How to Train Your Feline
Finding healthy ways to direct cat behavior is crucial if you are going to enjoy a rewarding relationship with your feline.That being said, training a feline can be tricky — which is likely why so many people think that cats can’t be trained. This simply isn’t true, but you do need to know how to do it correctly.
If you want to learn how to train your feline, here are some tips to get you started on the right path towards encouraging your feline’s good behavior and discouraging their bad behavior. You may even learn enough to teach your feline family members some fun tricks!
FIND A DESIRABLE REWARD SUCH AS TREATS OR FOOD
Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a feline. Whether you’re trying to tame a crazy kitten or working with an older feline to teach them a trick or two, you need to start with a tasty food reward.
Figuring out what your feline’s favorite treats are or using high-quality cat food as a reward can work well. Some feline’s respond well to healthy human food (like a piece of tuna or chicken) that they don’t get often. Remember to balance the treats with the food you serve at mealtime to ensure your cat is not over-eating.
CONSIDER USING A CLICKER TO TRAIN YOUR CAT
Every time your feline performs the desired behavior, you click the clicker. You will need those tasty treats to associate the clicker with a positive reward. After you click the clicker, offer the treat as a reward. The cat will quickly associate the sound of the clicker with something positive, and you can reduce the number of treats you give over time. Always give treats on occasion so the cat continues to respond to the clicker sound.
MAKE TRAINING SESSIONS FUN AND INTERACTIVE
Training sessions should be fun for both of you. Remember, your cat’s attention span is pretty short. If your cat isn’t interested or wants to run off, let them. Don’t force a training session if your cat isn’t interested, because both of you will end up frustrated. Keep training positive, relaxed, and at their pace. If it’s not fun and rewarding, they won’t want to participate.
IMPLEMENT TIMEOUTS WHEN PLAY GETS TOO ROUGH
Feline’s sometimes get carried away during playtime — meaning you may end up with some nasty scratches or “love bites” on your arms. When they start tearing into your hands and arms, gently extract yourself and stop the playtime by leaving the area. Rough play includes any scratching or nipping behavior. Even if the behavior isn’t causing pain, when you continue playtime after scratching and nipping begins, it reinforces that this is good behavior — which can create painful behavior problems later. Not only does walking away protect your limbs, but it will teach your cat that rough play equals no play.
REDIRECT BAD OR UNDESIRABLE BEHAVIOR
Another way to stop unwanted behavior is by redirecting the unwanted behavior into desired behavior. If your feline wants to attack your feet, throw a favorite toy off for them to chase (and play with them frequently). If they want to scratch your bed, sofa, or favorite lounge chair, have many scratch pads nearby to offer them when they’re in a scratching mood.
USEFUL CAT TRAINING TECHNIQUES
When you bring home a new cat, you may notice some behaviors you want to discourage. Scratching furniture, breaking items in your home, scratching or biting you, pooping or peeing outside the litter box, and improper aggression around food are all common problems in cats that proper training can help eliminate. Correcting this behavior right away is important as you look to make your cat a pleasant addition to your home, not a nuisance.