Cat discipline

Cats are humorous creatures. They are little individuals with unique personalities who spend 23 hours sleeping and 1 hour a day amusing us. Where do I sign up for this job? While it is much more difficult to train cats, it can be done with consistency and time.

I trained my cat, Tigger, from a kitten, and he knows who the boss is: me. He believes he is second in command, however. I don’t really like him licking himself in front of me, so I say NO in a deep voice, and he will comply (at least for a while). One day he was sitting by the window and the inevitable tongue came out. My daughter said, “No!”, and he said, “Mrrrrreeeoooooommmmmrrrrwwww! ” in a very loud voice and went about his business after giving her a very dirty look. I am the only one who is allowed to tell him what to do! After all, he is higher in the pecking order than any of the other family members.

The technique I used to train my cat was first to start early, when he was young enough to be trained and still need a mom’. Then I used the low voiced, but firm “No” along with shaking a can that had pennies in it for noise. It took about a month or so before he began to listen to me and several months before I could use the voice alone. After he began responding to my voice, I was able to only use the can occasionally when he took a notion to test me. He knows to stop whatever he is doing when mom says, “No” in that special voice. Sometimes he gives me a look that lets me know he chooses’ to listen, but then he complies with my wishes. I am, in effect, his mother.

We moved about a year ago to a new home, and Tigger had to have a little bit of retraining in his new home. He seemed to forget’ his rules, but he picked it up quickly when I got out the can. Now it is very rare for me to have to use the can. All I have to do if he doesn’t respond fast enough to the voice, is to act as if I’m going for the can. Obedience is not long in coming after that.

Using this method I have been able to train my cat not to lick in front of me, not to get on counters or tables, not to go in my room (allergies) and not to get on the furniture in the family room. He knows that his sister’s’ bed is OK, but other places are not. Now, do I believe the little bugger doesn’t ever do things I’ve trained him not to when I’m not looking? Get real! He’s a cat, so he does try. The point is that he doesn’t do it often, and if caught, he knows before I even speak that he’s done something he shouldn’t have.

We also have a cat who never begs for food. He’s not even interested. He has dry cat food and water available any time he wants it, and he is NEVER given human food. So, it has never become an issue. We have to be careful not to put certain foods in the garbage can, but he hasn’t seemed to associate any random food he’s snatched from there with the food we eat. He will sit at my feet while he eats, but never jumps up or begs.

Yes, it’s hard to believe I have such a well-behaved cat, but I do. It takes lots of persistence and consistency, however. Cats can be trained if you are willing to do the work required to train them.

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