Most of the people owning a cat probably have a realistic expectation for their pet’s behavior. Occasionally if it is doing something that it’s not supposed to do then you are not surprised by it, but you may be questioning whether or not it is okay to discipline a cat for consistent bad behavior. Is it really possible to train a cat to behave ?
All of these bad behaviors range from chewing on wires, jumping on top of places they shouldn’t be, to urinating outside of their litter box or scratching stuff. Even though some of these are normal and natural reactions to a cat’s environment, others are simply bad habits that need to be eradicated.
So, regardless of what unwanted behavior your cat is displaying, you most likely would want to stop it and fortunately for you that’s completely within the realm of possibility.
How to train a cat to behave ?
Felines are a lot smarter than anyone may think, they also have a great memory. Some experts even state that cats have both long term and short term memory, so they are trainable. But at the same time that also means that they know what they can get away with doing.
Like people, pets will react well to positive reinforcement, so cats can remember when they get something they like after something good that they do. Cats love attention, food and toys, so you can choose a motivator that you can use to ultimately encourage your cat to do what you actually want it to do and to provide with some form of positive reinforcement.
Then if possible, you can reward your feline friend with a special item and by reserving this special item for training only it will add to the value of the reward and make it that much more enticing for your cat.
Try to discourage bad behavior in your cat
Cats, like many other animals, are far more receptive to treats and rewards rather than punishment, however here are a few other tricks you can use to discourage bad behavior!
- You can try and shake a noisy can, for example when your cat is on a place they shouldn’t be on, shake it to startle your cat and make it leave their position.
- Use smells to your advantage. Many cats dislike the smell of citrus, red pepper flakes and many sprays on the market that are designed to keep cats away from certain places. Additionally, there are sprays that taste bad to cats so they can stop the bad habit of chewing on things.
- No one really likes to be squirted with water, not even cats! So, you can try doing that to deter them from places. Just spritz them a few times when they are somewhere or doing something they should not do, and likely after a few times they will remember not to do that.
- You can also use aluminum foil or double sided tape to deter them. Cats are big on textures, and those two are specifically textures they don’t like, so you can cover spaces they shouldn’t be on and cover them with those.
- You can also startle them by saying something out loud. For example when they’re playing especially rough you can yell out “ouch” or something similar to stop that behavior. This technique is pretty effective against cats who display aggressive behavior and may bite or grab at your arm or leg with their claws.
- You can opt to give them a time out as well. You can gently place your cat in an empty room for 20 or so minutes if they are misbehaving. More often than not it will come out from the room in a totally different mood.
It is also important to encourage good cat behavior
If a cat is displaying good behavior, then, if possible, give it treats, praise or even attention. Even if you notice it lying next to something it used to chew, but not pursuing that, then reward it. It’s scratching the scratching pole and not your sofa? Reward it. Then your cat will slowly learn the difference between good and bad behavior.
Here’s what you should never do:
It is of great importance to never try to physically hurt your cat. This of course includes any type of hitting, spanking, kicking or hurting your cat with intention. This way of “discipline” through physical hurt is counter productive not to mention abusive and can lead to more aggressive and disruptive behavior.
Additionally, do not scruff your cat. Scruffing your cat is no longer a recommended method of restraint or transportation, and it is also painful and as we said before, when you cause a cat exhibiting bad behavior pain, then it will only further portray bad behavior. The thought of what appeared to be relaxation for some cats who are scruffed is shown to actually be fear paralysis.
There is an alternative way to grab a cat by its scruff is by putting a blanket over it and then scooping up the cat inside it. This will not only keep both you and the cat safe but it also will allow you to transport the cat without any stress being put on it.