How to train a cat

Knowing how to train a cat can be complex, especially when they are small or babies. With a little bit of patience, you can train a cat and make it an even better pet. At Petlifey, we explain how to educate your cat step by step.

How to train your cat

You can teach your cat behaviours and attitudes that will please both of you. The cats are independent, but they enjoy having fun with their masters if allowed to pick them now.

As you already know, cats are very autonomous animals. In fact, although humans have enjoyed the company of these felines for more than 5,000 years, we have only partially tamed them.

With these tips you can educate your cat so that coexistence at home is as appropriate as possible:

How to train a cat to use the litter box

Teaching a cat to use its litter box is not necessary in most cases.

Pussycats are very clean animals as they have a natural tendency to groom and clean their fur. They also tend to defecate and urinate in their litter box naturally. Your cat probably acquired grooming habits from their own mother.

Within a short time of venturing out of the nest regularly, the kitten will have accompanied its mother to the litter box, observed what she does, and learned the purpose of the box.

It is very rare that when the time comes when the kitten is taken by its new owner, it has not yet learned how to use the litter box, but if this happens, you can put the kitten in the box every time you catch them doing its business. The cat’s natural instinct, which induces it to dig and cover its droppings, will motivate it to go to the box.

But it may happen that in some cases of problem cats the natural tendency to use the litter box does not occur. Let’s see how to train a cat to use the litter box in 7 easy steps:

1. Place the litter box in a quiet place

Cats like to relieve themselves in a place that is quiet. They prefer to do it in a place where there is not a lot of noise around, a lot of people pass by or there is a lot of action. However, kitties do not like that their litter box is too far away or excessively cornered:

  • Don’t place your pet’s litter box too close to where it has food and water. Otherwise it may be a reason for them not to like using its litter box.
  • Do not place it in areas of the house where many people walk or that are noisy areas. For example, don’t locate the litter box in a hallway that you are constantly passing by or next to a washing machine. Felines want privacy and peace to pee or poop.
  • Place your litter box in an easily accessible place for your furry pet. Avoid putting it in height so that it does not have to climb or jump to access, and much more if your cat is already somewhat old or has a problem moving.

2. The litter box must be clean

Your feline pet will never want to use its litter box if it is dirty and full of a lot of excrement. This can cause it to poop and pee out of it anywhere in your home.

To do it well you must follow the following steps:

  1. First of all, you should use rubber gloves when you are going to handle everything related to a cat’s poop. In this way, you reduce the risk of getting toxoplasmosis.
  2. Ideally, you should clean and collect the blocks of sand compacted by urine and feces every day. But if it is not possible, at least every two days. You should always do it with a shovel.
  3. When you’re done handling dirty kitty litter, wash your hands thoroughly, no matter that you’ve been wearing gloves.
  4. Finally, you need to do a thorough cleaning once a week. You have to remove the old sand, wash with soap and water, rinse and dry well. Then pour in the new litter making a good layer that is 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 centimeters) thick.

3. Put your cat in its litter box after eating, sleeping and playing

It is a good system to accustom a feline to relieve itself in the right place. Place your cat in its litter box a couple of minutes after playing, waking up or eating, since just at that moment is when kitties usually go to the bathroom.

This simple gesture will help you remember what your litter box is for and use it every time you want to urinate or defecate.

4. Use a cat litter that it likes.

  • There are many types of cat litter made from different materials. It is essential that it be a sand that your feline likes and likes to use. Most of the kittens love clumping sand without any perfume.

However, each pet is different and there are those who may prefer a different one, with a smell, with a coarser, finer grain … Above all, observe the behavior of your kitten when you put the new litter on it.

  • If you have to change the type of sand, do it gradually (little by little), do not do it overnight. For a week you can add a little of the new one to the sand that you have been using and each day add more. In this way you will get used to it without realizing it.
  • As a general rule, it depends on the country, the most widely used cat litters are binders, crystal litter, clay litter, biodegradable litter box, pellet litter and silica gel litter. As you can see, you have at your disposal a great variety in the market.
  • If it were the case that your animal likes and uses to relieve itself in a pot, it is because it likes fresh soil more than its sanitary litter. This is not suitable and can be a common problem in pets that have lived outdoors.

To solve this, you can put a layer of soil like the one in pots and on top of it a small layer of cat litter. If it works, very little by little you can remove the dirt and put more sand in its place.

5. Reward your cat if it uses the litter box

This is a golden rule, if your pet does things well and uses its litter box, you should reward them for it.

