Cat Training, you know that cats don’t understand English or read books. So before you train them, you should look at how they learn. They will learn by experience.
If their learning experience is pleasant, playful, and rewarding, they will love to repeat it. But if their experience is unpleasant, they will never try it in the future. So be careful that their experience should be pleasant and rewarding. Following are some points that will help you to train your cat:
Cat Training: Training a Kitten
For many people, one of the great attractions of cats is their independent nature. However, it must be appreciated that this means that it is less easy to train a cat than a dog. A dog usually wishes to please its owners and to earn their praise, whereas a cat’s main concern is itself.
Fortunately, a cat needs less training than a dog and is usually far more unobtrusive. All that is generally required is some firm and consistent handling from the start, and it is mostly a matter of good common sense. In some cases, an owner may need to be firm for quite a time as a cat may try to assert itself and fail to realize who is supposed to be in charge.
Cats soon learn to respond to the inflections of their owner’s voice, and a cross tone can be an effective deterrent, although it is a mistake to shout as this may simply frighten a kitten. Also, they intensely dislike loud, sharp noises, so clapping the hands or striking the top of a table with a rolled-up newspaper highly effective.
Simple command words like ‘no,’ ‘get down ‘bad,’ ‘out,’ etc., should be used as a part of cat training. Then it is a matter of consistently checking bad and undesirable behavior a soon as, and each time, it appears so that the kitten gradually learns what is acceptable.
For instance, if it uses its claws or teeth when being played with, the owner should say ‘No’ sharply and perhaps tap the kitten’s nose or paw with a finger. The kitten must be told to ‘Get down’ each time it climbs on a chair, if this is not acceptable to its owners, and lifted down onto the floor.
One of the most annoying and destructive habits that cats can have is to sharpen their claws on the furniture. Claw-sharpening is part of the repertoire of normal behavior, its purpose in the wild being to ensure that the claws are in good order for climbing and fighting if the occasion arises. It is the front ones that are sharpened, and the cat does this by standing or sitting on its hind legs and raking its extended claws down a suitable surface.
Claw-sharpening also helps to mark the cat’s territory and helps to impress and repel possible rivals.
It is necessary to be firm and possibly even tap the kitten with a rolled-up newspaper to correct this behavior when applied to the furniture. Alternatively, the kitten should be sternly told off, or a sudden noise made at the moment it starts to behave in this way.
The kitten should be provided with a scratching post on which it is allowed to use its claws. This can be purchased from a pet shop, or one can be made at home. It consists of a firmly anchored upright post, usually set in a broad, square or rectangular base, and covered with some suitable material, such as carpet, rope, sacking, or canvas.
Alternatively, a log, branch, or fence post nailed to a suitable base can be provided if the cat’s owners do not object to having this in the house. Each time the kitten makes any attempt to claw the furniture, it should be firmly rebuked and then removed to the post and its front paws placed on this to learn to use it instead.
It is also a good idea to play games with the kitten, getting it to chase a piece of paper tied to a string around the scratching post. In this way, it will dig, claws to post and be encouraged to use that rather than the furniture for this natural aspect of feline behavior.
Cat Toilet Training
In general, cats are clean and fastidious animals, and their normal behavior is to pass urine and feces in loose soil that is first dug and scratched out to make a hollow.
Once the cat has finished, it uses its paws to cover its traces and scratches with more soil over the toilet area. In the first three weeks of life, kittens are relatively helpless and more or less confined to their bed or box.
The mother cat licks them frequently and swallows the waste materials that her offspring pass. The kittens are stimulated to eliminate urine and feces by their mother’s licking of the genital and anal openings.
At the age of about three weeks, the kittens are moving around more and starting to explore the area outside the bed. This coincides with the time when the mother ceases to clean up the motions that the kittens pass, and she may lift them onto the litter tray. In any event, the kittens are ‘programmed’ to use a suitable substrate to relieve themselves and often choose to use a litter tray quite naturally.
