Now most people who have encountered cats will attest to the fact that most will come when called, even sit when asked, and if taught by their owners high-five for entertainment.
However, there is a common perception that cats and kittens cannot be trained or are untrainable for some reason. The fact is that most cats, even very independent ones, communicate well and can pick up new skills. With the right incentive, your kitten can learn anything.
In this article, we will discuss a few tips on how to train a kitten to be more obedient. If anything, it should eliminate the perception that cats are untrainable.
Tip no. 1 – Train like a dog
A reward system is effective in training a dog, and it works perfectly well with cats too. Once the cat knows that doing something will result in a treat, they will do it on command. With consistent training, a cat can learn to do anything from high-fives to rolling over just like a dog.
Believe us, your moggie can and will respond to commands if a treat is involved long enough. However, it may require a bit more time to train a cat to respond than with a dog.
Tip no. 2 – Click training
Clicker training is known to be an effective way to teach and train cats. A clicker is a plastic device that makes a clicking sound. You can use it to indicate to the animal that they have performed a behavior that you desire. An excellent example of this is clicking when calling your cat and if they come, rewarding them.
The cat, like a dog, learns to associate that clicking sound with getting a treat. Hunting for food comes instinctively to cats, so food motivates them. That is why an immediate reward should always follow the click. You would want to use extra special treats, like cooked chicken or fish.
Tip no. 3 – Expand on their natural abilities
When you teach a cat to sit or give you their paw, it is more like expanding their natural abilities.
Many cats will be happy to give their paw and sit on command with enough motivation.
However, you need to approach the training correctly. You do not want to push or punish a cat if they get it wrong or force them in any way.
The sessions should be short, at best five minutes.
Plus, finish the session with a positive note so that your pet continues to enjoy the activity and does not lose interest or get frustrated.
Tip no. 4 – Reinforce good behavior with encouragement
Positive reinforcement is essential for all of the above tips to be effective.
Positive reinforcement is the crux of any obedience training. It will give your cat or kitten a reason to behave the way you want them to.
Good positive reinforcement will encourage healthy and good behavior and discourage bad behavior. That is why we are against punishing a cat if they resort to bad behavior in rare instances.
Tip no. 5 – Start the training early
You will always want to start training your kitten as early as possible, which ensures that they grow up learning and understanding the boundaries of your home.
After all, nobody wants their cat to be digging through the trash or worse, tearing up the furniture or perhaps jumping on to the kitchen counter.
By starting kitten obedience training early on, you are teaching them good social skills, and that will, in turn, strengthen your bond with the cat.
Tip no. 6 – Associate bad behavior with something unpleasant
We are not going against what we said earlier when we say that you need to make the cat feel unpleasant.
Punishing the cat by hitting it is not the way you make them feel unpleasant. Instead, you will want to associate their bad behavior with something like perfume or citrus smell (they do not like these odors).
You can soak cotton balls in lemon juice and put them in places out of bounds to the cat. By doing this, they will be naturally repelled by the unpleasant smell.
Tip no. 7 – Be patient
Animals, including dogs and cats, learn at their own pace. Some cats may learn faster and sooner than others. However, if you try to rush a cat or pressure them, it will result in a rebellion, and that is something you never want to deal with within your home.
Keep the training sessions short, be patient, and in time they will learn.
You should avoid getting frustrated or irritated if your pet does not do what you want them to do even after trying multiple times.
Tip no. 8 – Using catnip to help with training
Many cat owners have found success with training their cat with catnip. It can be a highly effective reward for any kitten or even a grown-up cat.
It is far better than yelling, and it is also an excellent way to get a cat to go towards the scratching post or a toy you want them to spend time with.
Catnip is effective in training cats where to sleep and train their sleeping hours.
The only problem with catnip is that not all cats are attracted to it. So, if your cat is not interested in catnip, you will need to try something else like food as part of the reward system.
Tip no. 9 – Give your cat lots of space
If you see that the kitten or the cat loves to climb up the kitchen counter or get into areas where it shouldn’t, then scaring it isn’t going to work for long.
Scaring a cat will only teach it to fear you and not the activity it is doing. Instead, you will want to use a bench or a platform in an area adjacent to it, and then some treats or catnip on it so that they can jump on that platform and observe the scene from there. So, if the cat jumps on your counter again, move them to the bench.
Teaching your kitten good behavior requires patience and repetition. You need to be consistent and use positive reinforcement for the best results. The benefits of having a well-trained and obedient cat are well worth the effort. If you have just adopted a kitten or are planning to, then we recommend going through our tips to keep in mind when bringing a new kitten home.