There is a common misconception that cats are too difficult to train, or not trainable at all. But owners are often making the same mistakes, which makes it seem impossible. Cats are intelligent and can be perfectly behaved, given the right training. Avoid these mistakes to make your cat training successful and rewarding.
- Focusing on the bad
Using negative reinforcement is the biggest mistake people make when attempting to train their cat. When you shout at your cat for something they do wrong, they may not understand that you are unhappy, and see this as a way of getting a reaction from you. Instead of punishing for the wrong doings, celebrate your pet when they do something right. When they do something wrong, simply direct them to what they should be doing instead. Then reward them when they behave in the desired way.
- Overlooking wrong doings
A mistake that can be even worse than focusing on wrong doings is ignoring them all together. Kittens are not naturally aware of what is right and wrong. When they jump on top of a kitchen side, they don’t understand that they shouldn’t be up there. If you don’t show this, then they simply will not know. Rather than ignoring a problem, try to teach your cat by pointing to the issue, and giving them a correct alternative action. For example, use a word such as ‘down’ matched with the action of moving them to where they should be. Over time they will learn that when you use the word ‘down’, they should get down and move to that particular place.
- Not allowing energy outlets
A major problem people face when training their cats is failing to acknowledge cat’s instinctive behaviors. Cats need areas where they are allowed to act out these natural behaviors such as jumping, scratching and climbing. Allowing your cat a safe place to act these out will keep your pet happy and avoid it happening in the wrong place, such as jumping on a TV stand or scratching your sofa.
It is also important to keep cats entertained as they are naturally playful animals. So failing to provide your cat with its own specific toys to play with can turn them to household items. Providing cats with plenty of toys will keep them distracted, and your belongings safe.
- Allowing biting and scratching
Allowing your kitten to play rough may seem harmless to start with. But as kittens grow, so does their strength. Harmless scratches and bites can turn dangerous. Cats may harm other animals or humans if these bad habits remain as they grow. To avoid this, train your cat that it is not okay to scratch or bite.
- Training for too long
People often fail when they attempt to train their cat for long periods of time. Cats do not respond well to this as their attention is soon lost. It is better to train your cat often for short periods, through out the day to avoid overwhelming your cat.
If you are really struggling, visit your vet for advice and training help. Let us know in the comments, your cat training horror stories and tips.