Training comes part and parcel of being a dog owner, but outside of basic litter training, much fewer people think of coaching their cat! Training cats to behave, however, isn’t quite as difficult as many seem to think. With a little bit of hard work and a lot of patience, you can even teach your cat to respond to commands with tricks! Read on to find our top tips for training your cat!
The first few weeks after you bring your kitten home can be the most important time for training and socialisation! When they’re between eight and twelve weeks old, you’ll want to expose them to sights, smells and sounds that they’ll be encountering later in life. Introducing them to other cats and cat-friendly dogs, as well as more people and children, can help your furry friend develop more confidence as they grow older. Introducing them to being handled regularly is also a good idea and could help you when training your cat in later life!
Punishment rarely works with cats. Some cat owners spray their pets with water when they do something undesirable, but this can have the opposite effect on your feline friend. The more you punish them, the more they may learn to fear and distrust you, which is not the result we’re looking for! Instead, you’ll want to reinforce positive behaviour. Treats can be great rewards for your furry friend and help establish positive behaviour and actions later in life! Purchasing a clicker could be a good investment too, and help your pet associate the noise with positive experiences!
Scratching and Biting
Both scratching and biting are healthy behaviours for cats and kittens, and neither should be discouraged. This is easier said than done, however, if you find your furry friend with their claws all over your new sofa or carpet! Redirect scratches from your furniture with a scratching post, rewarding them when they use it to further reinforce the positive behaviour. Similarly, if your kitten bites your hand while you’re playing, stop immediately. This discourages the behaviour without punishing your pet. Remember, scratching and biting are natural, so they should be redirected rather than discouraged!
One of the first things people want to teach their dogs is responding to their name. This is something that’s left out of cat training, even though recent studies suggest that cats know their name. If you want to teach your cat to come when you call them, start by saying their name before putting their food out. In doing this, your pet should associate their name with something positive – food. Once they’re used to this, you should encourage the behaviour outside of normal feeding times, calling their name and offering treats from short distances. Increase the distance until they get the hang of it!
Once you’ve got the basics down, you might be able to teach your feline friend some more advanced tricks! Treats will be your best friend when teaching your cat the moves. If you dangle one over their head, your cat might stand on their hind legs for it. Reward this with a click and a treat while giving the “Beg” command. If you want a cute kitten handshake, try touching your kitten’s paw, click and say “Shake” whenever they move it, again rewarding with a treat. Repeat both of these until your cat cottons on and responds to just the command! You might even have your own Guinness World Record holder like Didga!
We hope these tips can help you to train your cat to behave! Consistency is key, so if your kitten isn’t responding quite how you expected them to, don’t give up! If you’re a cat owner, you might want to think about taking out insurance. At The Insurance Emporium, we have a range of Cat Insurance policies available. Selected policies* include Vet’s Fees cover up to £8,000.^ You could even benefit from up to 30% discount† on your policy! Amble on down to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!
* Selected policies include Time Limited, Maximum Benefit and Lifetime policies. Please see the product page for more information on the levels of cover available.
^ Cover up to £8,000 available on lunar and calendar monthly Lifetime Gold policies.
† The 30% discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Multi-pet Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.
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