Successful Experience for Kitten Training
The most successful way to proceed is to keep the kitten in one room (usually the kitchen) until it has learned to use the litter tray. The tray should be placed in a quiet, secluded corner at a suitable distance from the bed. It may be a good idea to place the tray on a few sheets of newspaper or in a shallow cardboard box as the kitten may scratch and scatter the contents.
The kitten should be placed on the litter tray at frequent intervals, particularly on awakening from a night of sleep and immediately following a meal. (When the kitten begins to eat, and food descends into its stomach, there is an automatic passage of digested material along the bowel caused by the operation of the ‘gastrocolic reflex.’) Most young mammals have little control over their bladder and bowels but rapidly acquire this as they develop.
Accidents are inevitable with very young kittens, but many will be well on the way to becoming trained by the time they are taken to a new home. The move to a new home is, of course, unsettling for a new kitten, and owners should be patient over the mistakes that occur.
If the kitten is seen to be urinating or defecating in the wrong place, it should be told off sharply and immediately taken to the litter tray. The mess must be cleaned up thoroughly, and disinfected-if any odor remains, the kitten may use the same spot again. The litter must be changed frequently, and indeed before it becomes soiled and smelly as cats are fastidious and may refuse to use a tray.
Ideally, soiled cat litter should always be burnt, and it may help to choose a readily combustible type. It should not be placed on the compost heap because the eggs of some internal parasites may be present, which are very resistant to decay and could potentially be ingested by people, particularly children. Rubber gloves should be worn when changing the Utter, and the tray should be washed and disinfected.
Occasionally, a kitten or cat is reluctant to use a tray because it dislikes the smell of a litter that has been treated with a chemical deodorizer. It is worthwhile changing the type of waste used to see if this encourages the kitten to use the tray. Also, proprietary preparations can be sprinkled on to the litter, which attracts the kitten to use the tray.
If the eventual aim is for the kitten to relieve itself out of doors, it may help to sprinkle some garden soil onto the litter from the start. The ground can itself be used as litter, although there may be a problem with disposal.
Cats Reaction With Litter Tray
Some cats quite naturally make the transition from using a litter tray to performing out of doors. Others are reluctant to use anything except a tray once they have been trained to do so. If this is the case, it may help to move the litter tray gradually towards the door, just a few inches each day, until it is eventually placed outside.
This is best accomplished in warm, dry weather when the door can be left open. Once the kitten is using the tray outside, a little-used litter can be tipped onto an appropriate place in the garden.
It should be appreciated that there is nothing more annoying for someone who is a keen gardener than to have a cat digging in the soil and disturbing plants or bulbs. While the owners may not mind too much about their garden, neighbors may object, and there is no guarantee that a cat will stay on its patch.
So, depending upon individual circumstances, it may be advisable to encourage a kitten just to use the litter tray. It is best to provide a tray for use at night and in bad weather as cats are great lovers of comfort and may prefer not to go out when it is cold and wet.
Cat Training: Learning Its Name
A cat is not so likely to respond and come when its name is called like a dog unless this suits its purpose at the time. The name chosen for a kitten when it arrives at its new home should be spoken frequently from the start, especially while the owners are playing with it and encouraging it to come to them.
The kitten can be rewarded by being praised and petted and given a tasty titbit of food if it comes when its name is called during play. The same approach can subsequently be used once the kitten is allowed outside.
The owner should stand at the door and call the kitten to come in from the garden, rewarding it when it does so.
The best that can be hoped for is to encourage the kitten to come in this way, and the system works well if the animal is not overfed and enjoys the reward that is offered.
By the time the kitten has grown to adulthood, it will probably have started to evolve a routine of its own. It will undoubtedly know its meal times and will appear regularly for these, and will often show entirely predictable behavior so that its owners have a good idea where it is at any particular time.
Cat Training: Cat Walking on a Lead
A cat can learn to walk on a lead if training is started while it is still a kitten. Some breeds are particularly successful in training in this respect, notably Siamese cats. It is safer to use a harness and lead rather than a collar, and a suitable one can be purchased from a pet shop, and a cat lead.
