Tricks to teach your kitten

3 Cat Tricks To Teach During Kitten Training

It’s high time the myth that cats can’t follow commands was busted. Karen Cornish explains that your feline friend is quite willing to learn, and asks an expert for the steps you should follow. Plus, we give you step-by-step instructions for tricks to try out with your kitten.


Can you train your cat?

There are cats all over the world that will come when called, sit when asked and can even be taught to give their owners a high-five, but for some reason the perception of cats as ‘un-trainable’ persists. The good news is that most cats – even the most independent – are easy to communicate with and more than capable of learning new skills. All it takes is the right incentive.

‘Unfortunately, our feline friends are often wrongly viewed as disobedient and stubborn – when, in fact, they are supremely intelligent and extremely trainable,’ says Kim Houston, one of the UK’s leading cat behaviorists. ‘However, the key to training them lies in understanding what motivates them, and using positive, reward-based techniques.’

Training not only helps to keep your cat’s mind as agile as his or her body, but can also help to strengthen your bond. And in the case of recall – or coming on command – it might even help to draw your cat away from potentially dangerous situations.

A dog-on approach

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Anna Webb, the co-host of BBC Radio London’s The Barking Hour, who is also a dog trainer and an animal nutritionist, began cat training by accident when a stray kitten moved into her home.

The tiny black-and-white cat appeared five years ago in the garden of Anna’s London flat. Despite first being soundly barked at by her Bull Terrier, Molly, the kitten was determined to stay.

‘After three days he was still in the garden,’ Anna recalls. ‘He started watching us through the window and then began tapping the glass to get our attention!’ Anna had never owned a cat before but, when attempts to find the kitten’s owner were unsuccessful, she christened him Gremlin and he moved in for good, soon becoming the best of friends with Molly.

‘I’ve always had dogs and had no idea what to do with a cat,’ Anna admits. ‘So I treated Gremlin like a dog, as that was all I knew – and that meant training him. He started watching my sessions with Molly and quickly learnt how she earns her treats. Molly always works for her food, and that’s how she, and Gremlin, became trained to such a high standard.’

Gremlin began mimicking Molly and was soon taking treats from Anna’s hand, too. In no time he had mastered a reliable recall, would sit on command and even learnt to give great high-fives. Then, when they later moved to the Buckinghamshire countryside, Gremlin also began joining Anna and Molly on their walks – much to the local villagers’ amusement.

‘I think a lot of cat owners have this idea that their moggie won’t respond to commands, and it prevents them from trying any training techniques,’ Anna says. ‘I didn’t have any preconceptions, and just approached Gremlin as I would any other pet. Happily, his response has been astounding.’

Click and treat

So how do you train your own cat to the same level? Kim recommends clicker training as the most effective way to teach cats. A clicker is a small plastic device that makes a distinct sound. You can put it into action by ‘clicking’ it every time your cat performs the behaviour you want (for example, coming when called) and then giving a reward.

‘Your cat learns to associate the sound of the clicker with a treat,’ Kim explains. ‘Cats’ natural instincts compel them to hunt – to work for their food – and they’re generally food-motivated. So always make sure the click is followed by an immediate edible reward. For the best chance of success, it’s important to find extra-special treats, such as small pieces of cooked chicken.’ Keep in mind that when rewarding your cat in this way, you’ll need to monitor her overall intake of calories.

‘You’ll find that clicker training is fun and stimulating for your cat and, helpfully, it can also improve any less-welcome behaviours,’ Kim says. ‘I’ve used the same technique to teach cats to enter their travel baskets with ease, where previously they were too frightened or reluctant to even approach the carrier.’

Gain from training

Teaching a cat to sit or give a paw is simply expanding their natural abilities, and most cats will be happy to do this with the right motivation. However, it’s key that you approach training sessions in the right way. Never punish your cat for getting something wrong, or force them to do something while training. Keep your sessions short: no longer than five minutes, and always finish on a positive note by making sure your cat is still enjoying the activity and hasn’t lost interest or become irritated, before you end it.

Another good tip from Kim is to choose times for training when your cat isn’t tired or distracted, but is a little hungry. That way, treats will seem all the more appealing.

As a bonus, the time you spend with your cat while training is a brilliant way of strengthening your bond together. Investing time and effort in these sessions is well worth the reward; you’ll not only be stimulating your cat’s mind and enriching his or her life, but you’ll also actively be having fun together with your pet. And that may really be something worth high-fiving about.

THREE TRICKS TO TRY WITH YOUR KITTEN

5 Easy Tricks To Teach Your Cat - All About Cats

1. Fetch

  • To teach your cat to fetch, rub some of the water from a can of tuna on her favourite toy and throw it just out of reach. This will engage their natural hunting skills.
  • If your cat walks to the toy or picks it up, ‘click’ and give a treat. Be patient – it may take a few sessions for your cat to get the idea.
  • If your cat brings the toy towards you, click and treat. Your cat will then release the toy to eat the treat. Once he or she is reliably retrieving the toy, you can add the cue word ‘fetch’ each time you throw it.