It is very important that you do it just when you finish urinating or defecating in it, so that it associates this fact easily. This is called positive reinforcement .

This will undoubtedly make your pet acquire positive habits and it will learn that this is the right place where it should relieve themselves.

6. Do not punish your cat if it does it outside

Oddly enough, if your cat has an “accident” outside of its litter box, DO NOT scold them. Negative reinforcement never works in these cases and if you punish them it can cause the opposite effect and that it does not use its sandbox anymore.

  • If the cat “goes to the bathroom” outside the litter box, it is essential to clean that place immediately with an enzymatic cleaner that will eliminate and neutralize its odors so that it does not do it again there. If you smell your pee on a carpet (for example), you can associate that spot as the place to relieve yourself.
  • If your cat poops outside the litter box, scoop it up with a shovel, gloves, or paper and place it in the litter box. Thanks to the smell of their feces, this will offer “clues” to your cat that this is where he should do it next time.
  • If your cat has decided that a part of your home is its favourite to pee or poop instead of its litter box, you should make this area “uncomfortable” for them. This way you can dissuade them from doing so. We refer to, for example, placing double-sided tape on the floor or floor, an aluminum foil or things that may be unpleasant or prevent you from accessing that place.

7. Confinement training

This system is the last one you should use. You should only use it if everything above that we have explained has not worked and there is no way for your cat to use its litter box.

It consists of confining them or temporarily locking them in a room with the sandbox so that he understands that he must use it.

  • Remember that you should ONLY apply this training as a last resort.
  • Don’t keep your feline in a very small room or room for too long. It is cruel to confine your kitten for long periods of time.
  • Your cat should have plenty of food and water in the room, in addition to its bed and litter box. You should place the litter box on the opposite side of the room where the bed, water and food are.
  • If it poops on the ground or floor, place its feces in the sandbox so that with its smell the animal knows that it should do it there.
  • If your cat likes to do it on a carpet or on the ground and not in its litter box, you can cut small pieces of an old carpet or some dirt (depending on the case) and put it in the box along with the cat litter.

How to teach a cat not to bite

There are cats that constantly try to bite or scratch their humans. At times it may be due to aggressive behaviour and at other times it has simply adopted this as a form of play .

We are going to teach you how to train a cat not to bite in 3 simple steps:

1. Respect your cat’s limits

It is possible that on some occasions your cat will bite or scratch you because you have touched it roughly or by surprise and this can cause it to defend itself with an aggressive or defensive posture.

In these cases, if your kitten needs space or time, it is better to grant it. If at a certain point he doesn’t like being touched or stroked, don’t do it.

2. If it bites, stop playing with them

Sometimes your cat may “speed up” and behave too aggressive when you play with them and it begins to use its claws and teeth.

If so, you have to immediately stop playing with it. You can stop, sit down, play dead, but in all cases you must ignore it .

Your cat will quickly learn that if it plays aggressively, the fun and the game will be over immediately.

  • If your pet becomes overly aggressive, it may have gone into hunting mode. In that case, it changes its game and uses a long stick, a thread or string so that it can exercise hunting them without having to misbehave or hurt you.
  • Under no circumstances hit the cat. You should also not spray them with water or yell at them if it has bitten you (even if it’s the first impulse). These types of negative responses, over time, can cause your feline pet to fear you.

3. Help them vent

Cats, as good felines that they are, have a high hunting instinct. Therefore you must make it possible for him to exercise it and use it with toys that it can chase, hit, bite and attack. It is in your nature to have this type of behavior.

A good toy can be a small mouse or a small ball so that he can let off steam by playing with it. And if you want to play with it, you can use toys that are a kind of stick or handle with a thread or string so that you can move it and your pet tries to hunt it.

4. Use catmint

There are stuffed animals on the market for cats that have a small pocket closed with velcro in which you can put a little catmint.

You can also put some on the ground or floor so that your cat can roll over this area. Many cats are not attracted to this product, but many others are.

If this is the case with your pet, it will enjoy a period of play with which it can discharge its energy and not bite you.

How to train a cat to use the scratching post

There are many kittens that instinctively and naturally use the scratching post for cats , without having to pay more attention to them.

When they discover it, it seems that they are very clear about what it is for and will immediately go to him to sharpen their nails.

On the other hand, there are other cats that are not so clear about the usefulness of this device and we will have to use a little time and effort to get them used to it.

We recommend that you have a scratcher from the first day  and that you motivate your pet to play regularly with it and thus know what it is for.

You can choose a dynamic scratcher, that is, that has a toy and some other object, although you can also encourage it yourself, in this way you will ensure that it does not destroy the furniture in your house.

