Take a moment to picture a beautiful tabby shaking hands, running through a course and jumping through hoops, or maybe balancing treats on their nose. If your home is filled with shredded drapes now made of strings and furniture covered in fur, that image will probably make you laugh. Everyone has heard that you aren’t going to be able to train a cat. A cat home belongs to the cat and you can’t do anything to help it, right? It turns out that you can help your cat’s behaviour, but you aren’t going to be able to do it by simply treating the cat as you would a dog.
The lone cat home
The biggest part of this journey is going to be understanding that cats are largely wired in a different way than dogs you might have had. A dog lives in a pack. They are hard wired to be social animals. Their very survival depends on this aspect of their personality when they are in the wild. A wild cat is a lone ranger who has evolved into taking care of themselves. They really don’t care too much about earning approval or working to keep you happy. Ever wonder why your cat doesn’t listen when you tell it “no” or shake your finger at it? This is why.
Don’t give up hope though. You can always teach your cat to be a better roommate. For a cat, behaviour is decided by whatever is in their best interests. Your cat might ignore you all day long while you call it, but once you open up a can of cat food they are climbing up your leg to show you love. This same philosophy can be used to teach them good behaviour by showing them that this is what would be best for them. Find out more cheap cat food from Vet Products Direct.
A scratching cat in apartment life
Scratching has to be one of the most annoying cat home problems. You might not be able to rationally remember it after you find your coffee table scratched to bits, but sharpening is a very normal part of cat life. This is how your cat marks its territory. Visitors are supposed to know that this is their kingdom. Chances are you’re not going to be able to stop the behaviour completely, but you can provide cat accessories like scratching posts that will move the habit to something made for that purpose.
Products like scratching posts are going to greatly help get the behaviour under control. Ideally you should be buying more than one and placing them next to some of their favourite places to mark their territory. Keep in mind also, that they are attempting to mark their property. You should be putting a post in an important place to make sure that they have something to mark that will be visible to visitors. You are then going to have to make them seem as appealing as possible. Rub them with a blanket that your cat sleeps on and put catnip on them to make them as inviting as possible.
Reward them whenever they use the scratching post. If attention is what they crave then give it to them! If your cat is anything like mine they only accept attention when they feel like it. A treat works in these cases. It will take some time for this positive reinforcement to work, however, and you shouldn’t yell or threaten them because of that. All that is going to accomplish is to make them aggressive and defensive towards you. The best thing to do is distract them by hissing, clapping, or making some other noise that doesn’t involve your voice yelling at them. You could also try to show them what to do afterwards by running your nails across the post.
Litter in a cat home
By far the easiest part of living with a cat in your home is litter box training. In nature cats prefer to use the bathroom in soft, sandy materials. A litter box fits this perfectly and your cat will usually go to it on its own. If you find that the cat is using the bathroom outside of the box than there might be an issue with the litter box that you have. You should also be checking for a medical problem, a urinary or intestinal tract obstruction or infection could be to blame and they might associate that pain with the box. It is also very possible that the cat just doesn’t like the litter that you bought. On the whole cats prefer small-grained sand like litter over larger grained ones. Scented litters can also turn many cats away, although they are great for covering up particularly smelly cats. While that might be great for you, the cat might think otherwise.
Much like the scratching post, you are going to need to make absolutely sure that the litter box is as appealing as possible. Cats tend to be neat freaks so cleaning their box as often as necessary is also important. There are cats, (like mine), that will want it cleaned daily, or twice a day if you have multiple cats. If your cat is particularly picky they will need separate boxes for urination and defecation. If your cat is having more problems and you can’t figure it out then you can try two boxes. Lastly, make sure that your box is in a separate place from the food so that they don’t feel threatened.
Don’t be scared by love bites
The strangest thing can happen sometimes; your cat will be purring away and cuddling with you when all of a sudden they bite down on your hand as you pet them. What did you do? Perhaps he was just a little overstimulated. There are certainly times when a cat is truly filled with joy and their instincts tell them that they should get rid of whatever is overloading their senses. Screaming at him isn’t going to stop this and might cause it to happen more. Instead, you should be stopping the stimulation altogether. Should your cat try to bite you just take your hand away and do not pay any attention to it. This way they will learn that if they want attention they are going to have to stop biting. Once they associate treats and attention with good behaviour they will try to be as calm as possible while you are cuddling with them.
Reigning from the top
There is nothing quite like seeing your cute cat on top of the kitchen counter. They do this because height makes them feel that they are in charge and are overseeing the entire room. Bookshelves, mantles, counter tops, fridges, televisions and more are all favourite places for cats to perch. They can see everything that is going on and make sure that they aren’t going to miss out on anything. If you are a cat owner that would rather not have cat hair all over everything than this is less than ideal. It’s even worse if you don’t want your belongings to be knocked to the floor. How can you keep your cat grounded?
A lot of cat trainers will recommend that you spray water at your cat or make a loud hiss and rattle something, and this will work for a lot of animals. The hard part comes when you have to get your cat to associate the punishment with the action and not with you. Otherwise you are going to have a cat that behaves fine when you are around, but will go back to bad behaviour once you leave the room.
One of the better ways to keep your cat off of certain places is to make use of two-sided tape. Cats absolutely hate it when their paws get stuck to something and they will quickly learn to not do something if it results in that sticky feeling on their paws. Ideally you can give them something else to climb on, just like you did with the scratching. A cat tree or perch that attaches to a window will give them a chance to climb up high without affecting your belongings. Again, use their blanket or catnip to entice them.
You probably won’t train your cat to do tricks but you can make your cat home a much more joyous place by teaching it what not to do. This will take patience but you are certainly able to teach it to be a good houseguest. The best part of the process is that in the end, they will think it was their idea in the first place. Vet Products Direct offers a wide range of cat supplies online.