2. Sit

  • Sit on the floor with a clicker in one hand (out of your cat’s sight) and a treat in the other. Then call your cat to you.
  • Hold the treat slightly above your cat’s head. As a cat’s eyes follow the treat, they’ll automatically take a sitting position. Then ‘click’ and reward.
  • As your cat becomes more proficient, reward him or her only for a very good sitting position. When your pet is reliably sitting nine times out of 10, start adding the cue word ‘sit’.

3. High-five

  • Call your cat to you, encouraging recall by using a high-value reward such as a piece of chicken.
  • You can then start to engage your cat’s natural ‘paw’ action by getting him or her to reach up for the treat. Hold the piece of chicken above your cat’s nose, and wait for them to reach up with a paw. When they do so, add a command word like ‘tap’, then praise and reward.
  • Practise this daily, as a fun game with your cat, and you’ll soon be receiving high-fives on command.

Why Do Felines Love Cat Trees

Why Do Felines Love Cat Trees

Why Do Felines Love Cat Trees

Perching isn’t just for the birds. Have you ever noticed how your kitty loves to climb up cat trees? Let’s look at why cats love an indoor tree with a view!

Indoor kitties who don’t have access to real trees have man-made “cat trees” that they love to climb up and spend time on. Perched high atop their cat tree, they can nap, play, and relax as they watch everything that’s going on.

But why do so many cats enjoy being in high places around your home, looking down upon their domain and surveying everything beneath them? Is it so they can feel more powerful, or is there more to it?

Cats Use Height for Safety

Cats who live outside may choose to climb up trees in order to be able to observe what’s going on around them from a safe place. They may also use a tree to target prey or get away from predators. And your indoor kitty has these same instincts.

By climbing high up onto her cat tree, your kitty can perch and check out her surroundings, and she can also get away from other cats in the house. In fact, a cat tree might be a good way to reduce feline conflicts in your home because it gives them a place to escape to.

Shy Felines Feel More Confident

Kitties who are timid could benefit from a cat tree, as they can climb high to check out their environment and easily see what’s going on around them without fear.

If your cat often hides and avoids coming out into the open, setting up a tree with a high perch or hideaway could give her the ideal place to feel secure. You might even find that your cat has no problem spending time with the family when she’s in her cat tree, so she may be less likely to hide under your bed.

More Territory for Your Kitty

The horizontal territory is important to your cat, but a vertical tree will provide convenient and desirable vertical territory. This will serve to increase her living area and give her more space.

If you have more than one cat but they don’t necessarily like to spend time together in close spaces, a cat tree could be a great solution. A large tree with multiple levels, hideaways, and perches can easily be shared while giving each cat the space she prefers.

Enrichment for a Happy Feline

Put simply, felines love cat trees because they’re a lot of fun to climb. Kittens and adults like using their bodies to balance and reach high places, and it’s a great form of exercise.

If you purchase a cat tree with scratching posts built-in, your cat can scratch away and may not feel the need to go after your furniture. And if it has hideaways, your pet will gladly take advantage of the additional privacy whenever she wants some quiet time.

Article by: Lisa Selvaggio

Top 10 Responsibilities of a Pet Owner

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As February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, now is a great time to take stock of ourselves as pet parents or as prospective pet parents. If you are currently caring for a pet, it’s essential to look introspectively to determine whether you’re providing the best quality of care to your furry, scaley, or feathered friend.

Remember you have a responsibility to care for your pet, but it’s also a privilege and should be treated as such. Here are our thoughts on the top 10 responsibilities of a pet owner:

Give Them Regular Exercise
Some pets will need more exercise than others. Dogs often require plenty of time outdoors from going on walks to playing in the park to burn off excess energy. For cats, these furry friends prefer to get their daily exercise by chasing and swatting at cat toys.

Schedule Annual Check-Ups
Taking your beloved friend to the vet for an annual wellness visit is critical to keep them in good health. A yearly checkup also provides the opportunity to spot any medical issues before they become significant problems. A veterinary professional will thoroughly examine your pet to ensure that they are feeling their absolute best. Annual vet visits are also essential to get regular vaccines and various medications such as flea and heartworm preventatives.

Socialize Your Pet

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Socialization is critical for a happy and healthy furry friend. Many animals are accustomed to living in packs. Meeting and getting to know others can boost your pet’s confidence and can help ease or even eliminate any nervous or anxious tendencies.

Feed Them Properly
A proper, healthy diet is vital to providing your pet with the best level of care. The type of animal you have, along with dozens of other factors, can drastically impact the type of food your pet should be consuming. These other factors include age, weight, allergies, and exercise levels. If you are unsure of what kind of food is best for your beloved friend, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.

Keep Them Safe
Being a responsible pet parent also means providing the best level of safety for your friend. This means taking extra precautions in your home, outside of your home, as well as implementing additional safeguards in case your pet runs away from home. Inside your house, it’s essential to pet-proof any room that they can roam around in. This can mean ensuring that any personal medications are put safely away out of reach, and harmful household products are tucked away. Pet tags and microchips are vital in case your pet ever escapes your home or yard and gets lost. With proper and current identification, your furry friend has an increased chance of reunification with their family!

