How to Train a Cat - Basic Domesticating Tricks
Would you like your cat to understand some basic concepts of living together? You can easily teach your cat to come when you call, to do their business in their litter tray and not to scratch, are some rules that can teach your feline friend with a little patience and some specific tips. Although it is more complicated than with dogs, cats can also learn concepts and associate some commands or calls, so in this OneHowTo article we show you how to train a cat so you know how to achieve this.
Before we get into the specifics to train your cat, we are going to give you some general tips that you can put into practice for anything that you want to train your pet to do.
- Postive reinforcement when your cat has done something correctly. In the early stages of training it is important to always reinforce good behaviour but as they get older, you don't have reward them every single time. Give them their favourite food or a cat treat as a reward.
- Make it easier by using a particular sound, e.g. a bell or clicker are good to use since the animal will associate that sound with a reward and, therefore, will do what you have taught them.
- Before giving them any commands, it is important to say the name of your cat. For them to recognise their name, you also have to say it whenever you pet them, hold them and play with them. They need to clear that this is their name so look directly at them when you say it. Consult our article how to teach a cat its name for more information.
- When you want to train your cat, remove any other distractions such as television, music, and so on. Spend that time concentrating just on them and, this way they will know 100% that you are talking to them. Otherwise, they won't recognise that you are giving them your full attention and the training session will not be as effective.
- Be consistent. Always use the same method to train your pet: the same orders, rewards and sounds. This way, they will understand much better what you are teaching them and will learn faster (for example, if you use the word "no" then keep using it, if you use a clicker then don't use a bell or anything else.).
- You have to be patient when training a cat but don't harass them. It is best to spend 10-15 minutes a day training them. Don't go over this time because the animal will eventually get tired and leave or get annoyed.
Cats are animals that tend to hide in the remotest corners of the house, that is why it is good to train a cat to come when you call. For this, you have to use their name and get them used to it. You have to keep repeating every time you have the chance: when you play with them, when you pet them, and so on.
Then they will recognize their name when you call them and come to you. If they don't, you can make them come by using the rustling noise of their food packet while saying their name. When they appear by the door, give them a reward and say their name again to remind them.
Training a cat to use their litter tray to do its business is not as hard as it seems. To get them used to it you can accompany them to their litter tray a couple of times a day, and if they do their business there, reward them. If you see that they aren't really getting used to it and always do their business in a particular place in the house, put their litter tray there in this place that they associate with their hygiene.
If they have a habit of peeing in an area of the house where you don't want to put their litter tray, for example in the middle of a room, you can discourage them by putting pieces of aluminium foil on the floor as cats don't like to touch this. Remember that if you put their food near their litter box, your cat probably won't want to use it because it is too close. Put it further away or put it in another room.
However, you can also train a cat to use a toilet too!
Teaching them not to eat plants. If you have a cat, I'm sure that sometimes the plants in your home have bite or scratch marks. This is because cats use them to vomit but you must be careful because some of these plants are poisonous to cats. To train them, you have to give them the "no" command very early. You have to say it clearly and firmly for the animal to understand it. If they still do it anyway, you can spray them with water on their body to make them understand that they should not go near the plants. Learn how to treat a poisoned cat in case your cat does become poisoned.
Furniture is another hobby for cats and people with these pets tend to have scratched furniture with marks on the legs. But you can train a cat not to scratch the furniture by buying an indoor scratching post. Remember that their animal instincts make them scratch their claws on tree trunks so, it is best to buy a sturdy scratching post and which feels like tree bark for your cat. Consult our article on how to teach your cat to use the scratching post to make sure that he or she takes to it.
To train them not to scratch the furniture you need to put the scratching post in a place that is they can see and reach. At first you can attract your cat to this post with treats, toys or by petting them so that they associate this post as something pleasant and enjoyable. You can also spray the area with a pheromone spray (you can get it from a pet shop).
Cats also tend to lie on your bed at night instead of the bed you bought especially for them. To train your cat to sleep in their bed, you have to ban them from sleeping in yours. So when you go to bed, close the door to keep them out and to stop them from doing their business in your room. They might meow for a while but don't give in to them or they won't learn to sleep in theirs. So that they understand where to sleep, accompany your cat every night to their bed and then go to yours closing the bedroom door, so that they will understand.
The cat bed should be in a specific, set place. Don't move it because then they will not associate as a place of rest but rather as a toy. To make this place as peaceful as possible you can spray it with pheromones and pamper your cat before you go to bed, so it will relax and go to sleep.
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