How to Teach my Cat to not to Jump on the Sofa
Training your pet is important for both of you to live alongside each other harmoniously. In the case of felines however, this process can be laborious because, unlike dogs, cats have much more independent and less docile characteristics.
Knowing how to train a cat and set limits from kitten age is essential in order to avoid future headaches. If your cat loves to jump on the sofa and you do not want them to keep doing it, then it is time to pay attention. This OneHowTo.com article explains how to teach your cat to avoid jumping on the sofa with some basic training techniques.
What you should know about cats' behaviour
Cats have a very particular character, as they are much more wild and are difficult to domesticate compared to dogs. So, in many cases, this explains why when trying to get your animal to obey one of your orders, like not destroying toilet paper or not jumping onto the table, they end up doing it when you're not home. But why do they act like this?
It is important to understand that cats are animals that are used to hunting and feeding alone, without the need of a pack or herd. So, it is not in their nature to receive or follow orders in order to perform a certain task, except in the case of mothers and their offspring. This makes the task of disciplining them much more difficult than you think. However, it's not impossible provided that you offer your animal another option which can replace the space they like so much, in this case, your sofa.
By following some basic training steps and with some perseverance, you can change your cat's behaviour.
Only tell them off when you catch them in the act.
When understanding how to teach your cat not to jump on the sofa, you should always scold them when they are caught red-handed, i.e. with their paws on the sofa, never after the event. Like dogs, cats don't have the ability to associate any reprimands you give them with something they did 10 minutes ago or two hours ago.
In order for them to associate an objective with the act of not doing so, you only act when you see your animal in the place where you don't want them to be. So if you didn't catch them in time but you know they've been lying placidly on the sofa, you need to wait until you see them in the act of jumping up and then you can act.
Always use the same word and the same tone of voice.
You've finally found your animal on the sofa, but it's not enough to start screaming like crazy and scare them, in order for them to understand that they shouldn't lie in this area. You need to use basic training techniques, so the following are recommended:
- Choose a command discipline such as "NO", "Off", "Down" etc. Ideally, it needs to be a simple and short command that you can use for other discipline situations, so we recommend you choose "NO".
- It is very important that you always use the same tone of voice when you say the discipline word you've chosen. This will allow your animal to learn that word and when used with intonation, it means they have done something wrong.
- Approach your animal and gently but firmly take hold of their head, say the chosen command such as "NO", then lower their head slightly towards the floor. Then take your cat and carry them to the place where you want them to settle instead of the sofa.
Give them a comfortable alternative to your sofa.
You should not expect that such an intelligent animal like a cat will easily exchange your padded and luxurious sofa for a hard, cold and musty rug or for the floor. You should offer a much more attractive alternative to convince them there is a better place for them to settle.
We recommend that you offer them a comfortable surface on the floor near to the sofa for them to pass their time, which could be a bed or a good cushion made of a material similar to your sofa. By doing this, you'll be demonstrating to your cat that although the sofa is great, there is a comfortable place meant only for them. If you don't want to spend money, you can check out our article on how to make a pet bed which gives you some cheap and easy options.
Do not confuse your animal.
If you are trying to teach your cat to not jump on the sofa, don't allow them to jump up when you are there or don't pick them up and put them on your lap while you're using this area. This is a confusing message and your cat won't understand that they're only allowed to lie on there when you fancy. For this reason, you need to learn how to discipline them properly by staying firm.
Try to say no before each attempt.
Once your cat is clear that they shouldn't jump on the sofa during the learning process, they may challenge you by slowly trying to do it while you're there enjoying the area. For example, your animal may stretch out their leg and slowly place their paw on the sofa while watching you, somehow waiting for your reaction.
At this point, you should react in the same way as recommended above: firmly use the discipline command and wait for your animal to move away. If they don't, pick them up and take them to where you want them to be.
Be VERY consistent.
It's not easy to train a cat, so you need to be totally consistent and repeat the instructions every time you see your cat doing what they shouldn't. Be firm and don't confuse your animal.
With dedication and perseverance, you will achieve positive results.
You might also be interested in this OneHowTo article on how to stop my cat from jumping on the bed.
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