Dental Health

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Have your furry friend’s teeth professionally cleaned regularly to help maintain their good health. It Practicing good dental hygiene habits at home is also just as important! Cats and dogs need to have their teeth brushed regularly with animal-friendly toothpaste. It may not be a pleasant feat for either you or your pet, but it’s necessary to prevent dental disease. If you need more tips on maintaining your pet’s dental health, read our blog on proper dental care techniques for your pet.

Proper Training
Training builds trust and mutual respect and can be an enjoyable bonding experience for both you and your beloved friend. Dogs, especially puppies, thrive by being trained and learning new tricks.

Pick Up After Your Pet
Being a responsible pet owner means also being respectful to those around you. Whenever your animal goes outside and leaves little presents, whether on a walk or in the backyard, be sure to pick up their “gifts” in a timely matter. Not only are they unpleasant to see or worse, step on, they also carry germs that could harm other individuals and animals around you.

Spay or Neuter
Unfortunately, there are more animals in shelters than loving homes that are willing and able to take them in. Spaying or neutering your pet can help reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters or euthanized and has many health benefits that also can help pets live happy and healthy lives!

Give Them Plenty of Love
When you take a pet into your home, you’re gaining an extra member of the family. These animals have endless and steadfast love to give you while asking for little in return. It’s our responsibility to make sure we honor and match their love every day by caring for them, providing for them, and giving them plenty of TLC and snuggles!

While these are just 10 responsibilities of a pet owner, the list could go on forever. Being a pet parent is a big commitment, but it is always worth it. We know – we’ve made caring for pets our career! Contact us for more information.

Here’s How to Train a Cat to Do 5 Life-Changing Things

Yes! You can train a cat to come on command, use a toilet, and more—and it’s all much easier than you thought.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

A girl with a pet cat on her lap.

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First things first: Never punish

Cats simply won’t learn from what some owners would consider “discipline.” Worse yet, “punishing” your cat can induce stress, leading to behavioral and health problems—not something you want to deal with in cat training. Remember that patience and positive reinforcement are essential if you’re learning how to train a cat.

train cat treats

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Next: Get a clicker—and treats

Commonly used as training tools for a wide variety of animals, a clicker will set you back just a couple bucks and help you give positive reinforcement when you’re learning how to train a cat. (You can also use a regular pen with a clicky button—the important thing is to have a distinct noise you can make instantly.) Most cat training involves offering your cat a treat it likes following a click to mark the desired behavior. These tactics also work when it comes to giving your cat a pill. Without the clicker, your cat may be confused about why it’s being rewarded: If it obeys a command, hears the click, and then gets a treat, it’s more likely to catch on. To keep your cat from scratching you, follow these tips.

tabby cat indoors

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How to train a cat to: Come on command

Cats can learn to respond to a vocal cue and run your way. (The ASPCA notes that you might use this skill to bring your cat in should it dash out unexpectedly.) This step of how to train a cat starts by making a distinct noise before feeding—before you open a bag or can—like vocally call your cat, or click your tongue. Your pet will learn to associate that noise with something positive (food) and will eventually head to you when it hears it. Then, encourage this behavior outside of normal feeding times. Start from short distances. Make the noise, use your clicker when your cat comes, and then reward your pet with the treat. Over time, call the cat from longer distances. The ASPCA recommends up to two “cat training sessions” a day, for five minutes or less, during which you should repeat the behavior up to 20 times. Here’s how to tell how smart your cat is, by the way.

train cat use a toilet

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How to train a cat to: Use a toilet

Training a cat to use the toilet definitely takes some work, but think of the benefits: You’ll save on litter and enjoy a cleaner home. First, place a litter box adjacent to your toilet. Then gradually bring it closer and closer to the top of seat—you might need a stool to make the process easier on the cat. Once your pet is accustomed to using a litter box on top of the toilet, transition to a special litter box that fits within the toilet itself. (Buy flushable litter, and expect spillover.) Gradually use less and less litter to get your cat accustomed to doing its business without it, and then, remove the litter box entirely. If you hate cleaning up cat poo, try one of these self-cleaning litter boxes that will clean the mess up for you.

Holding Paws

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How to train a cat to: Shake hands

This cat training is simpler than you might expect: Get a treat ready, then align yourself to the same level as your cat. Tap your cat’s paw while saying “shake,” and use your clicker when it moves its paw. Repeat training until your cat offers its paw in response to the “shake” command without tapping. Like the “come on command” trick, this can take a few training sessions over the course of a couple of days. Once this skill is mastered, your cat will be well-behaved and ready to star in some internet cat memes.

train cat shake hands

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How to train a cat to: Beg

This is similar to the “shake hands” trick. Hold a treat just above your cat’s head and give a “beg” command. Your pet should stand on its hind legs and reach up for the snack; click to mark the behavior and then give your cat its treat. Practice until your cat begs on command without needing a treat dangled overhead. If you really want to learn how to train a cat well, make sure you always reward your pet—but never feed your cat milk.

