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How to Train Your Cat At Home [The Complete Guide]

A lot of people do not believe that cats can be trained. You will find plenty of different guidance on the Internet about how to train dogs. However, your new kitten can easily be trained as well. You simply need to have an understanding of how your kitten behaves and thinks. With a little bit of understanding and some patience, there is no reason why you cannot train your pet cat. In fact, it is essential that you do so. After all, if you do not train your cat on how to be handled, how are you going to be able to keep a close eye on its health? Plus, do you really want your kitchen counters to be destroyed because your cat has scratched them? With that being said, in this guide, we are going to take a look at some of the different ways that you can train your cat.

The basic principles

Before we go into the specifics of training your cat, there are a few basic principles that you should understand. Firstly, punishment is not something that cats comprehend. It is much more effective if you encourage good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. If this sounds difficult, there are three words that are worth remembering when training your cat – rewards, reinforcement, and respect. 

Let's deal with respect first and foremost. It is vital that you behave in a 'cat-friendly' manner. To give a good example of this, cats do not enjoy being stared at. Therefore, to treat your cat with respect, you should make sure that you do not stare.

Next, we have reinforcement, which simply means repetition and consistency. If your cat does something that you do not like, always firmly but gently say no. Make sure you keep repeating this until your cat is trained. If you switch up how you encourage good behavior and discourage bad behavior, you will only end up confusing your cat.

Finally, we have rewards. There are two types of bonuses that you can use. The first is a tasty treat. The second is praise from you. Both rewards are very encouraging and motivating when it comes to training your kitten.

Training your cat to use the litter box

Now that you are aware of some of the basic principles regarding training your kitten, we are now going to look at some specific training methods. Let's begin by taking a look at how to train your cat to use the litter box. Cats are naturally very clean and, therefore, there is every chance that your cat will have already learned how to use the litter box from her mother before she came to live at your home. However, there are a couple of things that you should and should not do when it comes to litter box training.

You should make sure that all litter boxes are placed in calm and quiet locations that are easy for your kitten to reach. Litter boxes should not be placed near noisy household appliances. You should also make sure that you scoop out your kitten's litter box daily and change the litter as needed. You should also empty the tray frequently. Your kitten is not going to want to use a litter tray if it is dirty.

You should also make sure that your kitten's litter box is placed in a spot that is reasonably private and away from her bed. Aside from this, a general guideline is to have one litter box more than the number of cats that you have in the house. This means that you should have three litter boxes if you have two cats in your home. This is recommended for ease of accessibility.

When a kitten arrives at your home, one of the first things that you need to do is show her where the litter box is situated. You should watch your kitten closely in the early stages, and you should place your cat in the litter box after every meal if you see her crouching, sniffing around, and behaving in any manner that indicates it is toilet time.

There are many things that you should not do when it comes to litter boxes. Firstly, you should never clean the litter box if you are pregnant. Get someone else to clean out the tray for you. If this is not possible, make sure you wear gloves while you are doing it and wash your hands thoroughly afterward. This will lower the risk of toxoplasmosis. Although this condition is incredibly rare, it can cause severe problems to unborn babies and so it is certainly not worth the risk.

You should also make sure that you never use bleach or disinfectants to clean the litter box. You should only use detergent and hot water because some disinfectants are toxic to cats.

How to train your cat to stop biting

There are several different reasons why kittens bite, and it is pivotal to understand what your cat is attempting to communicate through biting. They may want you to stop doing something, or they may be trying to send you a message. Needless to say, figuring out why your kitten is biting can be confusing. One moment your pet could be enjoying a stroke from you and the next minute they are trying to sink their teeth into your skin.

Usually, when a cat is biting, it is because he or she is trying to tell you that they are not enjoying the contact that they are currently receiving. While this may be confusing, it is crucial to understand that there is a fine line between irritating petting and handling when it comes to felines. Therefore, while you may assume that the bite has come from nowhere and is not justified, in your cat's eyes, they feel like their action is completely justified.

