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Kitten Training Tips



 Submitted by Nic on April 19, 2012


Most pet owners seem to be under the impression that it’s impossible to train a kitten, and strangely most of those who love cats also agree. This couldn’t be further from the truth though. Training a feline is not too difficult, as long as you start when your pet is young and use the right techniques for training a kitten.


Of course, when it comes to training felines, you have to be realistic; in all probability, you will never get your cat to obey commands like sit, stay, heel, roll over or play dead, but it’s not impossible. Cats can be highly trained, performing tricks and stunts to perfection, but training them is a lot more difficult and requires a lot more patience and perseverance. Basic training to teach your kitten to use the litter box, stop scratching your furniture and avoid meowing is a lot simpler however.


There are several kitten training tips you can use to ensure that your cat is a well-behaved one.

Basic Tips for Training Kittens

If you are a first time cat owner, you are likely to find the whole training procedure a bit more challenging. Training a feline is completely different from training a canine, as cats are not excessively concerned about pleasing their owners. This means that you have to develop a system that comprises of both positive reinforcement and aversion stimulus. Some of the effective kitten training tips for beginners that you can follow include –

• Using treats and praise together: The most effective way to reward your pet is with food, be it a small tidbit, or a complete meal. Cats are extremely intelligent and can also understand when you’re happy with them; it’s just that at most times they’re not interested in pleasing others! If you say the word “Good” at the same time, your kitty will gradually start associating the word with positive behavior, even when you aren’t offering any food. This strategy will also work with other actions that your cat loves, like playing with a certain toy or getting scratched behind the ears. If you feed your little pet, or scratch his ears when he pounces on you at 5 in the morning, you are letting him know that such behavior is perfectly acceptable and is in fact rewarded.

• Aversion methods: Many pet owners spray their cats with water when they indulge in undesirable behavior. However, many cats actually enjoy that because they think it is a game. Others may get aggressive when sprayed, which again, is behavior you want to avoid. Instead try to say “No”, in a stern voice and make a sound that your cat does not like, like rattling a box of pins or banging the take. Never hit your cat or even threaten to do so. While actual punishment should be avoided, cats can discern vocal tone and will understand a reprimand.

• Responding to the “Come” command: This is one of the most basic things that all pet owners should teach their cats to do.  You can train your pet to come to you, by calling out his/her name whenever you see him; although you may affectionately refer to and call your cat by a variety of names, only address the cat by its name. To get started call out his/her name as you offer him/her food. Call out your pet’s name at all mealtimes, before you do anything else, like opening the cupboard, scooping food into a bowl and so on. The first sound the cat should hear at mealtimes is his/her name. Once your cat appears, reward him/her with food immediately.

Effective Kitten Litter Training Tips

Once you do get a kitten, one of the first things you will probably want to do is potty train your pet, so that your house remains clean and hygienic. Fortunately, it is not very difficult to litter or potty train your kitten, since cats are quite clean by nature. In most cases training will not even be needed, as even month old kittens instinctively find their way to the litter box! Given below are a few simple, but effective kitten potty training tips that you can follow –

• Show your kitty where the litter tray is and allow him to sniff and scratch around a bit.

• Develop a schedule for placing your kitten in the tray. Make sure that he uses the tray as soon as he wakes up and after each meal.

• Keep the tray clean at all times, as your cat will refuse to enter the tray if it is dirty or smelly. However, avoid any strong detergents and cleaning supplies as they could put your cat off the tray too.

Cats do not like to be watched when they are doing their business. Make sure that the tray is in a quiet, secluded spot in the house

• Never scold, hit or punish your cat for having an accident outside the tray. If your cat makes a mistake, say “No” in a loud and stern voice. Then, immediately place him/her in the tray, praising him while he is there.

Fortunately, there are numerous books and online resources with good advice on how you can train your kitten. However, if you have trouble getting your kitten to listen to you, it may be a good idea for you to consult a vet.

References

• http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/AnimalServices/pettips/cattips/Litterboxadult.aspx

• http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/vth/sa/clin/cp_handouts/Training.pdf

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