Outdoor cat on a leash

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How to train a cat to: Walk on a leash

Get a harness with a leash that attaches at the cat’s back, not its neck. The ASPCA recommends that before putting it on you leave it out for a few days in areas where your cat goes, like its feeding area or favorite sleeping spot, so that the animal is accustomed to the sight of it. Next, you’ll transition to draping the harness over the cat (without fully attaching it) when giving it a treat. You’ll eventually move to securing the harness around the cat without the leash—leave it on your cat for a couple of minutes at first, then increase the time over the course of days. Once your pet is comfortable with the harness, attach the leash to it, and let your cat wander freely inside with it. After a few days, start holding the leash during training. Then: Ease into the great outdoors! Make sure you let your cat take its time exploring a new area, and start somewhere quiet. Now that you know how to train your cat properly, make sure you don’t make these common cat owner mistakes.

How to Stop Bad Behavior in Kittens

Brown and white kitten sitting on blue couch with yellow and white throw pillows behind spray bottle

Kittens, like children, must be taught how to live in your home, and it’s up to you to set the rules. Once you’ve done so, you’ll need to provide your kitten with the means to follow them. For example, if you want your kitten to sleep in its own bed, you’ll have to purchase, or make, an appropriate sleeping place for it.

You’ll need to teach your kitten to follow your rules. As with any pet, teaching involves combining rewards for good behavior and consequences for undesirable behavior. Patience is key when training a kitten.

Why Do Kittens Misbehave?

Kittens are like babies. The are constantly learning about the world around them and what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t through positive and negative reinforcement. When your kitten misbehaves, it’s not trying to be “bad.” It’s simply learning how to behave.

Most kittens are happy to use a litter box and scratching post. Sometimes kittens are unwilling or unable to do one or the other. Occasionally, they start using the litter box and scratching post properly and then suddenly stop doing so.

Much of kitten or cat discipline involves troubleshooting to discover the reason for the undesirable behavior and then correcting the situations that caused it.1

Scratching and Clawing

Kittens and cats should keep their claws and they need to scratch to keep their claws healthy. The trick is to redirect them from furniture and other objects to more appropriate surfaces for them to sharpen their claws. The key is teaching the kitten to avoid destructive scratching.

Litter Box Training

Most kittens readily adapt to a litter box, especially if they were raised with a mother cat. Otherwise, it’s usually easy to train a kitten to use the box. Make sure the box is easily accessible, filled with good-quality litter, and cleaned at least once a day. Immediately after a meal, place your kitten in the box. You may have to demonstrate by guiding its paw for a few scratches in the litter, but the kitty will quickly get the idea. Chances are, under proper circumstances, your kitten will not make mistakes and learn to use the box regularly. In the rare event your kitten doesn’t take to the box, poor litter box maintenance may be the cause. 

Brown and tan kitten standing inside litter box for training
 The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Chewing and Biting

Like human babies, kittens examine everything with their mouths, especially when they’re teething. As with toddlers, it’s important to keep harmful items out of kittens’ reach. Kittens love to “play fight,” and if other cats aren’t around to accommodate them, they’ll settle for the nearest human hand or ankle, especially if you’ve encouraged this form of play early on.2 They also might chew on houseplants if they are in reach.

Brown and tan kitten biting owner's finger
 The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Jumping

Kittens love heights, and many are expert jumpers. They can hurl themselves upward with little notice and seemingly little effort. Problems occur when they frequently jump on a tabletop or a countertop that you prefer they avoided.

Nighttime Behavior

Cats and especially kittens can exhibit overactive behavior at night. Most cats will be awake and active at night, but the key is teaching them to leave you alone and how to go back to sleep.

Attention Seeking Disobedience

Some kittens are especially rambunctious. While kittens are expected to be curious and playful, some can escalate these traits to bad behavior. They are likely seeking attention from their owners or are bored and under-stimulated (or both).3

How to Stop Bad Behavior

There are numerous humane effective techniques for expressing your displeasure with a cat. It’s always wise to check with your vet to make sure there isn’t a health issue causing the bad behavior. One simple option is to keep a spray bottle filled with water handy. This can help when you see bad behavior in action. Give your kitten a little squirt to discourage the behavior.

Provide Scratching Posts

To stop your cat scratching furniture or other places it doesn’t belong, provide desirable scratching surfaces. Scratching posts vary in price and style and provide a selection of scratching surfaces for your kitten. One popular and inexpensive option is a corrugated cardboard model. Adding a small amount of catnip to the scratch post can make it more attractive for your cat. For a variety of healthy scratching options, offer as many scratchers as you can afford and/or have room for.

Brown and tan kitten holding on to scratching post with owner holding the top
 The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Manage Your Kitten’s Claws

While harmful to your kitten’s health to have it declawed, it’s a good idea to trim those needle-sharp claws from time to time.4 Not only will this make destructive scratching less of an issue, but it will also lessen the chance that you’ll be scratched by an energetic feline playmate. Another option is to use plastic nail caps. They are easy to apply and do not interfere with the normal extension and retraction of your cat’s claws.

