Can Cats Be Trained?

It is commonly believed that cats cannot be trained. The independent reputation of cats makes some people love them all the more; others prefer dogs for the same reason. The fact is, as independent as cats are, they can in fact be trained to a greater extent than many pet owners realize. If your cat exhibits problem behavior, this should be a relief to you.

When cats cause owners a problem, such as regarding the litter box, destroying property or aggression, people too often think they have to either give up the cat or just tolerate the uncomfortable situation. For the vast majority of cats, this is happily not true. With a little effort, you should be able to train your cat into being a much better pet.

One unpleasant, not to mention unsanitary, cat behavior problem involves the litter box. Since cats are very clean animals, they are easily trained to use the litter box. If a litter trained cat suddenly stops using the box, something is definitely wrong. This is sometimes a medical issue, so the first step is to bring the cat to the veterinarian for a check-up.

If the cat has been medically cleared, make sure that the litter box is kept clean. Also, the litter box should be kept in a quiet area, and not right next to the cat’s food and water. In this respect, cats are like people; they like a separate “bathroom” that has a certain amount of privacy. The box should also be the right size; big enough to accommodate the cat comfortably, but not too big.

Do you have an aggressive cat that claws at you or bites? This can be a nuisance, as well as painful. Fortunately, in most cases cats can be trained out of such behavior. Once again, if this is new behavior on your cat’s part, have it checked out medically. If this is a long-term problem, you may have a cat who is not well socialized, or even feral. For such cases, you can usually tame the cat, but it takes some extra time and patience.

Watch your cats movements and body language when it is aggressive. Learn when it is “safe” to touch him/her (until your training efforts have paid off, when it should be safe most of the time). You should also make sure your cat gets enough exercise. Make time to play with your cat, every day if possible. This both gives the cat exercise and is a bonding ritual. If your cat is not spayed, you should have it done; this will make the cat calmer and less aggressive.

These are some rudimentary tips in addressing cat behavior problems. You may need to further your education in this area if you have a more long-standing problem with your cat. The main thing to remember is that a healthy cat can almost always be made into an exemplary pet!

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