Need-to-know Cat House Training Tips

Many of us, getting a cat for the first time, assume that cat house training will somehow happen by itself, with the minimal input or effort from ourselves. Perhaps we credit the cat with more intelligence than it possesses, but many will underestimate how much time and patience is required before the cat learns to follow the basic house rules. In these early days, the new owner should refrain from smacking or slapping or even shaking the cat.

You cannot beat a cat or kitten into obedience, so that they become the perfect home cat – you will only provoke hatred and fear, which will further reduce the chances of training her properly. Here’s a great and very effective tip – always keep a spray bottle of water at hand, and if she misbehaves badly, just gently spray her.

If you gain an understanding of how and why your cat does what she does, what cat instinct she is following, then you are heading for success in your cat house training. If you expect her to do something that goes against her nature, then you better be prepared to make it worth her while. If you want to make the most rapid progress, a modest investment in a decent cat manual or guide will be richly rewarded, and you will at a stroke begin to understand “cat think” and cat care in general, and also avoid the most common mistakes.

In practical terms, this most commonly means rewarding correct behavior either with a physical treat – a favorite food, biscuit, for example – or with words of praise and congratulation. She will quickly learn to associate particular actions with positive responses, and, conversely, if these rewards are withheld, she will know that she has transgressed in some way.

Cats are known for their short attention span, so your training sessions should be fairly brief, ideally around 10 minutes. And because their attention does tend to wander, make sure your sessions are held somewhere where there are as few distractions as possible. So make it indoors, with no view of the outdoor world, and no visitors, human or animal.

The essential training exercises that concern most new cat owners are to do with urination, scratching, jumping and biting.

Most cat owners face problems with their cat not using the litter box – obviously, a new kitten has to be taught toilet training cat style, but even mature well-behaved cats can suddenly “forget” to use the litter box, and, when this occurs, the wise owner will know to look for some change in the cat’s environment that will have triggered this behavior.

The second biggest concern is with cat scratching, a behavior that is an essential part of the animal’s nature. The provision of good scratching posts in strategic places will alleviate the problem, and spare your furniture and curtains. The surgical removal of the cat’s claws was until recently seen as an easy and permanent solution to the problem, but in a more humane age this is seen as quite a barbaric act to perform on a Cat, and one that upsets the whole balance mechanism of the cat, and is really traumatic.

A cat will not expend unnecessary energy, so if she jumps there is a reason for it. Most often, she will jump onto the window sill to view the outside world – if you want her not to jump on a particular sill, block off the view for the first 15 inches, perhaps with a piece of fabric. If there is no view, she will soon go elsewhere. Jumping onto counters or worktops or tables in the kitchen should be completely discouraged from the beginning – it might simply signal that she wants feeding.

Biting is unfortunately often encouraged in a kitchen – children in particular enjoy being bitten by young kitten teeth, and will often playfully provoke it until it bites. Cats have pretty sharp teeth, so you have to let your cat know that biting will not be tolerated. If the behavior persists, you might discourage it with a spray from your water bottle.

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