Cat Training 101
A feline companion is something that a lot of people would prefer over the more common choice of a canine companion. There is nothing wrong with whether you prefer to take up a cat rather than a dog. Your own preference is only yours to judge. That being said, it is more often known that training up a cat is a lot harder than training up a dog. However, a bit of practice, patience, and some of these tips will definitely get you up to speed on training your precious little kitty.
It is always better to train a cat when they are still young and considered a kitten rather than a full-fledged adult. The first few things that you should train your kitten on should be to respond to various social queues. As soon as your precious little kittens can walk, they will be as curious as ever on the world around them. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that they have all that they need to learn what they need to become a suitable house pet.
3 to 7 weeks old is the best time to teach these little kittens as they are at their least fearful of their environment. Use this time to teach them all the social skills and people skills that you can so they can absorb all the information and use it innately. At 8-13 weeks, your kitten will start to become a bit more cautious as opposed to when they were younger. That is why most trainers and breeders will use this age to train them physically after teaching social skills when they were younger.
Despite the suggested age at training, your cats can still learn more and more about their owners and their environment over the years. As such, you should constantly still try to teach them new things at home despite their growing age. Some tips that can help you guide your kitty to being house-trained are as followed:
- Bring in as many people as possible so your cat will learn to socialize towards all kinds of people regardless of color, gender, height, and voice.
- Invitation for people should extend to children as they can be beneficial to how your cat will respond to those that are younger.
- Do note that you should inform the kids to be gentle around the cat. Too much rowdiness could cause trauma for your little kitten.
- A cat-friendly dog is always a great way to tame down your kitty and to help it learn to be around other creatures.
- They will also have a generally friendlier attitude when exposed to a cat-friendly dog.
- Ensure that the dog knows how to stay put as their excitement may put some kittens off and cause them to run away.
- Travel around your car or at your local park with your kitten to get them to feel exploratory and happy around nature.
- Give them treats whenever you both return from a trip to encourage going out as a form of a positive reward.
Important Training Tips
Once the mastery of social skills has been fulfilled, it is now time to move towards a more practical set of training. However, you should take your cat to the veterinary clinic to conduct a full medical check-up to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions that you should be aware of before training your kitty. Some of the common medical issues that you need to know are if your cat is suffering from any joint, hearing, eyesight issues, and even serious diseases such as feline polycystic kidney disease.
Considering your cat is perfectly healthy, you can now start teaching them simple but useful tips. These will serve as your training guide to help better your communication towards your cat and yourself to get the command across better:
- Speak clearly and confidently when issuing specific commands such as “sit” or “come” to emphasize the clarity of the command being issued.
- In addition, this will help your cat remember the specific command more clearly.
- Food-based rewards such as treats are the best way to encourage your cat to listen to various commands.
- Remember to choose treats that your cat will definitely like to showcase the importance of learning the command
- You can, alternatively, use a clicker that your cat can associate as a tool that will give them a reward should they do a certain trick or command.
- This can help your cat to remember a certain command without needing to conduct arm movements.
- Time your training sessions in between meals as a full stomach could get them less enticed by treats while working on an empty stomach would cause your cat to be inpatient and possibly lash at you to get the treat.
- Remove all sense of background noises and obstructions such as televisions and other people. This will cause your cat to be less distracted.
- It will be easier to train if you and your cat conduct the training sessions in the privacy of your own home.
- Keep your training sessions as short as 15 minutes. Do not over-train your cat as they can get bored and would have a harder time remembering a huge number of commands all at once.
- Always keep your training as consistent as possible.
- Use the same trainer (should you have one), the same methods, same cues, and the same rewards to ensure that your cat remembers the commands.
- Do not try to juggle too many commands at once as it can confuse your cat.
- Let them master 1 specific skill first before moving on to the next one.
- A 10-minute long cat training session a day can help serve as a refresher so your pet would not suddenly abandon his or her commands.
- Patience is key.
- Do not forget to bombard your pet with lots of positive praise and rewards whenever they are in good behavior.
- Learn to say no.
- Affirm your cat with a strong and loud “no” whenever they do something that they shouldn’t.
- Instead of physically assaulting your cat whenever they do something wrong, redirect them into doing something else to prevent them from redoing the same mistake that they did.
- Never give them treats when they do something wrong or else they will associate what they were doing for something good.
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