Keep the Litter Box Clean

Because litter box avoidance is a major cause of surrenders of cats to shelters,5 it’s important to provide your cat with an immaculately clean litter box. Another option is to spray your kitten’s litter box with an attractive scent, such as Cat Attract, which is sold at pet stores. Provide multiple boxes for your cat. You also may need to try several brands and types of litter. Some cats avoid covered litter boxes, while others prefer the privacy they provide. Be sure there are no underlying health issues, such as a urinary tract infection, that may be causing your kitten to miss the litter box. Your veterinarian should be able to easily rule out this and other illnesses with a simple urinalysis.

Avoid Play Fighting

While play fighting with your kitten can be fun, it can escalate. Kittens learn to inhibit the severity of biting and scratching from their litter-mates and mother.6 If they bite or scratch too hard, they will be reprimanded with a growl or hiss and an equally rough swat or bite right back. If your kitten was separated from its family too early, it may not have learned proper play fighting behavior. Consider wearing gloves, using toys instead of hands, or simply walking away if your kitten gets too rough. This will help the cat learn to avoid biting or scratching, even in play. Remove tempting plants or put them in an area that is off-limits to your kitten.

Set Boundaries for Jumping

Ideally, you’ll have rules in mind for your kitten before it starts leaping. Which counters, couches, and shelves are fair game? Which are off-limits? A simple training method involves praising and petting your kitten when it leaps onto acceptable surfaces while scolding and removing it from unacceptable surfaces. The spray bottle can help train your kitten to stay off specific surfaces. Double-sided sticky tape can discourage some cats from jumping as they dislike the feel of the tape on their paws. Providing alternative climbing surfaces, such as a cat tree, may also help reduce the chance of your cat jumping on your countertops.

Daytime Activity

Plan on some interactive play sessions with your kitten in the evening. Keep playing until your kitten seems to tire. Feed them a bigger meal before bedtime; most cats sleep after eating. Keep your cat busy during the day with playful and challenging toys or puzzles.

Brown and tan kitten laying on rug and playing with small mouse toy
 The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Stopping Attention Seeking Disobedience

Always play with your kitten every day. Some extra quality time may be helpful in stopping the bad behavior. Disobedient cats may also be bored, so provide stimulation and exercise. Finally, praise the cat when it is being good. Use kind words, gentle petting, and treats to reinforce good behavior.

Techniques for Obedience Training Your Kitten

Keep training sessions short. Focus on one command at a time, and once mastered, move on to the next. Practice the commands in lots of different places around the house so that she gets used to responding to you in all sorts of situations. You can use the clicker technique to help with other aspects of your kitten’s training, such as encouraging her to stand still for grooming and getting her used to traveling by car.

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We all know that dogs can be taught to obey basic commands, but what about your cat? Cats are more independent and less social than dogs, so they don’t desire praise in the same way dogs do. But as you already know, cats are highly intelligent animals, and they have the ability to learn a variety of behaviors and tricks.

Training a Kitten

It’s important to begin training your kitten as soon as possible so she’ll be able to grow up to learn and respect the boundaries of your home. You don’t want your cat to be digging in the trash, tearing up your furniture or constantly jumping up on your counter. Kitten obedience training will help keep her mind and body active, teach her good social skills and behaviors, and strengthen her bond with you.When training your kitten, it is essential to have plenty of toys at her disposal. If she starts doing something she’s not supposed to, redirect her attention to the toys. Provide them to her as a reward for avoiding bad behaviors. Having toys to play with will keep your kitten mentally and physically occupied. You can also sprinkle them with catnip to further entice her to play.

Common Cat Behavioral Problems

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There are several common cat behaviors that can be addressed through obedience training, saving you a world of headaches and keeping you in tune with your cat’s needs.

  • Furniture scratching
  • Spraying and urinating
  • Avoiding the litter box
  • Aggression toward people or other animals
  • Stress
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Compulsive behaviors, such as over-grooming or excessively scratching or biting

How to Train a Cat

If you’re lucky, your cat will be willing and eager to learn your commands. However, there’s a chance she’ll ignore you. Every cat is different, and training can be extremely trying on your patience. Make sure to carve out small amounts of time each day to spend working with her. If you have other cats in your home, remember that they each have different personalities and have to be taught differently.

Be aware that cats do not understand or respond well to punishment. Punishment will often cause your cat to run away and hide from you, and can lead to stress, which can also breed behavioral and health problems. Encouraging good behavior with a reward is much more effective, and that reward can come in the form of praise and/or a tasty treat. This reward-based training teaches your cat to associate good behavior with positive results.

One of the most common cat training techniques is clicker training, which is another form of reward-based training. For instance, if you’d like to teach your cat to sit, click the clicker as soon as she sits down and give her a small treat. Eventually, with enough repetition, she will learn to associate the click with the behavior and the reward.

Keep training sessions short—cats have short attention spans and can get bored fast. Focus on one command at a time and move on to the next when she’s mastered the first. Practice the commands in different areas of the house so that she gets used to responding to you in different situations.

