Training your cat is possible! – Part 5

While most cat owners agree that their feline friends have trained their humans to obey the cat’s every command, most have never considered training their cat. However, cat training is possible, and in fact, is a great way both to eliminate pesky behaviors and bond with your pet

The key to cat training is patience. While dogs are tuned to pleasing their humans, cats seem more fickle. Don’t expect your cat to master skills or stop unwanted behavior overnight. The cats age and personality are also factors. Younger and more social cats are easier to train.

The first step in training your cat is identifying the behaviour you wish your cat to master or problem behavior that the cat must stop. Then take some time to observe your cat. If you want your cat to stop biting, when does he bite? If you want to teach your cat to jump through a hoop, does he already jump from chair to chair in play?

Next, it is important to isolate the behavior and decide on a teaching method. For example, if your cat is biting in play, then, every time the cat bites, stop playing immediately. Soon, the cat will learn that if he bites, play time is over. Never, however, hit your cat as punishment. The goal is to teach your cat to associate biting with no more playing, not to hurt or punish your cat. Time outs, or removing your cat to a kennel for a short time period, is also an effective way to stop behavior such as scratching or biting. The key, however, is consistency. Every time you catch the cat in the unwanted behaviour, the reaction must be the same.

If you wish to teach your cat a trick like jumping through a hoop, the best method is positive reinforcement. All training is really structured play and bonding. The more you and the cat have fun, the more successful you will be. For the first few days of training, begin by encouraging the similar, natural behavior that you observed. If you want you cat to jump through a hoop, praise him lavishly every time you see him jumping between two chairs. Treats also work. Once the cat begins to jump on command, add the hoop. Starting with a natural behaviour, lavish praise, patience and taking the training step by step will lead to positive results.

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