5 common mistakes when teaching a cat

eaching a cat may seem impossible, but it isn’t: Cats are smart, and with the right approach, you can often channel their intelligence productively.

We are going to talk about the 5 most common mistakes when teaching a cat to do something.

  1. Overestimating the time it takes to teach a cat

Many cat owners assume that training a feline requires a great deal of time and effort. The reality is that cats learn best in short training sessions , usually one to five minutes, spread throughout the day.

There is also no need to schedule specific blocks of time to train your cat; instead, use small downtime windows to work with your cat. Finally, training is usually most successful when it is built into existing everyday interactions , such as mealtime.

 

  1. Ignore good behavior and reward bad behavior

When your cat does what you want it to do, for example, it uses its scratching post, you probably assume that it knows it does it well and you do not reward it. But as soon as he digs his claws into the sofa, you react, most likely by scolding him or pushing him away from the area.

This will teach your cat scratching the couch and not your scraper makes call your attention, so continue to do so. Help him stop the unwanted behavior by flipping your answer: reward what your cat does well and ignore or redirect him when he does something wrong.

Give your cat praise and petting when he uses his scratching post (or whatever else you’re teaching him to do) and when he scratches the sofa you redirect him to the scratching post, rewarding him once he’s doing the right thing.

  1. Try to eliminate instinctive behaviors

Many behaviors that humans find undesirable, such as scratching, jumping on furniture, or climbing, are natural for a cat. Attempts to eliminate these behaviors can be very stressful for your cat, and they are almost never successful.

A better approach is to redirect these behaviors to spaces in your home where they are acceptable . Cat furniture and trees are useful for felines who like to explore high places, while a laundry box or basket can provide a safe place for your cat to relax.

Encourage your cat to explore these alternatives by luring him in with treats, catnip, toys, and petting. Reward him for following his instincts only in designated areas.

 

  1. Expect your cat to understand you without teaching it first.

Your cat doesn’t ignore you, it doesn’t instinctively know what you’re asking it to do or why it’s worth doing . Don’t assume that words like “out,” “down,” and “stop” mean anything to your cat simply because you say them often.

If you want your cat to come out of the closet, you will need to use positive reinforcement, not punishment, to teach her what “out” means.

You will also need to teach him an alternative behavior , such as going to his cat bed or tree, to replace the one you are asking him to stop doing.

Be patient : with practice, she will learn that “out” means she must leave the place she is and must not go to bed, and that doing so will earn her some kind of gift.

  1. Set unrealistic cat training goals

Forcing your cat to learn too much or go too fast means skipping the necessary reinforcement, which can lead to frustration and confusion , and can increase the likelihood that you and your cat will drop out of training.

Each cat learns at its own pace. Increasing the difficulty while training your cat will not keep him involved and decrease his chances of success, you should give him time to learn and build his confidence.

Keep in mind that all those little steps add up to big steps, and potentially big changes in your cat’s behavior.

 

Tip: If all else fails, ask for help

If your cat’s problems do not improve with constant training or if the problems are especially worrisome , such as aggression or the lack of systematic use of the litter box, seek help from your veterinarian, who can refer him to a specialist in veterinary behavior .

Your veterinarian can help you identify any medical problems that may be responsible for changes in your cat’s behavior and habits, while a veterinary behavior specialist or trainer can provide individualized training advice tailored to your cat’s problems.

 

 

 

 

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