How to Address Bad Behavior in Your Cat

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There could be several reasons why your cat is acting out—she might be stressed over a new change in your home, she might have a medical condition or she simply may not understand that her behavior is wrong. While you may think that your cat is misbehaving because she’s upset or spiteful toward you, this is usually not the case.

Redirecting the behavior instead of punishing her for it is more likely to put her back on track. By punishing her, she may feel threatened by you, which can ultimately lead to even more stress and bad habits. If she is fearful of you, this will also damage your bond with one another. However, she should be made aware of unwanted behaviors. One way of doing this is by connecting bad behaviors with something unpleasant. For instance, cats are averse to certain scents like perfume and citrus. You can soak cotton balls in these scents to keep your cat away from places you don’t want her to go. Always remember to praise your cat for good behaviors as well. Give her a treat for a job well done, and she will learn to associate her actions with her rewards.

Kitten Training Tips and Treat Rewards

Cat Training: 7 Commands to Teach Your Cat | Daily Paws

It’s a common misconception that cats can’t be trained. While cats may outwardly seem less responsive to training than dogs, cats are actually receptive to various training methods. Cat training is especially effective when you start training during kittenhood. 

Ultimately, training your kitten is about bonding with them and understanding their motivation. Kittens can be independent, so training often takes patience and creativity.

Whether you’re wondering how to keep cats off counters and tables or hoping to teach your kitten a few new tricks, there are steps you can take to make the training process simple and enjoyable.  

Use Plenty of Treats

Using food-based rewards can be a powerful tool when training your kitten. Once you’ve socialized your kitten with humans and other pets, you can begin the training process by determining which treats tickle your cat’s fancy.

When you choose the right treat, use positive reinforcement to train your cat. Paired with their favorite reward, spoken cues and verbal affirmations are effective ways to guide your cat toward the behavior you want to reinforce. 

Steps for successful treat-based training include: 

Training before meals. Use the time directly before each meal to work on new behaviors with your kitten. When they’re hungry, kittens and cats are much more receptive to training. Never deny your cat food. Rather, use mealtime to hold your kitten’s attention and increase the power of your treats.

Eliminate distractions. Background noise, such as TV conversations or the stereo, can pull your kitten’s focus away from you — especially when they are young. Try to train in a quiet place whenever possible.

Keep training brief. Keep your kitty training sessions under 15 minutes. Cats get bored quite easily. Don’t let your sessions run long enough to become dull for your kitten. 

Be consistent. Always use the same signals and cues. But don’t be afraid to switch up the type of treat you use to keep things fresh for your little student.

Tackle one skill at a time. For kittens and puppies alike, it’s most effective to focus on one skill at a time. Overloading your kitten will make training stressful and unproductive. Always master one skill before moving on to another.

Be patient. When using treats, be patient. Don’t start until you know you have your kitten’s attention. Be open to pausing your session if your kitten gets distracted.

The 10 Best Types of Cat

It’s long been a running joke in the Britannica offices that we should compile a list of “best cats”—this is the internet, after all. Two intrepid and cat-crazy editors have finally taken on this task for your enjoyment. After much considered debate, we present you a definitive list of best cats, according to us.

Polydactyl

cat. Polydactyl cat (hyperdactyly) has more than the usual number of toes on paw or paws. Grey tabby cat, grey tiger, domestic cat
  • Let’s be real, polydactyl cats give the best high-fives. Errr, high-sixes. Also known as “mitten cats” or “thumb cats,” polydactyls have a genetic mutation that gives them more than the usual number of toes on one or more feet. Polydactyl cats can have anywhere from six to eight toes per paw. The extra toes sometimes make them look like their paws have thumbs. While polydactyly can happen in many different animals (including humans), it’s arguably cutest in cats. Writer Ernest Hemingway certainly thought so—he himself was a polydactyl owner, and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is now home to some 50 polydactyl cats.

Snowshoe

Snowshoe cat.
  • With its white muzzle and feet, dark “points,” and blue eyes, the Snowshoe looks like what it was bred from: a Siamese with white “boots” that turned up in the litter of a Siamese breeder in Philadelphia in the 1960s. The particular Snowshoe look is difficult to breed, so registered purebred Snowshoe cats are rare. But there are many cats in shelters who have some or all of its traits, such as the white paws, dark mask, and beautiful blue eyes—so if you’re interested in this kind of cat, you can always get “the look for less.”

Calico

cat. Alison's cat. An orange, black and white Calico cat. Alison Eldridge's domestic cat
  • It is impossible to clone a calico cat with the same markings, because of the random activation of genes. The necessary traits for calico patterning are on the X-chromosome, therefore nearly all calico cats are female. Male calico cats are few and far between, and can only exist as a result of genetic defect.

British Shorthair

cat. Male British Shorthair cat. domestic cat, grey, British Blue
  • The British Shorthair is known for both its looks and its typically easygoing and fun-loving personality. The appealing chunkiness of its face and body and its plush, thick fur match its sturdy temperament. The wide-cheeked faces of British Shorthairs appear to be smiling and more expressive than many cat breeds’, and it’s said that they were the inspiration for the wide-grinning Cheshire Cat of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. British Shorthairs are reputed to be doglike in their readiness for fun and games, such as fetching.

