Teaching a cat

Training Your Cat: How to Change Your Cat's Behavior

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
Training Your Cat: How to Change Your Cat's Behavior

Would you like to teach your cat some basic behavioral rules? We have all seen Meet The Parents, a film where the cat Mr Jinx is trained to use the toilet - so is it possible to really train a cat?

Although it's not as straightforward as training a dog, it's possible to teach your cat some basic rules which will also improve the bond you have. In this OneHowTo article, we'll teach you how to train your cat so that they don't scratch furniture or meow during the night when you're trying to get some sleep. So read on to find out how to train your cat with some simple and straightforward steps.

You may also be interested in: How To Train Your Cat To Use The Toilet

Steps to follow:


One common problem of owning a cat is that they are often hard to find. These animals hide in the most obscure of places (in boxes, bags, curtains, etc.) and find them can be daunting. So a good place to start educating your cat is to get him used to you calling its name so that it responds in the same way that dogs do to their owners.

Put this in practice from when your cat is very young by pronouncing its name often and in the same tone. Also use the same tone when you stroke it, play with it, etc. Repeat its name whenever you're around it. If you are consistent, your cat will eventually respond to its name when you call it and will come back home.

But, as is the case when training any animal, this can be a challenge at the beginning. To encourage your cat to respond, tap its feeding bowl as you call and reward it with food. When your cat comes home, remember to repeat its name again whilst stroking him so that it fully understands.

Read this article on how to make a cat learn its name for more information.

Training Your Cat: How to Change Your Cat's Behavior - Step 1

Cats have an instinct to scratch their nails on inappropriate surfaces in the home such as the sofa, curtains, other furniture, etc. Therefore, a good way of teaching your cat not to scratch is to buy a scratcher for it to file its claws. So, before you start training your cat, make sure you have one of these in your home.

Once you have the scratcher at home, make a point of showing it to your cat and placing it in an accessible area for your cat to access at will. To draw its attention to it by coaxing your cat with treats such as its favorite cat biscuits. Over time, your cat will associate the scratcher with positive rewards and will take more of an interest in using it.

If your cat continues to scratch furniture, say a firm "No" every time you catch it doing it and carry your cat towards the scratcher so that he eventually learns to scratch it. Take a look at this OneHowTo article on how to teach your cat not to scratch furniture.

Training Your Cat: How to Change Your Cat's Behavior - Step 2

Although cats are typically hygienic animals, when they're young, it's sometimes hard for them to know where to do their business. Teaching a cat to use a litter tray is vital to stop it from messing the house and is surprisingly simple. We recommend using sand with a scent that's appealing to cats in order to entice your cat to use it as appropriate.

At first, you'll need to encourage your cat to use the litter tray and accompany it. You'll notice how it starts sniffing around and and showing more interest. Try placing the box where it normally relieves itself so that it learns to use it appropriately. Above all, when you see that they have managed to use the litter box appropriately, reward it with food and by stroking it affectionately so it understands it has behaved well.

If your cat keeps doing its business in the same area in the house time after time, there are certain methods of discouraging it from using that spot. Placing some ground pepper or citrus fruits can help to discourage a cat from using a particular area. For more techniques read our article on natural cat deterrents.

Training Your Cat: How to Change Your Cat's Behavior - Step 3

Implement all these tips to strengthen the bond you have with your cat. You might want to teach your cat some other important behavior traits, so here are some basic principles of training a cat:

  • Always reward our cat: Present your cat with a treat or shower it with affection to show your approval. Positive rewards are essential for training your cat to behave properly.
  • Use a clicker: These devices can be found in a pet shop and make a certain noise to grab your cat's attention. It will gradually get used to this clicking noise and start responding to it whenever you use it.
  • No distractions: When training your cat, pay it your full attention - turn off the TV and put your phone on silent. This is the only way it can learn to understand your intentions.
  • 10 minutes a day: This is the ideal time you should spend on training your cat. Don't spend longer than this because your cat will lose interest. Be consistent and have a clear objective. Repeat these techniques over and over again so that it gradually understands exactly how it should behave.
Training Your Cat: How to Change Your Cat's Behavior - Step 4

If you want to read similar articles to Training Your Cat: How to Change Your Cat's Behavior, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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Training Your Cat: How to Change Your Cat's Behavior