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Cat behavior training

Cat Behavioral Training

Cats cannot be trained like dogs to sit, heel and stay.

Behavioral training for cats is directed mainly towards getting cats to learn to use litter trays instead of defacing the house. This of course comes naturally to most cats, but they do need encouragement to begin with, as they may choose any area that offers some level of privacy and comfort, like a corner, in your laundry basket, or even on beds and sofas. Another important lesion for house cats is that items of furniture or decorative items are not meant to be used as scratching posts for sharpening the claws.

This needs to be reinforced early on, but you need to provide your cat with alternatives. Cat behavior training therefore doesn’t involve teaching your cat tricks but enabling it to be better behaved and untroublesome indoors. Try to figure out what makes your cat tick before attempting to train it.

Cats function very differently from dogs, and will always weigh out their options. If they don’t find it tenable they won’t bother to attempt it. It is also very important that you don’t try and discourage negative behavior through physical punishment. Cats like scratching surfaces with their claws so then tend to repeat the activity but they do not like the experience of burning their nose in a flame so they will not repeat the action of going near a flame.

The main step to training one’s cat is to ensure that whatever activity one wishes the cat to do is always rewarding also pleasurable for the cat. Similarly that activity that you do not want the cat to repeat or to do should not be rewarding for the cat and should not be fun. In fact the owner should try and make that activity unpleasant for the cat. At times owners mistakenly reward their cats for bad behavior. For example if a cat jumps on its owner at 5 in the morning then owner will do anything to be able to go back to sleep. So this might involve the owner either feeding the cat or playing with it or letting the cat go outside. The cat may then start associating these behavior patterns as being related to each other. So the next time it wishes to go out to play or when it wants to eat something, it will start jumping on its owner no matter what the hour is. Reprimanding the cat does not usually work. To prevent the activity from being repeated one needs to reward her only for the good behavior.

  Submitted on April 9, 2010