Siamese

Siamese cat
  • Who can resist the Siamese cat’s pretty blue eyes? These cats have been valued for their unique patterning and outspoken personalities for centuries. Long a status symbol, Siamese cats have been given to dignitaries as gifts. They made their U.S. debut in 1878 when one was given to President Rutherford B. Hayes and his wife by an American consul. These cats are especially known as being very vocal—their loud meows are sometimes mistaken for babies crying!

Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest cat, silver patched tabby.
  • If you like hugging a cat who’s a big armload of fur and can take what you dish out, then the Norwegian Forest Cat is for you. A big cat with big paws and lots of fur, the Norwegian is like a Maine Coon cat’s Viking cousin. The large, muscular, affectionate, and calm Norwegian has a dense and water-resistant double coat and tufted toes and ears, making it the perfect companion for snowshoeing, raiding neighboring countries, and standing atop the dragon head on the prow of a Viking ship.

Japanese Bobtail

Japanese Bobtail, mi-ke (tricolour).
  • Japanese Bobtails are like cats on the front end and rabbits on the back end. Just let that sink in for a minute. It’s almost too cute to handle. Kitties with bunny tails? Sign me up. These adorable critters are native to Japan, and have been around long enough to score appearances in traditional art. Unlike most dogs with “docked” tails, Japanese Bobtails come by their stubby tails naturally. The genetic mutation that causes the tail reduces the number of vertebrae present. And did I mention they like to play fetch?

Persian

cat. orange and white persian cat with long hair, snarl, growl, teeth
  • Fur, fur, fur. The Persians (called Longhairs outside the U.S.) are perhaps the quintessential “luxury” cat—that is, the cat who expects to be kept in the lap of luxury. They are, however, the most popular cat breed in the world. Although they are known for the pushed-in “Pekingese” nose that many are bred for, arguably the best part of these cats is their pettability. All that fur needs a lot of daily grooming, however, and Persians are prone to kidney disease, so they need frequent ultrasounds.

Scottish Fold

The Scottish fold is a domestic breed of cat known for its folded ears. This trait is produced by a genetic mutation that affects the ear cartilage, causing it to bend forward and down.
  • While his ears are relatively straight, internet sensation Maru is a Scottish Fold, a breed of cat usually characterized by ears that fold forward and down. The first Scottish Fold was a barn cat discovered in 1961. For show, Scottish Folds are required to have the turned-down ears—but these are a result of a genetic mutation, so not all purebred Scottish Folds have them.

Gray Tabby

cat. Lorraine's cat. Gray Tabby Cat. Grey tiger. Lorraine Murray's domestic cat
  • The name “gray tabby” describes not a breed but a coat color and pattern. The sporty looks of the gray tabby are peerless. Classic tabbies can, of course, be bred, but part of the fun of cats is in the genetic rock-tumbler that produces random combinations of coloration and patterns. The classic tabby markings are stripes and whorls all over the head, limbs, body, and tail, but mixed-breed tabbies can have “dilute” or broken patterns and, quite often, white chests, undersides and/or paws. The latter is an especially fetching combination and never more adorable than when the cat’s fur is predominantly gray; it’s an understated, neutral look that goes with practically everything—especially a pink nose and a loving personality.

12 Tips for Raising a Healthy, Happy Kitten

Langley adopt-a-thon matches pets with 'furever' families Sept. 15 to 17 –  Langley Advance Times

Do we detect the pitter-patter of tiny kitten paws in your house? If you’re adding a new feline family member, here are some important kitten care tips to help you make a successful start.

Age matters. The kitten socialization period, when they learn to interact with other animals and humans, ends at around 7 weeks of age. To encourage healthy social interactions and bonds, make sure kittens aren’t separated from the litter before this time.

Catproof the house. Remove toxic houseplants; put away string, yarn, buttons and other small objects that can be swallowed; and cover electrical cords that can be chewed.

Start a veterinary health program. Your veterinarian can recommend the right vaccines, parasite prevention and nutrition to help put your kitten on the road to good health.

Tag your kitten. It’s easy for small kittens to inadvertently slip out the door. Increase the chance they’ll be returned to you with an ID tag on a breakaway collar. This kind of collar snaps off if caught on a fence or branch to prevent choking, in which case a microchip can serve as a permanent form of identification.

Make gradual introductions. If you have other household pets, keep the kitten in a separate room, allowing pets to sniff each other under the door, then through a baby gate, and then gradually introduce supervised meetings over the course of a week.

Scratching is a normal behavior. Provide kittens with scratching posts so they can give in to their natural instincts. Start nail trims early so kittens are comfortable with having their paws handled.

Count the litter boxes. You need one box for every cat in the household, plus one more, in different locations. Large, uncovered boxes with low sides in easily accessible but private locations are best. Most cats prefer unscented, clumping litter that’s scooped every day.

