Training a Cat

Cats do not train quite like dogs and are more responsive to some ‘aversion’ therapies like spray from water bottles. There are many thoughts on the subject of spray bottles, and if you choose to use them, the important thing is you use them consistently.

When using water bottles to keep your cat away from places or things you want them to avoid, it is important to give the cat a couple of quick streams as soon as the behaviour you want to modify takes place. Spraying your cat after they have jumped off the kitchen counter is not helpful for changing behaviour, it may have the opposite effect: You have just sprayed your cat for leaving the kitchen counter. Perhaps they should have stayed there instead? If you are paying attention, and your cat is clearly about to leap onto the counter, give them a quick spray. It may take a couple of weeks, but your cat will get the message about where they are and are not allowed to be.

As mentioned, consistency is very important. If you allow the cat onto the kitchen counter one day and not the next, or if the kids allow the cat on the counter, but you don’t, the animal will not be able to learn good behaviour. Everyone needs to be part of the training.

Others are fans of the reward system. Find a treat your cat can’t get enough of and reward your cat for all good behaviours. Make sure they come when you call and reward them right away. Reward them when they scratch in appropriate places, or when they succeed at what you are teaching. Everyone loves success!

Please do not ever hit your cat. Cats are not big fans of being wet, but you really want them to be a big fan of you. As with any animal, they respond best to affection.

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