First Stage of Cat Walking on a Lead
The kitten should be allowed to get used to the feeling of wearing the harness (which must have adjustable straps to allow for growth) in the house. The lead may then be clipped on, and the kitten allowed to pull it around and play with it while being closely supervised.
The Next Stage of Cat Walking on a Lead
It is for a person to pick up the end of the lead but follow the kitten wherever it wants to go rather than attempt to direct movement. Once the kitten has got used to this, an attempt can be made to persuade it to walk with the person holding the lead. It should be coaxed to walk by the person’s side-never dragged or pulled along but praised and regarded with a titbit when it gets things right.
The kitten can be taught not to run ahead by giving a sharp tug on the lead, accompanied by a firm ‘No’; it should eventually learn to remain beside the person.
Cat Training in the Garden
Once these skills have been mastered inside the house, they can be put into practice in the garden. Initially, the kitten may need plenty of reassurance once in the park. It should be picked up and carried if it appears frightened and only put down for a moment or two at first.
Walks can become more ambitious as the kitten matures and gains confidence. If a cat can be taught to walk on a lead, it can be exercised outside, even if normally kept indoors, because of the dangers presented by road traffic.
Cat Training: Using a Cat Flap or Cat Door
A cat door or flap is a useful device that allows cat freedom to come and go more or less as it pleases. It consists of a small opening, about 15 centimeters square, set low down in an external door of the house, usually a back one that opens into the garden.
The opening is guarded by some sort of hinged flap, which is pushed by the cat using its head and drops back into position once the animal has passed through.
How the flap is open varies?
It depends upon the type of cat door. The simplest type is hinged at the top and can be pushed from both sides. Another kind can be pushed open only from the inside, and to re-enter, the cat has to learn how to raise the flap with a paw. An even more sophisticated type is usually locked, but the flap is released by a magnetized device attached to the cat’s collar.
The Relation Between The Flap & Type of Cats
Some cats readily learn to use a cat flap, while others need a little more persuasion. The best age to introduce the kitten to this is when it has gained confidence and is sure of its surroundings, i.e., at about three months old.
At first, the flap can be fixed open permanently, and a game played in which the cat is persuaded to chase a toy through the hole. Or it can be coaxed through by its owner holding a favorite titbit on the other side of the opening.
Once the cat is passing in and out quite happily, the flap can be gradually lowered until it has to push to create a large enough space through which to pass. As long as it is not frightened and no force is used, the cat can be shown how to push the flap with its head.
Cat Flap Problems
There were design problems with some of the earlier types of the cat flap, which were inclined to rattle and to let in draughts and rain in windy, wet weather. Many of these problems have now been removed, although it is advantageous if a cat flap can be fitted on a door in a reasonably sheltered position.
One other disadvantage is that stray or neighboring cats have been known to use cat doors and to enter a house uninvited. The most sophisticated type, activated by a device on the resident cat’s collar, usually solves this problem.
Training an Adult Cat
An adult cat comes to its new home with a set of established and ingrained behavior patterns. If the cat has previously been in a good place, it will be well behaved and settle in happily into the household routine. If it has not been so fortunate, however, it may have some bad habits, such as not being toilet-trained, scratching at furniture, jumping on worktops, etc.
How should Training adult cats be?
Training should be much the same as for a kitten, using a mild form of ‘shock treatment’ or aversion therapy when undesirable behavior is witnessed.
These tactics include making a sudden loud noise or even squirting the cat with cold water from a water pistol, which is particularly effective if the animal does not see where this is coming from. Although this may sound unkind, usually only one or two ‘shocks’ are necessary for the behavior to cease.
Naturally, there is a fine balance between frightening a new pet and merely deterring it from behaving antisocially. It is essential to give the cat plenty of reassurance and attention and to make sure that it has its places and spaces in the home where it is allowed to go and to praise it when it behaves correctly.
Sometimes, even with patience and perseverance, retraining a cat is not successful. If this proves to be the case, it may be necessary to prevent the cat from having unsupervised access to the home and confine it to one small room that is easily monitored.