Stay positive. Never punish a kitten because this can lead to fear, anxiety and aggression. Instead, reinforce good behavior with praise and a treat.

Make time for play. Purchase or make cat-safe toys, such as feather dancers and balls that can’t be chewed or swallowed. They don’t have to be expensive — kittens like hiding in cardboard boxes and paper grocery bags or batting around wads of crumpled paper.

Invest in good nutrition. Your veterinarian can recommend a diet that’s specially formulated to provide the energy and nutrients to help your kitten grow strong and healthy. Avoid the bottomless food bowl, which can lead to overeating and obesity.

Start brushing. Use a finger brush and pet toothpaste to get your kitten accustomed to dental care from an early age. Same goes for grooming: Brush medium- and long-haired cats to help prevent the development of painful mats.

Train your kitten. Most kittens are able to learn certain commands such as “come” and “sit.” Keep training sessions short, and reward the right behavior with treats and praise.

New Cat Owner Guide: 9 Steps for Taking Care of Your Kitten

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.

8 HELPFUL KITTEN TRAINING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

A general assumption that people have about kittens is that they are untrainable. However, if you are planning to bring a kitten into your household for the first time, you need to understand that this assumption is wrong. 

Cats are highly intelligent beings, and they can be trained. In fact, it’s a lot like raising children. When you give them proper training and care while they’re young, they grow up to be well-adjusted and healthy adults. So, if you have brought a kitten home for the first time, here are eight tips that will help you train the cute little furball.

Teaching Your Kitten to Sit On Command

Training your kitten can start by teaching a simple behavior like sitting on command. Right after you ask your kitten to sit, you can use a clicker or voice commands like ‘yes’ and ‘good job’ the moment his or her bottom hits the ground. 

As soon as your kitten sits, bring out a reward, like treats or canned cat food. If your kitten tries to stand up on their hind feet to get the reward, move the treat away to show that he or she needs to sit, as you commanded, in order to receive the reward.

Training Your Kitten to Use the Bed and the Crate

Even the most comfortable cat beds will be useless unless  you can train your kitten to use it. The same thing applies to crates, as you’ll have a lot of trouble traveling with a cat that does not want to be in a crate.

So, be it the bed or the crate, you can start by using food as encouragement. Place your kitten’s meal on the cat bed or inside the crate. Let the kitten freely use this space so that your pet learns to enjoy it.

Developing Socialization Skills 

Kittens have their prime socialization period between 2-7 weeks of age. If you don’t let your kitten socialize with other kittens, animals, or people, you’re just raising a cat who is going to get nervous with the slightest change in the environment. 

So, invite people over to the house, let them meet your little bundle of joy, use a leash, and take your kitten to the farmer’s market or pet store, if pets are allowed. Fill each of these experiences with toys and treats so your pet learns to love socializing.

Teaching Safe Playing Techniques

Kittens have a lot of energy, and playing with them is a great way for you to bond with your pet and also let them expend energy in a positive way. However, you shouldn’t ever allow rough play with your kitten. Your kitten needs to know that it’s never okay to use their claws and teeth on your skin. Use toys to play with your kitchen to teach them appropriate play behavior. Get a ball, catnip, or even just feathers on a stick, and show your kitten to only play rough with those items.

Handling Your Kitten

Your kitten will not always be held in the positions that he or she likes. For instance, you will have to take your kitten to the vet’s office, or maybe your kitten will have children trying to pick him or her up. Hold your kitten in different ways so that he or she gets used to being picked up and handled. Get your kitten used to being touched on their sides, back and legs. 

Touch your kitten’s other body parts, like ears and feet, and even gums and teeth. Being used to getting handled in different ways as a kitten will make it easier to clean your kitten’s ears or brush their teeth as they grow up.

Litter Train Your Kitten

Litter training your kitten is as simple as placing your kitten inside the litter box to show them where it is. Kittens instinctively like to potty in the litter box. However, if you are finding it difficult to litter train your kitten, just sit and hold your cat in the litter box for a few minutes at a time while reassuring them and offering treats. 

Let your kitten paw the litter and get accustomed to the new environment. You’re simply trying to trigger your kittens instincts to scrape up and cover their feces after doing their business.

Proper Feeding Etiquette

You may already be aware that many of the common foods that humans eat are unsuitable for kittens such as raisins, grapes, chocolate, garlic, and onions. But, that isn’t the only reason you shouldn’t feed a kitten from the dinner table. 

Feeding your kitten from the dinner table will make your kitty come clambering around each time you sit down to eat. It isn’t a healthy eating habit or a positive behavior because your kitten should only be fed food specifically made for cats and only during mealtimes at appropriate intervals.

Training a Kitten to Recognize Their name

It’s a great thing to have a kitten that comes to you when called, but training your kitten to learn their name will take some time and effort. Make sure you use your kitten’s name every time you call him or her because you wouldn’t want your cat to come running when you say something like, ‘Kitty is so cute.’ After saying your kitty’s name, use the clicker and a treat to reward him or her. 

So, that’s it! Now you have all the basic tips and tricks you need to train your little bundle of joy. Start implementing these tricks without further ado.