Here are some tips that you can use to stop your cat from biting:

  • Find out why your cat is biting in the first place.
  • Do not use your hand as a toy. Sometimes cats get so into their play that they forget themselves.
  • Build your cat’s trust.
  • Learn how to handle your cat properly. Don't reach over your cat to pet him. While some cats may find this acceptable, there are others that definitely do not.
  • Speak to your vet.
  • Relieve your cat’s anxiety.
  • Tire your cat out. If your cat is attacking you outside of playtime, this could be an indication that your kitten needs to burn some energy.
  • Start using a time-out to send a stronger message.
  • Stop the play.

How to train your cat not to use its claws

One thing that a lot of pet owners need to do is train their animal to play nicely. If you have noticed that your cat tries to dig his claws into you or that he stretches his paws to your face and he does not retract his claws, then you will need to do a bit of training.

One of the things that you can do is train your cat to retract his claws by having an intervention whenever your cat is going too far. So, how do you do this? You should simply place your cat on the ground. Make sure you do this in a swift yet gentle manner. There should be no verbal acknowledgments. Remember the importance of repetition, which was mentioned earlier. You should make sure that you do this every time your cat uses its claws.

If your cat is an indoor cat only, another option is to remove the sharp tips of your cat’s claws frequently. You can even get specialist products that are available to help you with this. For example, you can try special hollow vinyl nail covers that have been specially designed to be glued onto cat claws to stop them from scratching furniture or people.

How to train your cat not to scratch your furniture

Is there anything worse than seeing that your cat has scratched all of your new wooden worktops? To make sure that this does not happen, you need to teach your cat how not to scratch your furniture.

Firstly, you need to understand why cats scratch in the first place. While dogs will often mark their territory by urinating, kittens have a different approach, and this is using their claws. They will mark an area using their paw glands' scent. Not only this, but cats will often scratch as a form of exercise.

One of the best ways to stop your cat from scratching your furniture is to use a scratching post. By doing this, they will develop healthy scratching habits. They will have a roughly-textured yet sturdy and stable scratching post for them to scratch, and so they won’t be tempted to do this to your furniture. You should also make sure you reward your cat when he or she uses the scratching post so that they know they are doing well.

Aside from this, there are some other options available. This includes using nail covers, which are soft plastic covers, which will go onto your cat’s nails for four to six weeks at a time. There are also other deterrents. For example, sticking double-sided tape onto your furniture will make the surface unpleasant for cats. You can also lower your cat’s desire to scent-mark your furniture by using feline pheromone spray. Trimming your cat’s nails is also important. Your cat will not feel the need to scratch as much if your trim down his nails every one or two weeks. If you do this from the age that your cat is a kitten, they will get used to it.

How to train your cat to stay off your counters

Why do cats love your counters so much? There are a number of reasons! They love the smell of them, as well as the fact that they are at a height. Plus, cats like fresh running water too, and so the sink can be a temptation. Here are some techniques you can use to train your cat to stay off your kitchen counters:

  • Tape a strip of crinkled aluminum foil along the counter - Cats don’t like the noise nor do they like the feel of this material.
  • Apply sticky tape to the edge of the counter - Cats also hate the feel of this.
  • Keep your countertop clean.
  • Consider investing in a cat tower or a climbing tree so that your cat has a different jumping target.
  • If your cat is using a chair to get onto your counters, simply move this.

The importance of using toys in cat training

Finally, let’s take a look at the different reasons why you should use toys when training your cat. You can think of this very much like using a toy to assist with your child’s development. We often use toys to help them understand things. From toy mouses to different games, there are so many products available today that enable you to train your cat through the medium of fun. As mentioned above, a scratching post is a prime example of this. Cats love this toy, but it also teaches them a valuable lesson in terms of what they can and cannot scratch.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how you can train your cat at home. No man what you do, it is vital to keep your cat loved and happy. If you follow the tips that have been provided above, you can make sure that this is the case. If you are experiencing any difficulties, is definitely worth talking to your vet or cat trainer so that you can get a professional perspective.

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