How to train Cats?

Despite what some people say, you can train a cat. They’re not likely to jump through hoops, roll over or shake your hand. But there are ways to  train cats to change their habits and to make life just a little easier for you, especially if you start when they’re kittens.

Cats are highly intelligent animals and can be very responsive to training if they have the right incentives, according to Web MD. It’s important to remember that cats are not social animals like dogs. This means that they’re less likely to do what you ask them just for your praise and will usually want to know what’s in it for them.

What is the best method to train a cat?

Firstly, never punish a cat for being bad. Shouting, hitting or being aggressive to them in any way will hardly ever make them do what you want them to do. In fact, they will have a lot of trouble trying to connect the punishment to their mistake. Most of the time, they’ll think you’re being aggressive with them for no reason. According to the RSPCA, treating your cat negatively can cause trust issues, fear and bonding problems.

Instead, treat them when they’re good. Choose a cat treat that you know they love and give it to them only when they’re doing the right thing. You can also use a clicker – a small device with a metal strip that makes a ticking sound when pressed. By pressing it when you give them a treat, they’ll learn to associate the sound with praise, which will help you further reinforce good behaviour.

Here are some ways you can use this to train your cat to be a nicer housemate:

  • Using a litter box.

This one’s important for very obvious reasons. Unlike training a puppy to go outside, kittens take to relieving themselves in a litter box surprisingly quickly. In fact some don’t even need to be trained much at all. This is because cats are naturally clean animals, and prefer to go to the toilet in a place where they can bury their waste, making a litter box an ideal place for them to do the deed.

Here are some ways to make the training process a little bit quicker:

  • Keep the litter box in a permanent and private location where you think you kitten will feel comfortable going. It is important to ensure that this is far from their food, water and where they sleep.
  • Introduce your kitten to the litter box by placing them inside and letting them get comfortable with their surroundings, even if they don’t got to the toilet straight away.
  • Keep giving them positive reinforcement until they’re fully comfortable using the box and haven’t made a mistake for a long time.
  1. Not clawing at your furniture.

Cats can also be trained not to claw away at your things. Redirect the object of their scratchy instincts to something that they’d want to sink their claws into even more, like a scratching post. Then, when they do scratch the post, reward them until they stop clawing at your furniture altogether.

  1. Coming when called.

It’s likely that your cat already comes to the kitchen when they hear the sound of their treat bag or food being poured into their bowl. By saying their name every time you give them a treat, you can build on this already strong connection. They’ll start to associate their name with the treat and come when you call them.

To start, try giving your cat a treat and calling their name when they’re right next to you. When they seem to respond, call from different ends of the room and even different parts of your house until they come every time you call them.

Also, make sure you use the same command every time you call them. You might like to just use their name, for example: “Fluffy!” or the command “Come here Fluffy!” but whatever you choose, keep it consistent to maximise mental association.