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Basic Cat Training Tips


cat_training.jpgCats can be “trained” if you work with them and try to understand who and what they are. Successful training means everyone is happy with the outcome and what achieved it without being stressed. Evaluate why you are training your cat; should be for the same reasons you train your child, to protect them and enrich their life not just because it would be cool to see if they could be trained to do something.

It is important to communicate with your cat; recognize if they don’t want to do something and leave it be unless it is necessary for their healthy or well-being. Be sure that maintaining the bond between you and your pet is of utmost importance, you can’t do anything if they don’t trust you. Communication means knowing when to quit. If the cat wanders off or seems agitated, let him have his space. Start early, use rewards, and keep the environment safe. Cats have self interests, are famous for their curiosity, and love attention. they are also independent. successful training depends on using these things to encourage them to train. An important aspect of training a cat is the reward system over the punishment system. Always reward. Positive reinforcement will encourage your cat to always do what you have worked with them to do. It’s even a good idea to reward them just for being themselves. They’ll appreciate the random kindness and it will improve their confidence and security.

Keep in mind that not all misbehaviors are acting out but instead troubled. Urinating outside the litter box can be a sign of illness or worry. Attacking your pants as you walk by may be less a sign of aggression and more a request for playtime. Misbehavior almost always has an underlying cause, and as a pet owner it is your job to figure out what that cause is. Do not use fear, punishment or deprivation to train. You want to maintain trust and companionship not try to break the cat’s spirit and force them to do what you want.

If your cat is not spayed or neutered you want to get this done. It will eliminate a number of problems from aggression to spraying and make them happier and healthier

Getting Your Cat To Let You Sleep

Cats sleep a total of 16 hours in a day and are often awake when you are asleep. This leads to two problems this leads to: cats awake making noise and cats asleep stealing your pillow. Some owners happily sleep through the crazy stampede in the middle of the night, others don’t.

Try to establish a routine in which you and your cat enjoy an exciting and tiring round of play time. Reward your kitty with a snack and you both should settle well for at least a few good hours of sleep. Consider buying an automatic feeder that will feed in the early hours of the morning so early morning hungry’s can be taken care of without waking you. Invest in a windowsill perch so that your cat can watch out the window until they get tired and drift off for a second nap. Place toys around the house for your cat to find while you are sleeping. They’ll enjoy the thrill of the hunt and after working out some of their spare energy (without you) they’ll drop back down for a nap. Cats sleep much like babies, this means that while you’re sleeping through the night they are up every few hours and need stimulation.

Consider also finding a playmate. While at first the idea of two animals that will want all your attention is quite distressing, keep in mind that if you have two cats they will happily play with each other instead of you. Be sure you have enough in the way of toys, scratching posts and food/ water to keep them friendly, however. You don’t want to be woken up to stop a fight.

If you don’t want your cat to sleep on the bed with you, get some different cat bed options. Keep it clean. Cats do not like being in places that are dirty and even if they prefer their bed to your own, if their bed is dirty they’ll happily sleep on yours. Look into a variety of options. A cat tree with platforms to stretch out on at various heights is often a hit, as are different single beds in different locations.

Locking the cat outside your room with just a door won’t work. Cats are persistent. Instead, stack two baby gates on top of each other so your cat can’t jump over it. Make sure everything they need- food, water and litter box- are in with them. Be sure you also leave them some toys and give them a good play time both before bed and in the morning. You’ve locked them away from you, they will want your attention in return.

If you are fine with the cat sleeping on the bed but resent how much of the bed he takes, pick him up and set him by your feet. Give him some pets and loves so he settles back down and then head up back to sleep.

Off the Christmas Tree, Out of the House Plants!

Houseplants and the holiday season are filled with hazards for your house cat. Understand that your cat will have to investigate any new additions and it’s better to just let him do so. The novelty will likely work its way out of his system within a couple of days and then you’ll be free to decorate. Do NOT, however, let him chew on the needles or leaves. Some plants and pines are toxic, some more than others. Spray them with an anti-chew repellant. It is not harmful to plants or animals but will keep your cat away- most of the time. If they persist, use a consistent but negative reinforcement, such as a water bottle.
Remember! If you use a squirt bottle, squirt them on the backsides and do it while they are performing the bad behavior. If they are munching leaves, squirt them. And make sure they know that the bottle squirted them, not you. You don’t want your cat to resent you. And remember, if your cat is bored he is more likely to get in trouble.

Make sure the tree is steady just in case they get the urge to climb it. Consider providing an alternative tree. If your cat has their own cat tree that they can climb high up in they will be less inclined to hover in your Christmas tree.

Avoid tinsel, low-hanging ornaments, glass ornaments, and wire hangers. Tinsel just begs a cat to attack it. Keeping your ornaments off the bottom of the tree removes the temptation to knock ornaments off the tree and choosing plastic over glass ornaments removes the risk of breakage and injury.