Your furry friend may have learned to sharpen its nails on the couch, but sometimes when you leave home, it might use the sofas and other objects for it.

If so, you have to continue stimulating your kitty to play with the scratcher, and to reinforce the behavior we advise you to give it a treat.

To reward them you can do it with loving words and caresses or give them tasty food prizes.

If there is an object hanging or a ball on the scratcher, it will be easier for you to attract the attention of your feline, since it will enter it through the game,  because you already know that kittens like to play a lot.

If this is not the case, you have to try to make him play with this object, in this way your pet will gain confidence with the device.

When your kitty touches the scratcher for the first time, it is almost certain that it will use it regularly.

For this reason, it is important that you place your feline’s legs on the scratching post. Once he has hooked his nails in the device, your kitten will feel very comfortable.

If you see that your cat particularly likes a piece of furniture, try to put the scratching post near that place, this way your pet will tend to go towards the scratching post and not scratch your furniture.

If your furry friend still doesn’t want to use the scratching post, try smearing the scratching post with cat grass , the smell it gives off will persuade your feline to use it.

How to train a cat to come

As we have said before, if you have trained your kitten to come to you, you can call them when you want to pet him, spend some time playing with him or when you have to take them to the vet and knowing that it has hidden at that time, etc. .

This ability can also be very useful if at any time you have to get your pet out of a bind.

1. Motivate him with a reward

First, you have to give them a reward, for example, a treat. It has to be something that your kitty likes a lot, something that even makes them interrupt its nap.

It is important that you do not use the croquettes that you give him every day for this. Tuna excites kitties , that is why it is essential that you only feed your pet tuna in the form of treats, since if he cannot get addicted to strong flavors.

Next, you have to call your furry friend unequivocally so that he comes to you so that you can give them its appetizing prize, it is important that they are simple and short words or phrases.

It is quite likely that the first paragraph of Don Quixote is not a good alternative, but something like “pussycat, here, pussycat”, “come here, kitten”, or also “Prize!” or “Candy!” , naturally if you don’t use these words daily with your pet.

It can also work if you use a different tone of voice than normal.

2. Use a high-pitched tone

You can make use of a high tone, since cats react better with high tones in a natural way, because these are the sounds that their prey launch. It is also essential that when you call him to come to you, you give him caresses and pampering, if this is what he likes, of course.

3. Be consistent

It is essential that you do this training exercise at least once a week, because in this way you will reinforce the desired behavior that your kitten has already learned.

Before putting something appetizing in its feeder, give the call order that you have chosen, you will see how quickly your kitten will appear happy and excited.

How to teach a cat the word “No”

One of the most important vocal commands is “No!” You have to say this in a firm voice, to indicate displeasure. Some people accompany this with a pointing gesture.

Your cat will soon learn to recognize this signal and associate it with incorrect behaviour. For maximum effect, whenever you discipline your cat in this way, look them straight in the eye .

Always punish the animal with your voice, but NEVER with your hands. Little is achieved by hitting a cat, except scaring it and perhaps getting a scratch.

The command “No!” it is usually enough to suppress it whenever necessary. There is, however, a very useful disciplinary tool that should be mentioned: it is the squirt gun.

Cats do not like to be splashed with water, and will associate the splash of water with a warning not to do what caused the splash. Squirt guns usually have a good range, are quiet, and do not physically harm the cat. They are very useful when combined with the “No!” Command.

How to teach a cat its name

Your kitten can learn its name while it is still very young. It should possibly be the first word you teach them. When you start to handle and pet your cat, repeat its name over and over again.

After a while it will learn to recognize it. Pick a short, simple name that can be easily understood .

How to teach a cat the command “here”

“Here!” is another command that you should teach your cat. Every time the animal responds to it, you reward it with a treat.

This will allow your cat to associate the command with something pleasant. The command “Here!” It is very useful when the cat leaves the house or the car and needs to be captured urgently.

How to train a cat not to scratch furniture

If your pet regularly scratches you or your furniture, it may be because it has the urge to scratch. Your feline scratches the objects in your house to mark them with its scent.

For this, it uses the glands that it has in its paws, and also because in this way it naturally removes the coat it grows in its claws.

1. Give your cat a vertical scratcher

A good way to solve this problem is by giving him an object where he can scratch as much as it wants, such as a vertical scraper.

