Training your cat at home helps them acquire essential skills suitable for your lifestyle and family.
Cat training is different from dog training, and it requires thorough research. It also demands a significant amount of time spent working with your cat. However, once successful, your cat will be incredibly intelligent and agile, capable of performing many astonishing tricks that will amaze others.
In this article from DailyPets.net, we will provide some very simple methods for training your cat at home. These techniques can be effective with all cat breeds, including domestic cats, short-haired cats like the British Shorthair and American Shorthair, Persian cats, and more. Let’s take a look.
Training Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
In every training program, teaching your cat to use the litter box is a top priority because it is crucial for their care in the long run. Establishing good habits for your cat from a young age will benefit you.
Tools for Cat Litter Box Training:
- Choose a large litter box for your cat. Create a comfortable space for your cat to use the litter box. Consider using a covered litter box when your cat is unfamiliar with it, but it will help contain odors effectively after they become accustomed.
- Buy cat litter.
- Purchase a scoop for removing waste and a mat to keep the surrounding area clean.
- You can also use a training spray to expedite the training process.
Steps for Training a Kitten to Use the Litter Box:
- Place the litter box in a quiet location.
- Fill the litter box with about 1-2 inches of cat litter. Cats often dig and bury their waste, so providing enough litter is essential.
- Place the kitten in the litter box, even if they don’t want to use it. This will help them become familiar with the litter and the environment. Please leave them in the box for a few minutes.
- Continue to put the kitten in the litter box after meals, waking up, or any other time you anticipate they might need to go. If the kitten starts to eliminate outside the box, place them back inside promptly.
- Repeat these steps until the kitten consistently uses the litter box.
*Note: Each cat should have its litter box because cats are territorial animals. Sharing a litter box is not advisable.
Additional Tips for Cat Litter Training:
- Clean the litter box daily.
- Regularly clean the entire litter box area.
- Provide food and water on a schedule.
- Use a combination of dry and wet cat food to minimize waste odor.
In addition to litter box training, you can also train your cat to use a toilet or a designated spot. However, starting this training as early as possible is essential, as changing a cat’s elimination habits can be challenging once they are established.
Simple Cat Training: Teaching Your Cat to Shake Hands
With a bit of patience, your cat can learn to shake hands on command to the admiration of everyone. Here are the steps for training your cat to shake hands:
- Choose a time for training about an hour before a meal. At this point, your cat will be hungry, and instinctively, they will make more effort to get a reward from you.
- Hold the cat’s food or a treat in your hand.
- Show the food to your cat and let them sniff it, but don’t let the cat have it just yet.
- Hold your hand slightly curved in front of the cat but at eye level. Use simple commands like “Shake” or “Paw.” Your cat will understand that it’s time to shake hands. While searching for the food, the cat instinctively raises its paw towards your hand.
- If that doesn’t work, try gently lifting the cat’s paw. Keep the paw in your hand while they eat the treat. This way, the cat will associate shaking hands with getting a reward.
- Immediately reward the cat when they place their paw in your hand. Also, reinforce the training by saying, “Good job.” The goal is to link the action of shaking hands with getting food.
- Repeat the training 4 to 5 times or more. Start again before the next meal or day, using the same command each time.
- Continue until the cat responds readily.
- You have succeeded if the cat offers its paw when you give the command.
*Note: Cats have a short attention span, so it’s best to keep each training session short, lasting no longer than 3 to 5 minutes for the best results.
Training Your Cat Not to Bite or Scratch Furniture
Cats biting and scratching furniture can be frustrating. Imagine everything in your home with scratch marks or bite marks from your cat. It becomes more troublesome when you’re playing, and your cat’s playful bites or scratches lead to injuries. Therefore, training your cat not to bite or scratch is essential.
Using Scratching Posts and Furniture for Cats
Before bringing a cat home, please provide them with their furniture. Their furniture should include a cat tree, scratching posts, a bed, a cat condo, or a scratching mat. These items serve multiple purposes and allow cats to exercise and scratch.
If you have the necessary items, your cat will use them instead of scratching your furniture. Introducing your cat to these items early is important so they become familiar with them. They will not develop the habit of scratching or biting your furniture as they grow.
Trimming Your Cat’s Nails
A cat’s instinct is to scratch and sharpen their claws, which can be dangerous to furniture and people. When a cat’s nails are not regularly trimmed, they can become long and sharp. To prevent this, you can use nail clippers designed for cats.
Be careful not to cut too deep, which can cause bleeding and pain. Trim only the sharp tip of the white part of the nail. If uncomfortable doing this, consider taking your cat to a professional groomer or veterinarian.
