Most people never consider training a cat because they assume they’ll be independent and aloof. But this certainly isn’t the case! Training your cat will help them be more social, less anxious and overall more content. Cat training is teaching your cat to associate a desirable behavior with a reward. By doing so, you can encourage them to stop bad behavior and start desired behavior so you can both live a happier, healthier life. The benefits of cat training are vast. “Training provides mental and physical stimulation as well as positive social contact. Just the act of training in and of itself is incredibly valuable for frustrated, bored, shy, and fearful cats.”
Remember that patience and positive reinforcement are essential if you’re learning how to train a cat. Commonly used as training tools for a wide variety of animals, a clicker will set you back just a couple bucks and help you give positive reinforcement when you’re learning how to train a cat. Most cat training involves offering your cat a treat it likes following a click to mark the desired behavior. These tactics also work when it comes to giving your cat a pill. Without the clicker, your cat may be confused about why it’s being rewarded: If it obeys a command, hears the click, and then gets a treat, it’s more likely to catch on. Cat training, in a nutshell, is just assigning words to natural behaviors and rewarding your cat for cooperating.
Cats prefer to relieve themselves in a peaceful location without a lot of action or loud noises in the background. However, cats also do not like having a litter box that is too far out of the way.
Make sure your cat can physically access his litter box. Do not put the box on a high shelf or an otherwise difficult to reach area if your cat is old and has trouble jumping or climbing.
Avoid noisy or high-traffic areas. Do not place a litter box next to a washing machine, for example, or in a crowded hallway that gets a lot of foot traffic. Cats want peace and privacy, but they also want convenience.
Do not put your cat’s litter box in close proximity to its food and water dishes. This may discourage your cat from using the litter box.
Put out enough litter boxes so there are 1 more than the number of cats you have. For example, if you have 1 cat, you should have 2 litter boxes.
Negative reinforcement doesn’t work with cats. It may actually create a litter box avoidance problem in your cat.
If your cat eliminates his waste outside the litter box, it’s important to immediately wash that surface with an odor-neutralizing enzymatic cleaner. If your cat can smell his urine on the carpet, he might begin to associate that spot or that texture with going to the bathroom.
If your cat passes solid waste outside the litter box, pick it up (with a paper towel or gloves) and place it
in the litter box. This will give your cat scent-based cues to use the litter box next time.
Your cat’s attention span is shorter than yours; you can’t expect her to stay interested every time you’re ready to be the trainer. Cats often prefer to explore new toys on their own, which means your role should be to respect her space while remaining approachable during her exploration.
Try making unwanted elimination areas less desirable to your cat. If he has a part of the house that he tends to relieve himself in instead of using his litter box, leave tin foil or double-sided tape on the floor in that spot to discourage him from going there.
Rewards to reinforce good behavior are great motivators, especially during training. There are two types of rewards for your furry new friend to test out. First, know she will enjoy any positive praise you have to share. Speak in a kind, upbeat voice and remind her how proud you are. Say, “What a good girl” and “good job!” while petting or scratching her fur so she knows these gestures mean well.
Cats also respond well to treats. Reward her with small kibbles of cat food when she correctly masters the commands you’re working on.
Training doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes your cat will make a mistake. Learning how to train your cat can be a fun experience for your entire family. Just remember to be patient and positive, and you’ll both get there. It’s a great thing to have a kitten that comes to you when called but training your kitten to learn their name will take some time and effort so just be patient and positive.