  • If you see that your kitten is scratching a carpet, a piece of furniture or some other object or place that it should not scratch, you should interrupt it with a sudden sound. Shake a jar full of coins or clap your hands to make your pussycat freak out and stop scratching.
  • You should quickly lead your little friend to a vertical scratcher. If you interrupt it when it is scratching a piece of furniture and take it to a vertical scraper, you will strengthen the idea that there are objects that it can scratch, but instead there are others that cannot.

2. Use a citrus or menthol scent

  • Felines don’t like menthol and citrus scents. You can put a little oil on the furniture or object that your pet scratches most frequently, in this way you could prevent him from doing it in future occasions.
  • Dip a few pieces of cotton wool in a menthol or citrus oil-based muscle ointment.
  • Then, rub the cotton ball on the armrests or furniture legs that your kitty is used to scratching. You have to bear in mind that this will cause the furniture to have a slight odour and it could get dirty.

Citric oil, on the other hand, is more difficult to stain. If you fear that the oils will get into your furniture, you can simply stick the pieces of cotton on the legs of the tables and sofas that your feline is used to scratching.

3. Use the spray method

If you see that your kitten keeps throwing itself against your feet or hands or continues destroying your furniture, you can use the system of spraying it with water. To do this, you must fill a sprinkler with clean and cold water and when your feline throws themselves on you, you splash it with this water.

As you well know, kittens do not like being splashed with water at all, in this way they will immediately associate this unpleasant sensation with the fact of scratching or biting you.

However, it is important that you know that your feline can associate you with this uncomfortable feeling for them of being splashed with water and it may even be scary.

4. Don’t have your cat’s claws removed

No matter how severe your kitty’s scratches are, having her claws removed will only exacerbate the problem.

This is very painful for cats and can cause a series of problems such as: permanent pain, aversion to using the litter box, tissue necrosis and increased aggressiveness towards people.

We advise you to consult with a veterinarian about other ways to get your pet to stop scratching, if you consider that it has a problem behavior.

How to teach a cat not to climb on the counter

If you have food stored on the counter, and there you also have your kitty’s food bowl, this could believe that it is a place destined to find food. To avoid this, use the following tips:

1. Remove the food

You have to remove all the food that you have on the countertop and keep your pet’s food bowl on the floor (all the time he uses it) or in the sink, this way he will not climb on the counter.

2. Make counters unpleasant for your cat

If you want to prevent your furry friend from climbing on the counter, you have to make it an uncomfortable place for them.

  • Put double-sided tape on one side of a plastic placemat.
  • Put the placemats on the counter.
  • Over time, your kitty will associate the counter with the uncomfortable experience of walking on the treadmill.

3. Give them other places it can climb

Pussycats love to climb, especially since they really like to be at a certain height from the ground and your kitchen countertops may be the highest places where they can climb.

Try to offer them different objects that it can climb, such as a special furniture for felines, that you can place anywhere in your home and that will give your pet the satisfaction of climbing and standing in an elevated area.

4. Keep the cat away

If your kitty insists on climbing the countertops when you cook, you should leave it in the bathroom or in a room, if you can, as this will prevent it from climbing and hindering your cooking plans.

When you have finished cooking, you are ready to get your furry friend out of its confinement.

How to teach a cat to walk on a leash

Training the cat to get used to walking on a leash is not difficult if it gets used to the kitten while it is still young.

It is preferable to use a body harness instead of a collar, because the force is exerted on a larger and more resistant area.

Also, since a cat can easily get caught on something when wearing a collar, it is not advisable to leave the collar on when alone.

Many people find getting a cat used to walking on a leash a waste of time. They say that since cats are trained to use a litter box they do not need to be taken for walks like dogs.

Also, they don’t have to walk around to get exercise because they can do everything they need at home. Unnecessary exposure of a cat to the elements poses a risk of contracting parasites.

How to train a cat to play with toys

If your pussycat is a puppy, you should provide it with toys  to prepare for “hunting”, such as: small balls, rattles with feathers, cloth mice, etc.

With these types of toys, which are very simple and many of them you can make yourself, your kitten will have a great time.

If you throw objects at your cat, there will come a time when he will bring them to you with his mouth so that you can throw them back. You have to keep in mind that the trick to encourage them to play is that you are part of the game. Your cat will quickly get bored with his toys if you don’t spend time with him and participate in his games.

How to teach a cat to bring things

An easy skill to teach them is to bring things back (retrieve). To start teaching this skill, grab your cat’s favorite toy and toss it away (a ball of crumpled paper is ideal).

The cat will approach the object, investigate, probably play around it, and possibly catch it in its mouth. Come closer, pick up the object and throw it again not far away.