Using a Spray Bottle or Aluminum Foil
You can use a spray bottle filled with clean water to train your cat not to scratch or bite furniture. Cats dislike being sprayed with water, so when you see them attempting to scratch or bite furniture, give them a quick spritz. Over time, they will associate these actions with the unpleasant experience of being sprayed and avoid them.
Alternatively, you can place aluminum foil on the areas where your cat likes to scratch or bite. The noise and texture of the foil can deter cats from using those spots.
If these methods are ineffective, sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper or use double-sided tape on the furniture to discourage scratching.
Remember to be patient and consistent in your training efforts. Your cat can learn to avoid destructive behavior with time and positive reinforcement.
Teaching a Cat to Play Fetch
Among the various types of cat training games, playing fetch is challenging. This game requires your cat to have a lively personality, enjoy activities, and like to play. Therefore, this game is suitable for young and energetic cats. If your pet cat has a calm, lazy, or less active temperament, engaging them, especially older cats, can be challenging. The equipment for making toys is straightforward and can be found in your household.
- Create a small ball by crumpling up a piece of soft paper, such as newspaper. The ball should be smaller than your cat’s paw for easy catching.
- Attach a long string or thread to the ball’s end.
- Gently swing it back and forth in front of your kitten. Avoid swinging it too vigorously, keeping it within your cat’s reach, neither too high nor too low.
- Don’t let your cat catch the ball; this is not a straightforward game but a training exercise.
- Train your cat to paw at the ball without catching it.
- Once your cat becomes accustomed to batting the ball toward you, you can loosen the string and throw it directly to your kitten. Allow your cat to see the ball and then toss it to them.
- Throw the ball slower and farther away from your cat’s position. If your cat can bat at the ball, retrieve it immediately. Don’t let them continue playing with the ball. Reward them with a treat or praise.
- Repeat the training until your cat gets the hang of it, and always reward them for doing it correctly.
Training sessions should not be too long, especially when starting—just 5 minutes is sufficient. Prepare some treats that your cat enjoys during training. You can train your cat before mealtime to pique their interest.
Training a Kitten to Stay Away from Restricted Areas
Certain areas in your home should be designated as off-limits for your cat. You know that if they access these areas, your cat will be in danger, or your belongings will be damaged. Cats are intelligent, curious animals that enjoy hunting and exploring, so they may be inclined to climb on or jump into areas like kitchen counters, closets, or heaters. Therefore, you need a method to train them to avoid these prohibited areas.
If you already have a cat tree, but your cat still climbs to undesirable places, you can use some gentle methods to train them. Avoid harsh methods like hitting, scolding, or threatening, as these can backfire.
Observe where your cat misbehaves the most, then place some noise-making objects or paper there. This can make your kitten hesitant to jump. You can wrap a newspaper into a roll and tap it on a table when you see your cat intending to jump. You don’t need to tap too hard; make them startle. Timid cats will be cautious and may not jump again.
Training a Cat to Play Dead
To perform this lesson, teach your cat to lie down and stay still.
Training a Cat to Lie Down
The primary training method is to make your cat familiar with your command. The process is straightforward and can be done by gently pushing your cat down while using the command “lie down.” The challenge is that your kitten must coordinate with the “lie down” command.
After your cat is down, raise your hand like you’re shooting a gun and give the command “lie down.” If your cat doesn’t do it properly, gently push them down and pet them to make them feel comfortable lying down. After a while, your cat will associate the gun sound with lying down without needing the command.
Training a Cat to Stay Still
Once your cat is lying down, keeping them still without moving is crucial. This is a crucial aspect of the “playing dead” act. If your cat moves without receiving your command, consider it unsuccessful.
After your cat is lying down, they may try to move after a while. Then, say “no” and gently press them down again. Wait for them to stay still, and then reward them. Remember not to repeat the “lie down” command or call their name. They should learn to wait until you call their name to get up. Training a cat to stay down can be long, so patience is essential.
Training a Cat to Play Dead
To make your cat play dead convincingly, you need to train them to stay still while there are temptations nearby. When gently pushing them with your foot, they should not “wake up.” If they attempt to get up, say “no.” Once they stay still, reward them with a treat.
When your cat hears you call their name, they should quickly come to you instead of lying on the floor pretending to be “dead.” At this point, use a higher-pitched tone to call their name. When your cat comes to you, reward them with a meal.
Sharing More Effective Ways to Train Cats
Learning What Cats Like?
If you are a responsible, caring pet owner with a desire to train your beloved cat, then you must understand this. Just like humans, animals have emotions. Habits and individual characteristics vary from one to another. Understanding this will help you determine what your cat wants and, in turn, understand its needs better.
