When it comes to learning how to train a cat there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration as well as understanding things you should never do. Plus, understanding things that would help you substantially if you did do.
Mostly this article is going to focus on positive reinforcement, which has been proven time and time again to be effective and not damaging to the psyche of any living being, unlike other forms of discipline.
Your pet and cat is essentially in human terms the age of a young child, though the age can vary depending on breed and natural intelligence.
When training your cat it is a lot like teaching a young child to behave. It is good to remember that, and to not treat an animal any different or worse than you’d treat a young child.
How to train a cat without hurting them
The first thing on how to train your cat is that you should absolutely never hurt your cat. This means no smacks, hits, punches, no whacking them with newspapers, etc. Also, no flicking the nose as many do teach.
When you hurt a living being to get a message across anything else becomes less effective, which means you will have to hurt them again or harder to get the message across. The most effective form of discipline is a firm but light and non-harmful approach.
For example, if your cat is naughty there are numerous approaches you can take. The first approach is distraction. This is usually done through a startling noise such as a loud clap or an air horn to get their attention away from the bad behavior they are partaking in, something like the pet corrector could be an obvious choice for most people to use.
My cat hates the sound of an air freshner aerosol, thus this is much cheaper, but not effective on dogs.
Although your cat won’t like this sound, it will give them an incentive to not do it again. Also, remember that when your cat does leave the unruly activity, always give them a treat such as a tasty piece of fish to tell them how good they are.
Using tasty treats and verbal praises
When you see your cat partaking in good behavior, that is also a good time to give treats. It says “I will reward you for this good behavior”, so they will do it more often.
In this way, you can gradually shift their attention from the bad things and onto the good things.
Another way to show your cat that they are being good is to show affection such as petting and hugging, they will appreciate this and know they have done something right.
Verbally praising them is also another way. Tell them how good they are when they partake in a good behavior and tell them how much you love them, they will be likely to continue being good!
Learning the correct approach
Another thing is to respect your cat’s choices, they are a living beings too. For example, they may not like baths or they may constantly chase your feet… these behaviors are instinctual and can’t be completely prevented, though they can be toned down.
Also, if they ever leave any dead animals at your door, don’t scold or get excited as to them it’s a present, a gift for saying what a worthy owner you are!
If you take it the wrong way it could be damaging… or on the other hand they may think that they have done a great job, then will happily go collect you more!
My cat once brought in the home a dead bird he’d killed. I scratched my head wondering how I was going to handle this situation because if I’d have let him eat it in the house (his den) he’d do it again. I quickly picked up a tissue, grabbed the bird and joyfully put it in his den outside. Thankfully, he’s never done this again.
The best way is to stay calm, and remember that certain behaviors are natural and to respect the differences between human and cat species.