If you thought pet training was just for dogs, think again. While you (probably) can’t teach a cat to fetch a ball, cats can be trained to behave well in your apartment. Training your cat can be mutually beneficial to both you and your kitty, so it’s worth it to give it a try. However, it does take dedication and work to train a stubborn house cat. To help you get started, we’ve got three useful tips for training your cat. Put these tips to use, and you’ll be bragging about your well-trained cat in no time.
Reward Positives, Ignore Negatives
Whether it’s the kitchen table or a new piece of furniture you’d like to keep fur-free, it always seems like cats go wherever they don’t belong. There may be a reason behind this, though. When your cat makes herself comfortable in an off-limits spot, it’s likely that you scoop her up and remove her as soon as you catch sight of her. The problem is, you’re inadvertently rewarding her for her bad behavior. If you consistently pick up and show attention to your feline after she’s made herself comfortable in a “restricted” area, she’s going to keep going back because she associates her behavior with attention from you. The next time you find your cat in an unwanted place, try ignoring her (as hard as that may be). After some time, she may get bored with the area and move onto spaces where she knows she’ll get your attention.
Use Clickers and Treats
Just like with dogs, cats are motivated by food. That means the best way to train them is to use food as a reinforcement tool for positive behavior. Similarly, a “clicking” sound is pleasing to cats, so you can use the noise to praise their good behavior. Invest in a clicker or make the sound with your mouth to use this training method.
No Punishments Allowed
A common misconception is that a cat will learn not to do something if you punish them for bad behavior. This method may work on humans, but it’s useless for cats. Punishment will only scare your feline and create anxiety, which often leads to unwanted behavior (some of which may be worse than what you initially scolded your pet for). Focus on the positives, and don’t lose your temper with your pet.
Training any animal takes time and dedication. While cats may not be able to perform some of the tricks that dog can, they can still be taught to behave as you wish inside your apartment. It will take some time and effort, but the reward of a well-behaved cat is worth it.