Cat discipline – Part 7

Cats are terrific pets but when allowed to have their run of the house, can also be very distructive and thereby expensive pets. It’s not too hard to train them away from bad behavior if you know a few little tricks to it.

To keep them off of tables and counters, try peppermint extract. This is the same kind you’d use for cooking and baking and therefore you know it’s perfectly non-toxic. Just dab some on to moisten a cloth or paper towel and then rub it directly on the edges of whatever you want to keep them off. Most cats hate the smell of peppermint and find it quite strong. It will deter them from jumping up on whatever and eventually they’ll get used to not going up there.

If you don’t want them ripping up your furniture, carpet and curtains, provide them with an alternative. Get them a scratching post or cat tree. Periodically sprinkle some catnip on it to entice them to go to that and not the couch or whatever. After enough time has passed, they’ll automatically want to scratch where they’re supposed to.

With adult cats, if you introduce a new one into a home that’s already got one, they may not get along very well with each other. Sometimes time will heal this but if it doesn’t seem to be, or if you just want to speed the process up some, try rubbing a little bit of cod liver oil on each of them. Then put them in a room together. Often, you’ll come back a few minutes later to find them purring away and cleaning each other. I know this sounds a little odd but I’ve seen it work.

And now for the heavy artillery. The cure-all of cat training. An ordinary squirt bottle filled with water. I had a particularly mischievous and stubborn cat. Peppermint didn’t seem to bother him enough to keep him off the counter and catnip wouldn’t keep him scratching on his post. Someone told me to try the squirt bottle of water and it worked like a charm. When he does something he’s not supposed to, I’d grab the bottle and fire off a couple shots at him. The way he’d take off, you’d think it was a gun I was shooting at him. After awhile, I’d just reach for the bottle, which I always kept nearby, and he’d be gone. A little longer and it wasn’t needed anymore. They definitely do learn.

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