When it comes to training pets, the first thing that comes to mind is dogs. However with the right motivation, cats can also be trained in a range of tricks and behaviours. While they may not be as easy to train as a dog, finding the right thing to motivate them is the key to success.
Cats tend to do things in their own time, which is why it is imperative to be extremely motivated, patient, and offer a reward in the form of play time, treats or affection. Do not overload cats with different tricks or commands as they will become easily confused and will not understand what it is you want them to do.
For the majority of cat owners, training hasn’t crossed their mind even though they would like their feline friend to have a few tricks and know where to properly go to the toilet. Litter training should be a priority for all cat owners, making sure that they don’t start using your bedroom or clothes as their bathroom.
Training a cat to use the litter box usually isn’t too difficult if you start as early as possible. Cats are generally clean creatures and have a natural instinct to bury their waste, making it the easiest form of any feline training. The quickest way to train a cat to use a litter is by placing them in a confined room for a few hours with the litter box, plenty of food and water and leave them (checking every hour or so). If the go to the toilet outside of the litter box, pick up the waste and place it in the box – teaching them where to go. After a couple of days they will instinctively use the litter box.
If your cat’s behaviour is something that they shouldn’t be doing, it is quite possible that this bad behaviour can be trained away. Many behavioural characteristics can be understood as being an acceptable response from your four legged friend. For example – if they are clawing at your furniture, this is due to their natural instinct and you will have to slowly train them to use a more acceptable object such as a scratching post with positive reinforcement training.
Using aggression or negative based training will not help the cats learning at all and could possible lead it to doing that behaviour more. A cat doesn’t understand why you are yelling at it or smacking it when they are doing the wrong thing as they believe this is a totally acceptable behaviour.
In saying this, using a hissing noise or loud clap and then walking away when they are showing aggressive behaviour is a technique that can stop this aggressive behaviour. This will be enough to startle it and stop this behaviour, and if done every time they take it too far, the cat will eventually learn to be gentler.
Old cats can learn new tricks, it’s is ultimately up to you and your patience for training. They will respond best to rewards which will help the process move along easier, although it is a much longer task than training a dog. Even though it can take a long time for your cat to understand the training, this process will ultimately strengthen the bond between you and your feline friend.