Repeat this a few times. Soon your cat will realize that you are playing with him and will bring you the object. Give him a treat when he does. If you don’t have treats on hand, you gush and praise him effusively.

How to train a cat to do tricks

Needless to say, cats are adorable. But they are even more so if they do cute things or tricks. If you want to teach them some, you must follow these steps:

1. Use delicious treats

Training a pussycat is not the same as training a dog.

The dog wants you to be happy with him and that is why he learns tricks; On the other hand, if you want to train a feline, it is essential that you respect its independence and offer it attractive reasons why it should listen to you.

Dry cat food granules will not work for you, nor will you praise it excessively, because kittens are not as interested in this as dogs.

The key is to use high-quality treats that your pet likes, such as chunks of fresh tuna or chicken or cat mint.

2. Make sure your cat participates

Before teaching your kitty a new trick, you need to make sure she knows that you want to teach her something. For it:

  • Hold the treat in front of its snout, this way it understands that there is a possible prize for them.
  • Move the treat very slowly in your hand over and behind his head, you have to keep doing this until he lifts his head up and sits down.
  • You should praise your feline and give him the treat the moment he performs the “trick” of sitting down.

3. Use a clicker

If you don’t have a clicker, you can use a retractable pen, as it makes a very similar noise. Each time you use the clicker, reward your pet with a treat, in this way he will associate this sound with receiving a treat.

Later, use the clicker and reward him whenever he performs a new trick, such as chasing a stick when you throw it. As time goes on, your kitty will respond when you throw the stick and click the clicker.

4. Keep training and play sessions short

You must bear in mind that your kitten will get tired, for this reason it is important that you do play and training sessions of about 15 minutes, once or twice every day.

5. Respect your cat

By having a kitten you should surely know that your friend is very independent and has unique personality characteristics. Don’t force your feline to do a trick that he doesn’t feel like doing.

There are certain cats that can learn to use the toilet and flush, some can even put themselves on your shoulder as you walk around your home, but there are also others who will not want to be touched or disturbed.

It is essential that you learn to live with your kitten, in this way the two of you will get something out of this relationship.

Tips for educating a cat

There are kittens that are somewhat mischievous and playful, especially when they are little and even more when they are “teenagers”.

That is why it is essential that you know some techniques to use, such as, for example, educating through positive reinforcement in cats, this is very useful to know how to educate a pussycat since it is a puppy.

We are going to give you some practical tips to educate your cat :

  1. You always have to reward them: if your pet carries out the goal you wanted to achieve, you must be very attentive and reward them(you can give them a piece of its favourite food, a treat, etc.). These series of positive incentives are essential for your feline understand what you are asking.
  2. Use a  clicker: these devices make a specific sound and can be found at a vet or pet store. If you usually call your kitten with a clicker, you will get them to associate the sound with them and in this way it will always come when you call them.
  3. No distractions : when you are training your kitten you must give them your full attention. That is why we recommend that you put your mobile on silent, that you turn off the television and that you focus on what you are teaching. This way it will realize that you are paying attention to them and that you want to say something to them.
  4. 10 minutes a day: it is the ideal time that you have to dedicate in educating the cat. Do not spend more time, since your pet will get tired and will not listen to you. It is essential that you have a clear objective and that you are tenacious. If you want to get your pet to learn, it is important that you go teaching after teaching.
  5. Try not to give your kitten too many treats , because if you do, it will make them get used to the treats a lot and they will not serve as prizes. Eating a lot of sweets can also make you obese, and this is a serious health problem.
  6. Training a puppy is easier, but you can also train an adult cat. To do this, it is important that you get your favourite treats. When your kitty does what you want, remember that you should reward him with a treat and also praise him.
  7. Every time your feline behaves as you want it is important that you reward him with caresses or kind words and that you reward them with food, in this way he will understand that this is good and that, therefore, it has to do it.
  8. If your kitty scratches you to make you listen to them, you must totally ignore them, so it will learn that if it scratches it does nothing. However, it is essential that you reward them when it behaves well, such as approaching you calmly.
  9. If your cat shows a behaviour that is not to your liking, do not scold or punish them, since sometimes your kitten wants to get your attention and, even if you punish them, it will continue to do so because what it wants to achieve is that you pay attention to them. So, it is important that you spend more time with them and that you pet them or play with them.
  10. Sometimes you can use the No, but only if you surprise your kitty red-handed , because if you don’t tell them you won’t achieve anything. However, you can only use a low tone of voice , but you never have to corner them, scare them or physically punish them.

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