owners give them attention. Whether it comes in the form of gentle head rubs or tasty treats, your cat is likely to respond better to positive reinforcement when they’ve accomplished a goal. No matter how small the step, progress during training sessions should be rewarded with something you know your cat enjoys.
Tip #4: Avoid Punishing Bad Behavior
While cats enjoy positive reinforcement, most do not respond well to negative disciplinary methods. Punishing your cat for bad behavior will often only cause them stress and anxiety, rather than allowing them to comprehend their wrongdoing. Instead, distraction is a better tactic to use when your cat is performing an unwanted behavior. When you catch your cat in the act, make a quick noise or sound that will distract or gently startle them, like a hand clap or a firm “whoa!”.
Concerned About Your Cat’s Behavior?
If you’ve been trying to correct your cat’s negative behavior with little success or you’re interested in having your cat seen by a veterinarian for a standard wellness check-up, Catonsville Cat Clinic is here for you. We are professional cat health and wellness specialists dedicated to helping owners give their feline pals the happy and healthy life they deserve.
Contact us today to learn more or schedule a visit.