During the training process, you can use these as “bait.” Some kittens may have a particular liking for a certain type of food. Always keep some of these items in stock for when they are needed. Or, if your cat enjoys playing with toys or interacting with you, take advantage of this preference.
How to discern their preferences can be summed up in two words: observation. Watch what they do every day, their reactions to various types of food, and how they engage with games. Pay attention and observe; you’ll figure it out.
Using Rewards for Cat Training
Once you know what your cat likes, think about how to use those preferences correctly and effectively. Find a comfortable time for both you and your cat to start training. This ensures focus, time, and space for the task.
As soon as you introduce the “bait,” make your requests. This is crucial, as it signals the connection between what it wants and your related request to the cat.
Repeat this to establish a habit. In the final stage, place the food or toy farther away. This signals the end of the cat’s training. Remember that this process should only last about 5 minutes. Rewards should only establish a certain habit, not be done when the cat eats or walks around. They need a specific focus.
If you use a bell or any noise-making device as a command signal, use the “bait” only when the command sound is heard. The signaling devices should have clear and recognizable sounds.
Teaching Commands to Cats Through Suggestions
Choosing the right training goals for your cat is also crucial. For training them to recognize objects, the objects should neither be too big nor too small. You can place the object close to them and let them inspect and sniff it.
You can use signal objects to indicate mealtime or your cat’s destination. Pay attention to prominent and easily recognizable signals. These signals should be performed regularly at fixed times. For example, mealtime is at 11 a.m., and the eating place is the kitchen.
In this case, use the preferred food as the “bait” placed in the kitchen. You should use a bell to signify that the cat is only allowed to eat when the bell rings a certain number of times. Repeat this daily.
In the early days, focus on executing the procedure correctly as it forms the foundation for future training. Later on, the timing may not be as precise, but relative consistency is important. By then, your cat should have formed a habit. However, the signaling should not change as it helps the animal identify the task.
Things to Note When Training Cats
There are some points to consider. Firstly, signals from start to finish should only take about 5 minutes. After that, your pet’s attention span wanes. Your actions and signals should be clear, avoiding confusion and having distinct characteristics. Your cat may not remember every detail, but the distinct impression will serve as a reminder.
Use treats sparingly during training. Too many rewards may lead to a lack of motivation. Repeating training too often can also make them lose interest in the “bait,” so it’s best not to change it.
During training, it’s essential to establish some rules for your cat, and you need to enforce them consistently. Use punishments to make them understand what not to do. After a few times, they will get used to it, and only your attitude will be enough to remind them.
Is It Okay to Train Cats by Hitting Them?
Understanding cat behavior may seem complicated, but after thorough research, you’ll find it’s more straightforward than expected. In other words, what humans need to know is quite simple.
Reward and Punishment Distinction
The simplest way to prevent a cat from doing something is to make them understand that there will be unpleasant consequences. If a cat knows that a particular action will result in more negative consequences than positive ones, it won’t continue that behavior.
So, it can be said no cat is impossible to train; it’s just laziness or finding excuses! Cats are not fools; they know that doing something wrong will have bad consequences, yet they still do it. In summary, think of cats as two-year-old children.
Why Is Scolding the Most Important?
- It’s the most convenient and quickest method. You can simply shout and yell without needing any tools to stop them.
- Cats are very sensitive to sounds, so this method is highly effective.
- Other methods may have a certain delay. For example, if you use water spray, you must carry a small bottle of water. If you forget it, you have to find it; by then, the cats will have run away. Most importantly, this is like a signal, reminding the cat, “If you don’t stop, something bad will happen!” Some cats will behave better after being scolded, and you can stop at this point. If they still don’t change after being scolded, you may need to use combined techniques, like raising your hand threateningly when scolding.
Gently tap their head or rear end; please control your force and avoid causing harm. Don’t hurt your cat or damage your relationship with your pet!
If your cat attacks or resists, reconsider your approach. Did you hit them too hard? Don’t be afraid if your cat gets angry! Just because you’re afraid of your cat being angry doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train them. Afterward, when the cat regrets its behavior, open a can of canned food and play with them using an entertaining cat toy. Your cats will forget it all. Many cats will start to be affectionate after realizing they were wrong, and these actions may even be intentional on their part. Therefore, it’s best to ignore the cat until the apology period is over…
In general, cat training can be accomplished in many ways. This article has provided you with some of the simplest lessons in the training process. However, no matter what, the most fundamental to success in training them is the care and understanding of the owner. Good luck!”