Avoid the following common houseplants: Arrowhead fern; Avocado; Boston Ivy; Cactus;  Caladium; Christmas trees; Chrysanthemum; Creeping fig; Crocus; Daffodil; Dieffenbachia; Holly; Hydrangea; Ivy; Lilly; Marijuana; Mistletoe; Narcissus; Philodendron; Tomato leaves

Consider investing in healthy and non-toxic kitty grass. Though cats are obligatory carnivores, meaning they must eat meat, they sometimes enjoy eating grass and providing “cat grass” gives them a safe, non-toxic alternative to your houseplants.

If your cat eats, or you suspects has eaten, a poisonous plant call your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. If you can, bring a piece of the plant with you when you go in to the hospital.

Training Your Cat To Come When You Call

Training your cat to come when called can be a lifesaving trick for your kitty. If she escapes to the outside she’ll come when you call her in, unless she’s stuck. And it allows you to do a feline roll call before you leave to make sure everyone is accounted for. This is a fairly easy “trick” to teach but it requires consistency. Those who struggle most with it will likely have had some sort of abuse in the past or were not fully socialized, but even these will learn as they build trust in you and confidence in your relationship.

Start by choosing a food that you know your cat enjoys. Canned food or treats work very well. Consider making one meal a day a canned food meal if your cat really enjoys it. This will guarantee that your cat is indoors at the same time every day just for their cat food.

Next, develop a special call that your cat will know means it’s time to come in. “Here kitty kitty”, “Time for noms ________”, or “TREATS!” tend to work best as long as they aren’t phrases already in use around the house. Also, use a high-pitched voice as cats are naturally attuned to sounds at a higher pitch. Encourage everyone in the house to use the call when they want the cat to come. The goal is to get your cat to associate the voice command with the reward.

At least once a week work with your cat. Call your cat with your special phrase and then administer a treat. Be consistent. Every time you use the call you must give a treat otherwise all your hard work will be undone.

Toilet Training Your Cat

Though the idea of toilet training your cat has experienced a certain revolution since the “Meet the Parents” film franchise, it is not exactly a healthy decision for your cat. While it eliminates the necessity of a plastic litter box or the giant, earth-sized litter box, it removes one of the number one ways a cat owner can keep tabs on the health of their animal.

Cleaning out your litter box every single day is an easy and somewhat automatic way of checking to make sure your cat is healthy. By using a clumping litter you can see how often they are urinating, and with crystals it is easier to notice bloody or off color urine. The consistency and color of stools is also easier to check in a litter box.

Not to mention, but litter box training your cat is one of the simplest things in the world. Though it is a learned habit, it is one most kittens pick up from their mother and they require only a gentle reminder of where their litter box is before they will use it. Gently setting them in the pan and lightly scraping their feet in the dirt tells them that the litter pan is where you want them to do their business.

If a cat frequently urinates or poops outside the litter box, there may be other, underlying issues. Urinary tract infections or constipation can cause litter box aversion as the cat begins to associate the box with pain. Some cats simply don’t like the litter.

While toilet training your cat is relatively easy, it removes the ability for your cat to give in to their instinctive “dig and cover” tendency and this can cause stress which is associated with urinary tract disorders.

That said, toilet training is easy, if a long process. It involves gradually moving and shrinking the size of the litter box until it is gone all together and the toilet has taken its place. You will still have to flush after them. There are a number of good books and kits devoted to the subject if you wish to look into it.

Scratching, Scratching Posts, and Avoiding Declawing

There are three main reasons that cats will scratch: marking their territory, exercise, and just plain pleasure. A cat will always make the effort to scratch, so it is important that responsible pet owners take the time and make the effort to train their cat on what and where it is appropriate to scratch. There are six simple alternatives to declawing that pet owners should give a solid effort to trying before resorting to an irreversible and damaging procedure such as declawing or giving up their animal.

The first is to provide the cat with multiple scratching posts and encourage the cat to use them. The primary reason cats scratch is to mark their territory, so having a scratching post in a family area and one near their bed are two great ideas. Make the scratching post appealing by rubbing catnip on it, setting food near it and give your pet treats when they use it.

If you are in the market for new furniture, consider getting fabrics that are closely knit. Cats find this difficult to pierce with their claws and scratching your sofa becomes more trouble than the scratching post. When they try to scratch your furniture, employ strategy three. Shout, "NO!" and squirt the cat with a water bottle or squirt gun. This should send them darting away. Then call them to the scratching post, praise them when they come and give them a treat when they use it. This is training, you will need to do it faithfully over and over until your cat learns.

While you are training your cat to use the scratching post, cover the corners, tops and sides... Whatever your cat's favorite scratching area is, with a combination of aluminum foil, double sided tape, loosely knit fabric like burlap, or blown up balloons. All of these will discourage your cat from scratching when you aren't looking.

And lastly, to prevent your cat from scratching people, never play with your hands and arms. If your cat scratches you, shout OUCH!, and leave the room. There is no worse punishment for a cat than being ignored.

You should also be sure to regularly trim your cats nails. And if your cat continues to scratch, consider investing in acrylic nail caps. Most veterinarian offices will sell these and apply them for you.



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