Training tips for cats The purr-fect experience

Training your cat: four golden rules

Easy ways to get your cat doing the things you want – like using the litter box – and not doing the things you don’t, like scratching your sofa to shreds

Cats respond to training very differently to dogs: the best way to train your cat is to make sure that whatever you want to teach her is extremely rewarding and pleasurable.

Many cat owners unintentionally reward their cats for bad behaviour. Take the early morning pouncing habit for example. What do some cat owners do when their cat jumps on the bed at five in the morning? They get up, feed her, play with her or let her outside. So without knowing it, they have trained their cat to wake them up.

Another classic example is punishing cats after they’ve had a mishap on the carpet. A lot of owners grab the cat, point out the wet spot and put her in the litter box. This only reinforces the idea that being reached for is a bad experience and that the litter box is a chamber of horrors.

Whether you want to stop cat behavioural problems before they start or train your feline friend to change her ways, the principles are the same.

Avoid reprimands and punishments

Cats react badly to punishment. They don’t understand it, and tend to become frightened of the owner. Try to make your relationship fun, rewarding and playful instead. Sometimes this change alone will do wonders to your cat’s behaviour.

Make time for playtime

Cats can easily become overly active and destructive when they’re bored. And if they suddenly become destructive, it could be a sign that they feel neglected. To set things straight again, simply make time for regular play sessions and relaxing massages to calm your cat down.


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Make bad behaviour a bad experience

Furniture scratching is one of the biggest cat habits to tackle. It’s important to make your cat’s scratching post rewarding, but you also need to change your furniture into an unattractive clawing item. One way of doing this is to temporarily cover your cat’s favourite scratching site with silver foil, netting or loosely woven fabric – cats don’t like the noise the foil makes and don’t like snagging their claws.

If your cat shows no interest in their brand-new scratching post, it’s up to you to make it as attractive as possible. Lure her in by scattering bits of food on the platforms, let toys dangle down or rub the post down with catnip.

Praise, praise and praise some more

Remember your cat learns best through rewards, praise and positive reinforcement.

More advice

Trying to train a new kitten to get on with an existing cat or dog? Don’t miss our tips on how to avoid pet hates.

We’ve also got lots of tips on feeding.

Have you got any advice on training a cat? Please use the comments section below.

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You can watch the Simon's Cat cartoons on Youtube for a good look at cat behaviour!

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It sounds weird but I'm glad my old cat went on the floor, as I agree with Luanda111 that toilet mishaps may be a medical thing. My cat never had a problem in that area, so when he started peeing on the floor I knew something wasn't right. There was small traces of blood in his urine, which I would not have noticed if he hadn't gone on the floor. Straight to the vet and one big bladder stone removal later, he stopped going on the floor. Happy cat ��

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Cats are well known for being pretty unattainable but with treats and lots of time you can train them to do a few tricks, treats are the key answer!! If you can start them young you can easily teach them to high five or tap your hand for a treat by holding the treat in your closed hand and rewarding them with it when they paw you.Sadly my most recent cat is an older rescue cat and will not play ball XD well no need when he has the kids trained to give him treats

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Mishap on the carpet is always a sign. It can mean the cat litter is dirty. Use clumping litter and clean daily. If it smells you do it wrong. Cats with bladder or kidney problems mishap on the carpet, because they want to tell you, they need medical help. If your cat goes to toilet too often ( more than 8 times a day) book an appointment by the vet.

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When I got my rescue cat she quickly discovered she liked to scratch my sofa, so I bought a scratching pole and when she used it (even just a little bit) I rewarded her with cat treats, she would then go out and come back in again and scratch to see if she would get treats, which she did, within one day she stopped scratching the sofa!, she gets through about 2 scratching poles a year and loves her treats but leaves my sofa alone!

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